If you are thinking of installing radiant heating beneath your wood flooring, here are some tips on how to best put it in, and what you can do to maintain the heating system and preserve the wood floor.

Prep the Wood Flooring for Installation

You have two basic options for installing radiant heating in your floor: electric radiant, or hot-water radiant. The first is usually retrofitted into one room in a house. The second type mentioned is the most versatile, and can be installed in a variety of ways. Yes, hot-water radiant is more expensive to install, but it is better for wood floors and more energy efficient, saving you money in the long run. And, it is possible to retrofit a home with hot-water radiant, even if it is a bit more complicated.

To keep the wood panels from cupping caused by moisture retention, prepare the back side of flooring with a coat of shellac. This seals out moisture and keeps the wood in better condition. It is important to make sure that the radiant heating is installed in polyethylene, and not rubber tubing. Polyethylene tubing is much stronger and more effective. You can also put fluid additives, such as propylene glycol, in the hot water to combat corrosion.

Typically it is best to use solid wood strips anywhere from 3" to 5" in thickness. Remember, too, that it is best to hire a professional contractor to install the heating system. You can prep the wood if you are doing a retrofitting and make the decision on what kind of wood flooring to install over the radiant heating system if you are building a home, but it is best left to the professionals to do the actual installation.

Maintenance Tips for Heating System

Once the radiant heating system is installed, you will need to maintain a consistent temperature in the hot water and home. If you turn up the heat too high, you risk baking the wood, thus shrinking it. You also want to discuss with the contractor the level of humidity you want to keep your flooring and indoor air at.

One advantage of radiant floor heating is that you can keep the temperature lower than you would keep standard forced-air heat, because the heat from the floor radiates and warms everything, not just the air. The heat stays mostly in your feet and body and rises less to the ceiling when coming up through the flooring.

Radiant heating heats your home more evenly than conventional home heating systems, and is therefore more energy and cost-efficient. Call a contractor today, such as Thompson Heating & Air Conditioning Inc., and have him or her come to your home to give you an estimate and answer any questions about your specific needs.

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