Are you thinking of having underground heated floors in your home? That’s a good idea – a smart one at that! However, you will need to carry out some checks and deliberations before making your thoughts a reality.
Below are questions you will need to answer:
What kind of home do you intend to install the underground heater? Is it a new home or renovated?
There are two forms of underground heating systems – the hydronic radiant heating system and the underground electric heaters; both have different applications or situations where they serve best.
The hydronic radiant heating (underground heater) would be a better option if your home is new or you intend installing it in a house still under construction.
The electric underground heating system is your best option if you’re renovating your house.
Why different applications?
Each of the underground heating systems has their mechanism or how they work. Hydronic heated floors are achieved through heating fluids like water or glycol with a boiler system and running them in pipes under the floor. Heat transfer occurs from the heated fluid to the floor surface and the house, including the occupants.
In an electric underground heating system, wire or cables laid underground produce heat by forced electrical resistance.
Looking at their mechanism of operation, you’d see that underground hydronic heating is best for a house under construction, while the electric system is best for a home under renovation; for heating specific parts of the house like the bathroom and kitchens. Even when you choose the underground electric heater, if you don’t have a basement or crawl space, you will find it hard – almost impossible to install one!
The flooring material could be anything from concrete, hardwood, ceramic, porcelain, natural stone tiles, vinyl or laminate. All work best for specific applications too. Electric underground heaters work best with ceramic, porcelain or natural stone tiles – all are good conductors of heat. Flooring material should be a good conductor of heat. You could use vinyl or laminate for the electric heater, but they have temperature limitations.
Does the Heated Floor provide Uncoupling Technology?
Uncoupling technology protects floors against cracks. So go for heated floors that could provide you with this.
Would you have the heated floor installed by professionals or DIY?
You need to pay attention and be careful about the installation of underground heaters. Some people who claim to have the experience will rather go for the Do-It-Yourself approach. The truth is you wouldn’t know what you’ve caused yourself until your heated floor is improperly installed and begin to have issues – this would cost you lots of money to fix. The wise decision is to find qualified electricians to install your underground electric heater if that’s your choice. A hired professional would test for proper installation and performance before covering the heating elements. Take this critical step to avoid starting afresh!
The underground hydronic systems have very high initial cost (and complicated installation process), but they are less expensive to operate. On the other hand, the electric systems are more affordable to install but more costly to operate. That’s why they are suitable for heating small areas.