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Warm Floors? I think NOT!

but the floors are warm. In fact, the walls are warm, the ceiling is warm, the windows are warm, and consequently, I'M warm.

And I too have unheated areas in my floor that I too can feel, but they are in transitional areas, and all I have to do is move 12 inches either way, and I've got warmth again.

The concept I think that has been over driven is radiant floors. If you do radiant ceilings, the actual emmitter is smaller because it operates at a higher temperature, kicks out ALL radiant b.t.u.'s and delivers more human comfort at a lesser expense.

I "blame" one person for this RFH revolution. Richard Trethewey has doen more for the promotion of RFH on his excellent TV show. The Chiles Brothers may have kick started the radiant revolution as it pertains to industry, but RST has done more for the "promotion" of it than anybody.

Imagine what our world would be like had Richard introduced radiant ceilings first...

OR maybe just the concept of "radiant heat" regardless of the heat source...


check out



  • Radman_3
    Radman_3 Member Posts: 70
    Warm floors?

    Anyone have any suggestions on where to find documentation or some correct information on why a radiant floor isn't supposed to be warm to the touch? I've got a house that is heating beautifully, continuous circ w/TRVs in all floor zones and a client that wants to know why their floors arent' warm. Thanks alot Wirsbo for misleading the whole darn marketplace! You better believe this one is designed right, and the Tekmar 360 is set up properly too. (I know the house is heating beautifully as I've been working there for ever)
    Merry Christmas to ALL!
    "If it was easy, they would have called it PV."
  • Norm Harvey
    Norm Harvey Member Posts: 684

    I'll try to find some "official" documentation

    But I know what you mean about trying to explain the "not hot" thing. I tell my customers to walk around in bare feet at their friends house then do it at theirs and they understand after that.
    "We see the world as WE are, not as IT is, because it is the "I" behind the EYE that does the seeing"
  • Ted_4
    Ted_4 Member Posts: 92
    Spot Radiometer

    One of the most useful tools we have (short of an infrared camera) is the simple spot radiometer (thermometer). It can give you the temperature within a few degrees of any surface in seconds. If a client thinks a surface is not heating, show them the difference in temperature between the radiant surface and a wall or window with the radiometer.

    It's too bad that the generally non-scientific public does not understand the difference between "temperature" and "heat". Maybe this tool will help a little.
  • Dave Holdorf_2
    Dave Holdorf_2 Member Posts: 30
    Radiant documentation


    Hopefully this section out of the CDAM can explain to your customers what they are experiencing and understand what we all are trying to do.

    We they read this section describing surface temperatures of the floors, we use a maximum of 87.5. Typical skin temps are in the 80 to 85 degree range. Most designs for a radiant floor system fall in the range of 75 to 80.

    While other types of heatings systems can have floor temps in the range of 60-68. Agreed, we are not making the floors "hot" to the touch, but surface temp is directly related to air temp in the room, the higher the floor temp, the higher the air temp.
  • Paul Pollets
    Paul Pollets Member Posts: 3,366
    Room temp

    Are the rooms at 68? If so, something is doing it....

    My shop has a radiant concrete slab. The slab feels warm to the touch. The floor is78 degrees this am in Seattle.

    An IR thermometer is most useful in demonstrating surface temps to customers. Best $100. tool investment available for those in the RFH biz! Now if the rooms aren't at 68, then you may have a problem....

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  • I ask them one simple question....

    Are you comfortable? If they answer yes, then I ask, "Now, tell me again what the problem appears to be???" If they say no, I say "When can I come over to check things out?"

    It is extremely important to emphasize the fact that they may not even feel warmth from the floor during the HO 101 walk through. It is equally important to emphasize thermostat settings of "starting low, and going up slow."

    My definition of comfort is NOT being aware of your surroundings. You are not hot. You are not cold, and you don't hear anything running in the back ground. You are simply comfortable... If they are not warm when they should be, or cool when the should be or they can hear the system running, they are simply NOT comfortable...

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

  • So Mark...

    "You are not hot. You are not cold, and you don't hear anything running in the back ground."

    Does that mean you're going to make our refrigerator silent too? :-)

    Happy holidays.
  • Sorry Sal...

