When it comes to a clean, healthy, and budget friendly way to heat a house, it is simply hard to compare to the effectiveness of an on-demand, radiant heat floor system.
In fact, since installing one in our house at the farm, the results have been absolutely stunning. We have been in our house a full year now, and throughout last winter, our gas bill averaged under $100 a month.
That figure becomes even more amazing when you consider that not only do we heat our entire home with natural gas, but also cook and provide our hot water with it!
Although the pure savings are exciting enough, the advantages don’t stop there.
First, it eliminates the need for any duct work. Not only did it save time and money through the building process, it provides for a much healthier environment. No duct work means zero dust compared to traditional systems with forced air. And that means no worries about allergies and unhealthy air quality from dirty ducts or air filters down the road. Now, if the system could only keep our dog Jazzy from shedding, we would be completely set!
But the biggest benefit of radiant heat by far is the incredible warmth it provides. It is hard to describe, but it is simply pure coziness. The heat comes from the floor and is all around you – with no blowing air to be too hot or too cold. Even better, you never have to worry about cold feet! It is nice to step out of bed, or into the shower on a cold winter day and feel warmth from below.
How It Works – Using A Radiant System To Heat A House
The system is amazingly simple. Although it can be installed several ways in a new or existing home, we installed our system directly into the concrete slab as it was being poured.
We actually acid stained the concrete slab to become our final floor. We love the look, and it was a great way to save more on the budget without having to install flooring. (See : Acid Staining Our Concrete Floors)
Before the slab was poured, a looping pattern of plastic tubing (pex tubing) was laid on foam sheets. The tubes were secured with large staples, and then the concrete was poured on top. In essence, the tubing is our “ductwork”.
Once the house was complete, the tubes were connected to our wall-mounted, on-demand, gas-fired water heater. Not only does the system act as our furnace, but it is also our hot water provider too. The unit only fires when needed, saving big on having a hot water tank sit idly by. It also means an unlimited supply of hot water when needed. No more running out of hot water if too many people take showers!
We chose a Navien unit for our tankless system, and it has worked well so far. The heater measures only 28″ x 20″, and takes up much less space than a furnace and hot water tank combination. As for noise, It is nearly impossible to hear it run.
Running The System
All we need do to activate the floor heat is simply turn the thermostat up, and it begins to slowly heat the floor. Unlike a traditional furnace, the system gets turned on in the fall and then back off in the spring.
No changing filters, and no worrying about that furnace kicking on for the first time to blow dust everywhere.
Cost Of The System
Maybe the best benefit of all is the overall cost of the system. Especially when considering from the standpoint of providing a new home heating and hot water source.
The cost of our unit was right around $5000 installed. The actual system was around $4000.00. Tubing, hook-up, etc. added another $1000. A furnace alone would have broken than budget, and of course, as mentioned, it also eliminated the need for a hot water tank.
One thing is for sure, we couldn’t be happier with the heat and hot water it has provided. I hope we never have to build again, but if we ever did, radiant floor heat and an on-demand tankless system would be a must!
Happy Home Heating – Jim and Mary. If you would like to receive our DIY, Gardening and Recipe articles each week, sign up via email at the bottom of this post. You can also like and follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. This article may contain affiliate links.