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3 Different Kinds Of Radiant Heating

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Radiant heating--also known as underfloor heating--systems are an increasingly popular way to heat a home. Yet many people still don't understand how versatile an option radiant heating has become. If you would like to increase your knowledge about this efficient and effective way to heat a home, read on. This article will discuss the three main types of electric radiant heating.

Some Basics

There are certain commonalities to all electric radiant heating systems. All consist of three primary components:

  • temperature sensors to monitor the amount of heat being given off
  • thermostats to automatically control when the system turns on and off
  • heating cables that conduct electricity

The heating cable is installed beneath the floor, where it gives off heat that radiates upward into the house--thus heating not just the air, but also the objects of each room. All of the variation between different types of radiant heating systems lies in the form that the heating cables come in.

Loose Heating Cables

Systems that utilize loose heating cables tend to be the least expensive method--at least where materials are concerned. These cables come wound up on a single bulky spool. During installation, the cable is unspooled and attached to the floor in a specific manner--essentially one long S pattern--to ensure even heat flow. Either hot glue or staples from a staple gun are used to affix the cable to the underfloor.

Then self-leveling compound is poured over the cables and allowed to dry, thus forming a level surface to which the flooring itself can then be installed. Loose cable heating systems are the most labor intensive to install. This often acts to even out the overall price involved. That said, for homeowners who plan to install radiant heating on their own, loose cable systems represent an effective way to cut down on the total cost.

Mesh Mat Cables

This type of heating cable represents a significant improvement where the ease and time of installation are concerned. These cables are woven by the manufacturer through a special piece of matting that acts to hold them in place. Thus the cable does not need to be painstakingly arrayed across the floor. Rather it simply needs to be spread out and then covered with self-leveling compound.

Solid Mat Cables

Solid mat represents the most efficient way to install cable. It does this by cutting out the need for self-leveling compound altogether. It does this by embedding the cable in a flat piece of matting, one that may be made of either plastic, metal, or some sort of synthetic fabric. Here it takes only minutes to arrange the mat on the underfloor, after which the flooring can start to be installed at once. 

For more information about your options, contact a heating contractor.