Radiant heat a top home-improvement trend in new and existing homes


Posted: November 03, 2021 | Word Count: 643

As people look to make their homes healthier and more comfortable, interest in radiant heating systems has soared. Predicted to be a top home-improvement trend for 2022, these highly comfortable, energy-efficient heating systems aren't just for new-home construction. A variety of installation methods means there are options for existing homes, too.

Hydronic radiant heating systems work when warm water flows through flexible crosslinked polyethylene (PEX) pipes that can be installed under any floor covering, including carpet, tile, wood and linoleum. The radiant system heats spaces from the floor up, providing comfort, efficiency and improved indoor environmental quality (IEQ). Some of the key benefits of radiant heat include:

  • Even temperature in spaces, with no hot or cold spots
  • Warmth remains at your feet instead of rising to the ceiling
  • Ability to zone the heating system throughout a home to maintain different temperatures, depending on room usage
  • Elimination of fans that circulate dust, pollen, odors and viruses for improved air quality
  • Quiet systems that enhance sound quality for a more peaceful home

Radiant heating systems can be used throughout a home for efficient temperature control. In gathering spaces like the living room, they can provide comfort even when relaxing on the floor. They make functional spaces like the kitchen and bathrooms cozier, and they remove the chill often associated with rooms such as basements or rec rooms.

Different radiant heating options have modular components and accessories that allow systems to be installed easily and quickly no matter the circumstances of the home. Uponor is a leading provider of radiant heating systems with installation options that work for new-home construction or remodeling situations.

Radiant heat systems in new homes

In new homes, the staple-down method is a common installation practice. Installers use a special radiant piping stapler tool to fasten the flexible PEX piping to the surface. The staples go around the outside of the pipe to adhere it to the surface. After the pipe is completely fastened, a lightweight gypsum concrete is poured over the piping to create a smooth, solid surface for the flooring.

Another popular option for new homes that saves time is knobbed mats, like Fast Trak™. The underside adhesive keeps the mats in place as the pipe is easily pressed between the knobs, either by hand or foot, in the desired pattern. Finally, just like with the staple-down method, gypsum concrete is poured to create a smooth surface.

Radiant heat in remodels

If you're interested in adding radiant heat to an existing home, there are alternative options that don't require extensive flooring replacement or pouring concrete. For example, with a typical thickness of only a half-inch, wood-based radiant panels are an ideal solution for residential remodel and retrofit applications.

How does this work? The wood panels feature a groove down the center for piping placement with an aluminum sheet on the bottom to transfer heat effectively. These panels fasten easily to the plywood subfloor for a minimal increase in floor height, plus there's no moisture from concrete overpours.

Another option for existing homes or vacation properties is joist heating with aluminum panels called Joist Trak™. These extruded aluminum panels install from underneath in the joist bays of the floor. It is an ideal application for homes that have an exposed ceiling, such as an unfinished basement. This allows you to add radiant heat to the floor above without tearing up any floor coverings.

From increased comfort to a healthier home, energy efficiency and more, there are many reasons why radiant heating systems are a top home-improvement project. For more information on radiant heat and installation options for new and existing homes, visit uponor.com.

  • In radiant floor heating systems, warm water flows through flexible PEX pipes that can work under any type of floor covering. The pipes connect to a heat source, such as a boiler or hot-water heater, and pumps, manifolds and controls round out the system.
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