There’s no place quite like home, especially when it’s perfectly warmed, to deal with the cool morning air or long winters. A comfortably warm home invites us to enjoy lazy Saturday mornings with family and favor dinner at home over trekking out only to have our dinner constantly interrupted by cold blasts as fellow diners come and go.
There are many ways to heat a home. Some of the most common are baseboard heating, forced air heating (like a furnace), cozy fireplaces, and underfloor heating. Radiant floor heating may seem new and innovative, but it’s actually been around longer than the more commonly installed baseboard and forced air heating systems of new homes. In fact, underfloor heating dates all the way back to the ancient Romans who warmed their rooms with the help of wood-burning fires blazing underneath their elevated marble floors. As the heat of the fire rose, the naturally cool marble floors conducted heat, effectively heating whole rooms.
Radiant floor heating is making a comeback as more and more homeowners look for ways to live more sustainably and reduce the costs of home heating. Hold onto your seat because we’re about to take you on a deep dive into the cozy world of In-Floor heating.
What is In-Floor Heating?
In-floor heating is aptly named for exactly how it’s installed and run. Rather than installing heating systems in your walls, a contractor will run the heat underneath your flooring to heat your home from the ground, up. This is also why you'll sometimes see In-Floor heat referred to as Underfloor.
There are two modern types of In-Floor heating available today: Electric In-Floor Heating and Hydronic In-Floor Heating. Electric In-Floor Heating conducts radiant heat through a series of panels and wires snaked under your flooring while Hydronic In-floor Heating uses a series of pipes to run hot water beneath your feet.
The Many Benefits of Radiant Floor Heating
While the number one goal of any heating system is to keep you and your loved ones warm, heating systems all have their unique intricacies that further impact your family beyond that cozy warmth.
Underfloor Heating Is the Only One and Done Solution
Whether you opt to install radiant floor heating as part of a new home build or when you replace your existing flooring, once it’s installed, you’ll rarely ever have to think about your home heating again. Underfloor heating systems require very little maintenance as opposed to forced air systems, and even the notoriously low-maintenance baseboard heating systems that need to be cleaned and serviced occasionally. If used together, radiant floor heating dramatically offsets the demand for other heating systems at a fraction of the cost.
Out of sight, radiant floor heating provides homeowners the freedom to decorate as they please while controlling home heating through a thermostat. Easy to install, radiant floor heating thermostats can be set to automatically maintain a comfortable indoor temperature, year around so you’ll never have to fiddle with heaters again.
Radiant Floor Heating Requires Less Energy than Traditional Heating Systems
Underfloor heating saves homeowners an average of 15% on home heating bills compared to forced air and baseboard heating systems. That’s because radiant floor heating heats more efficiently, heating from the ground up. More common heating systems may pump out high heat quickly, but that heat quickly rises above your head, leaving you and your loved ones cold. You may wonder, how is it possible I’m still cold when the thermostat registers a toasty 70 degrees?
By slowly radiating heat from beneath your feet, all the humans (and pets) pulled down by gravity will stay grounded to that heat source, keeping bodies warmer while consuming less energy. Radiant floor heating will not only keep you warmer and reduce your home heating bill, it’ll also help you and your family live more sustainably by reducing your energy demands.
Consistent Warmth Throughout Your Home
In-floor heating creates more consistent warmth through sheer physics. We all know that heat rises, but have you ever thought about that fact as it applies to your home heating?
As heat rises, all that warmth hangs out near your ceiling, far above your head. If your home has more than one level, you’ve probably noticed the upper rooms stay considerably warmer than lower ones, creating unpleasant stuffiness upstairs and chilly conditions below. Radiant floor heating always keeps your floors warm, even as heat drifts upwards. It’ll also warm objects touching the floor, like your couch, bed, and tables so everything at your level is warmer to the touch.
Home contractor, Jeff King explains, “We experience pure warmth with radiant floor heating. As we heat up from our feet, we stay warmer at a lower temperature.”
