In-floor radiant heating systems increase comfort and efficiency. Rather than heating air, these systems heat objects. You will enjoy the comfort of a warm floor in your house, and experience the same comfort levels at lower room air temperatures. In-floor hydronic systems generally operate at lower fluid temperatures. They run more quietly than forced-air and traditional hydronic systems, and require no visible and space-consuming vents or radiators.
In-floor hydronic systems function most effectively when PEX tubing is embedded in the slab of a building. Since this is only possible in new-construction applications, PexSupply.com offers several options for retrofit jobs. A lightweight overpour, in which tubing is installed in a thin layer of concrete poured over an existing slab or subfloor, presents a good alternative if the structure of the building can support the added weight. Uponor’s PEX Rails offer one way of attaching tubing when using this method. Uponor’s Quik Trak plates also go above slabs or subfloors. These heat transfer plates include channels for 5/16” PEX tubing and create 7” on-center spacing.
Below-subfloor options exist for upper floors in new and retrofit projects. In suspended-pipe installations, PEX tubing hangs in the joist cavity. Reflective insulation placed after a gap below the tubing creates convection currents in the joist bay. These systems demand higher fluid temperatures and are a good option for high-temperature systems and boilers. Ultra-Fin plates enhance the efficiency of suspended-pipe systems. Stapling PEX directly to the bottom of the subfloor without any heat transfer plates is not usually recommended. This can cause uneven floor surface temperatures and potentially discolor finished-floorings surfaces directly above tubing locations. Heat transfer plates such as Uponor’s Joist Trak solve this problem, while providing more even surface temperatures.