Thursday, October 18, 2007

Using Radiant Floors for Backup Heat

Radiant floor heat is considered by many to be the most comfortable method of delivering heat. Even zero energy homes need a source of backup heating. Therefore, radiant is often the choice in high end custom homes, when cost is trumped by comfort and "sizzle". After building and living in a near zero energy home now for three years, we have learned that radiant heat is quite comfortable when it is on. The trouble is, the solar and superinsulation aspects of the house prevent it from coming on very often. Close attention was paid to the basement insulation details. As a result, the heat loss is so low that the basement zone comes on only about 4 times per heating season. Again, that zone wasn't worth the cost when a couple $30 baseboard heaters could do the job.