Electric vs. Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating


Electric vs. Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating

June 7, 2018

Radiant floor heating has steadily gained popularity as an efficient and comfortable way to heat your home. While forced air systems push heated air to the top of the room, radiant floor heating warms the area closer to the floor, making the space more comfortable for the human body (and especially bare feet!). But there are multiple ways to achieve radiant floor heating: both electric and hyrdonic (water-based) heating systems can be installed under floors.

Which one should you choose? Here’s a side-by-side comparison from our experts to help you decide.

Electric Radiant Floor Heating

Electric radiant heat works by running electric cables or mats of conductive plastic under the floor. This system is ideal for homes that already use forced air heating.

Electric radiant heating is quick and easy to install, so homeowners can save money on labor costs. It’s also easy to customize your system so that specific rooms can be heated on demand, and the system can be set on a timer to heat at certain times of day. The drawbacks of electric heating include the high cost of electricity, which can drive up your energy bill. It’s also worth noting that electric radiant heat is designed for making cold floors more comfortable, but may not be sufficient as a primary heat source.

Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating

Hydronic heating relies on hot water. In this system, heated water is pumped from a boiler through a network of tubes beneath the floor, so it’s ideal for homes that already use a water heater.

Hydronic radiant heat is considerably more energy efficient than electric. Once the floor is heated, the structure of the house helps maintain and hold in the heat for long periods of time. This can help save energy costs in the long term. However, hydronic heat is more complex and costly to install, and it cannot be precisely timed like electric heat.

Want an expert opinion on radiant heating for your home? The Best Plumbing team has years of experience installing radiant floor heating throughout the Seattle and King County area. Give us a call, or come visit our Seattle showroom!

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