    I should have said "as it pertains to your comfort systems..." NO TICK TICK TICk TICk tickkkkk ticking :-)

    Happy Holidays to you and yours as well.

  • Radman_3
    Radman_3 Member Posts: 70

    Thanks Mark et al,
    This client happens to be on the IPCC, so they have a PHD. As you know, explaining comfort will require scientific data for their understanding. Regardless, I will take a journey up with my surface thermistor and an IR thermometer and show them the heat. Thanks to all of you wonderful wetheads out there, Merry Christmas, and see you at Wetstock!!!
    "If it was easy, they would have called it PV."
  • Radman_3
    Radman_3 Member Posts: 70
    Thanks Norm

    If you find anything, fax it to me at 303-554-1723 or e-mail it. Merry Christmas, HNY!
    "If it was easy, they would have called it PV."
  • Radman_3
    Radman_3 Member Posts: 70
    Thanks Dave

    I guess this is Wirsbo's attempt to fix their "Warm, Friendly Floors" campaign. This helps though, thanks again!
    "If it was easy, they would have called it PV."
  • jp_2
    jp_2 Member Posts: 1,935
    Don't BS the customer

    drop the official Mumbo jumbo documents.

    turn up the supply or adjust reset curve to get them 'warm' floors.

    let them call you back and say "sure the floors are warm but now the house is too hot!"

    show them, don't just tell them! proof is best! if they're that smart they will surely thank you for the great experiment.
  • Ah yes...

    The old warm floors misconception...

    If I said it once I said it a million times around here, I tell my potential customers, "Warm floors are a myth, if the floor feels warm the room will be too hot. The floors don't feel warm, they just won't feel cold." I make sure that is all understood first thing off. Those little demonstrators everybody had for a while where you could take your shoes off and feel the warm "floor". No help whatsoever...

    Nothing like a good marketing strategy to get your **** in a sling for you! Hopefully you can make your customer understand this after the fact, I'd make sure all the future ones do up front.
  • Ruthe Jubinville_2
    Ruthe Jubinville_2 Member Posts: 674
    walk in my socks warm

    I love to get up in the morning and walk in my kitchen or my bathroom that are radiant heated. You don't feel them as warm but definitely warmer to walk on barefoot than the ones in the rest of my house that have baseboard. Ruthe
  • Tim Doran_4
    Tim Doran_4 Member Posts: 138
    Laws of physics

    The floor surface temp is a function of load. The greater the load the higher the temp and vise versa. Modern construction has driven the loads downward and therefore the surface temps are also lower. A room with a 10 or 12 btu/sqft load will only have a surface temp 5 or 6 degrees higher than the room set point. I have started to reduce the heated area so as to drive the surface temps up. I typically try to work out the trafic patterns and go from there. Building efficiencies will soon make "warm floors" a thing of the past.

    Tim D.

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  • jp_2
    jp_2 Member Posts: 1,935

    its all relative anyway, please define "Warm".

    the creek behind my cabin is darn cold in summer, but oddly enough feels pretty darn warm in 10F winter?????????????
  • Agreed,,,

    I got to walk on a customer's bathroom floor in my socks, it WAS kinda nice. ;)

    Someday I'll break down and install it here. :(

    I like the newer house/more insulation driving floor temps down angle. Tell the guy this is a new thing you're just coming across where the load is so small because of new designs and insulation practices the floors no longer need to feel warm to do the job. Good luck...
  • Wayco Wayne_2
    Wayco Wayne_2 Member Posts: 2,472
    A trick

    I sometimes do on smaller systems is to set back the temp at night and then have it come on so it has to catch up. Esp with an indoor temp sensor on the control it will over shoot the floor temps before settling down to business. If they get up during that time the floor will be warmer. A little more tricky with the large thermal mass of a large system though. WW

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  • Plumdog_2
    Plumdog_2 Member Posts: 873

    I have a 600 sq ft hardwood floor that is heated 2/3 of the way across, but not the other third. When you walk across in your bare feet you don't notice the warm side, but the other side feels immediately cold.
  • tim smith
    tim smith Member Posts: 2,360
    Send doc of wood flooring institute

