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Misconceptions about under-floor radiant heat

There are many common misconceptions surrounding the topic of electric under-floor radiant heat. Homeowners and flooring dealers alike find themselves facing the same misunderstandings and we’d like to help clarify the confusion by reviewing the three biggest inaccuracies:

Questions about underfloor radiant heat

There are many common misconceptions surrounding the topic of electric under-floor radiant heat. Homeowners and flooring dealers alike find themselves facing the same misunderstandings and we’d like to help clarify the confusion by reviewing the three biggest inaccuracies:

Misconception 1: Heat only Rises.

Truth: If this was factual then how would the earth receive heat from the sun without sitting on top of it? The fact is that radiant heat travels in all directions, but it does move to cold. People often get confused with this principle due to hot air rising when coming from a forced air heating system. The cold air sinks and the hot air rises. If you truly want comfort, the best solution is under-floor radiant heating. The fact is that radiant heat derives off of convection, conduction and radiation all at the same time. Convection is the warmth you feel when you touch a radiant slab, conduction is the heat picked up from the natural air movements throughout the structure, and radiation is warmth transferred from heat moving to cold.

Misconception 2: Insulation is not needed under radiant heated slabs.

Truth: Remember that heat moves in all directions. Because of this, heat that you paid for can migrate to the cooler and sometimes wet soil beneath a home’s slab. This will cause unnecessary strain when trying to heat the room(s) above. At the same time heat is moving to the ground below, it is also moving to the un-insulated slab edge. Insulating the slab edge is just as important as heating under the concrete slab. Most concrete types of radiant floor heating applications have a two-inch polystyrene insulation.

Misconception 3: Radiant floor heating systems are slow in response time.

Truth: The truth is quite the opposite, as radiant floor heating systems respond very quickly. Sometimes people get confused with what is called, “thermal lag.” This part is true as it does take time to heat a large mass, such as a concrete slab. However, once the slab is warm then it will provide the warmth instantly. To test this, find a friend or neighbor who has a radiant floor heating system. A perfect application would be a garage or shop heated with under-floor radiant heating. On a cold day, walk from the cold into the heated space and instantly your body will experience comfort. This is because the heated slab has radiated its temperature to all the objects in the space, such as vehicles, cabinets, etc. When your cold body went inside, the law of thermodynamics instantly occurred without you even realizing it, meaning: heat moves to cold areas.

We hope this has helped clarify some of the common misconceptions about radiant heat. Electric radiant heating also has many system benefits to consider. HeatMyFloors.com has the perfect solution for radiant heat applications. To discuss your options, call our experts today at (800) 785-8738.