By radiating heat upward, we eliminate the overheated rooms and stuffiness created with forced air and baseboard heating and keep the whole home warm, even those corners and rooms that always seem to be cold. By adding a radiant floor heating smart thermostat, you’ll gain the power to control that underfloor heating and proactively keep your home warm. Set your heated floor thermostat to automatically heat your floors to your desired temperature by time of day, day of the week, and season to keep things cozy 24/7.
In-Floor Heating Works with All Flooring Types
The most common question homeowners have about underfloor heating is: Will it work with MY floor? Yes! Radiant floor heating works with all types of flooring including tile, stone, wood, vinyl, laminate, carpet, and even concrete. However, radiant floor heating does provide the best heat when installed under flooring that conducts heat well like stone, tile, concrete, and that timeless marble of ancient Rome. You should always consult with a professional before you make the jump.
If you’d like to install underfloor heating with carpet or wood, be sure to talk to your chosen contractor before finalizing your plan. While hardwood floorboards will expand and shrink as the floor heats and cools, your contractor can help you choose the best wood suited to radiant floor heating and install it professionally to eliminate the potential for gaps. If you choose to go with carpeting, keep in mind that thick padding will absorb underfloor heat. Again, your contractor will help you navigate the intricacies to choose carpeting that’s both comfortable and allows your radiant floor heating system to shine.
If you’re new to radiant floor heating, a heated floor smart thermostat will empower you with the ability to effortlessly adjust the temperature to keep your home warm, no matter which flooring option you settle with. Once you find the optimum temperatures to keep your family warm day and night, set that smart thermostat to automate it for you.
Radiant Floor Heating is Extremely Safe
If you’ve ever brushed a little too close to your forced air or baseboard heating wall units, you know how hot they get. While that heat is necessary to warm your home, it can be incredibly dangerous, especially if you have young children or pets. Alternatively, underfloor heating is installed beneath your flooring so it’s absolutely impossible to accidentally burn yourself, even if you stretch out on the floor for a long afternoon nap.
Traditional heating systems also push air, causing dust and allergens to rise up and circulate in your home. Radiant floor heating does not impact air movement, which is an excellent benefit to anyone in your home who battles allergies. And, because all that glorious heat rises up from below, you’ll eliminate that stuffiness caused by too-warm rooms and trapped air, another wonderful benefit to allergy sufferers and children with asthma.
Should you leave home and worry about underfloor heating left on, it can be manually shut off with a smartphone app connected to your heated floor smart thermostat.
Automatically Control Underfloor Heating with a Heated Floor Thermostat
We’ve touched on radiant floor heating thermostats, but how exactly do they work with underfloor heating?
When installing your radiant floor heating system, talk to your chosen contractor about your thermostat options to adjust the temperature. Chances are, he/she will suggest new heated floor smart thermostats that not only enable you to manually increase and decrease the temperature but also automate it so your home is always comfortable.
Heated floor smart thermostats, like the new one from Mysa, automatically control underfloor heating by the schedules and settings you choose. For example, you might automate your heated floor thermostat to shut off at night when you’re cozy in bed to reduce your energy consumption. You could then automate your heated floor smart thermostat to start up again 30 minutes before your alarm goes off to the floor is warm when you get up. Waking up to warm floors makes it easier and much more pleasant to wake up, even on cold days. You’ll never have to start your day searching for your slippers again!
And, if you’re out to dinner, when you and your loved ones spontaneously decide tonight would be a great night for an epic board game battle, you can use geofencing to warm your floors while you're on the way home -before you even walk in the door. The opportunities are endless!
How to Choose the Right Smart Thermostat for Your New Underfloor Heating
If you’re ready to make the switch to radiant floor heating, your feet are surely in for a treat! A heated floor smart thermostat will empower you with incredible versatility and control to keep your home comfortable year around. Keep in mind that not all smart thermostats are compatible with radiant floor heating. Here, at Mysa, we’re gearing up to launch our first-ever heated floor smart thermostat to empower you to effortlessly switch over to energy saving, sustainable underfloor heating. You'll be able to track your electricity use, set up advanced features like geofencing, and integrate it with the smart home system of your choice.