    Theres some good docs on the north american wood flooring assoc web site for him to peruse. Talks about max floor surface temps vs floor types and widths. This along w/ a smart man like him knowing the human body temp will explain alot. Tim
    Merry christmas
  • singh
    singh Member Posts: 866

    in my house i could not get tubing everywhere because of structure. when you walk on unheated areas its cold, heated areas a big difference. Yet if you feel those heated areas, they don't feel warm, but definately warme than the unheated areas. Thermostat is set at a comfy temp. I did bump up the reset on the ODR. And I plan to add a floor sening thermostat, since when I use the wood stove it kills the air sensing thermostat.Interesting enough, Right now i could have it 80* with the wood stove and yet the floors feel cold.
    All it takes is a little re-education.

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  • Weezbo
    Weezbo Member Posts: 6,232
    once again i will expound on the doctrine of many sidedness...

    or Les Macanns "Trying to make it Real ,...Compared to What?"
  • Plumdog_2
    Plumdog_2 Member Posts: 873
    Cielings are the way to go

    I rented a house during construction of the one I have now, and it had Radiant Cielings (ELECTRIC). The effect was astonishing, and it reacted very fast. But I don't want to talk about the energy cost. I would like to talk about methods for hydronic cielings, however.
  • LOTS of ways to hydronicise ceilings...

    Wirsbonor, but more Wirsbo'er panels.

    Roth makes a neat EPS/Aluminum plate system for mounting on ANY flat surface (walls, countertops, whatever...)

    Or you can roll your own like I did on the HfH home we did with NREL.

    Don't forget the insulation, on ANY surface.

  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,530
    Another believer

    Good to see someone who recognizes the ceilings potential!

  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 14,552
    Tom Tesmar is

    the guru and biggest proponent of radiant ceilings. Remember all his " in your face" ceiling seminars he did for the RPA for years. Quite the memorable style, right to the point and on target.

    Haven't heard much from him as of late, he used to hang at the RPA site from time to time, sharp fellow.

    hot rod
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,530
    Also has a website

    I remember Tom, I miss his candor ( in your face) on the RPA board. Low cost, water heater, closed loop, ceiling systems. I see a post every now and then from him. Hope all is well with him.

  • Radman_3
    Radman_3 Member Posts: 70
    Oddly enough...

    Ya know, that's what the client asked to do, was go for setback on the system. Now it's set up with a standard stat in a reference area to create the mixing demand on the Tek360. I'm using an indoor sensor as well, and am going to retrofit a setback model in place of the analog. Maybe this will help their perceptions. I will be shifting the slope slightly to bump the floor output temps on warmer days. The building is set up & equipped with solar thermal for DHW & space heat, so they are killing the system efficiency with this notion of warm toes. Some people you just can't reach.
    "If it was easy, they would have called it PV."
  • jp_2
    jp_2 Member Posts: 1,935

    pleases explain this quote?

    they are killing the system efficiency with this notion of warm toes

    I don't get what you are saying here?
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 14,552
    So, warm floors = inefficient structures

    seems that's the way it is headed if a super insulated home can be heater with just the heat generated by lighting, cooking, refrigerators, and occupant BTU output.

    A catch 22 for sure.

    hot rod
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • Al Corelli_2
    Al Corelli_2 Member Posts: 395
    Radiant ceilings

    Just came from a service call (bad Munchie fan, a first)at a customer's house who works for a large valve company.

    As I was changing the blower, he was telling ma about a new "system" for radiant ceilings that will be introduced soon. I asked if there would be floor systems also, but he was mum on that.

    Nice, a new player in the radiant game. Maybe the cost of materials will drop a bit.

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    Al Corelli, NY

  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,530
    Conductive concrete??

    Remember an article sometime ago Dan posted on the wall about conductive concrete. He was wanting us to think outside the box. Could be time for that.

  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,530
    Your right HR

    Unless you reduce the area of radiant. Predicting traffic patterns in the future to do this may not work out very well. This goes for any radiant surface, at least ceilings/walls would not be an issue in dealing with traffic patterns like RFH.

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