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Hydronic Radiant Heating - Which Route Should I Take

I am in the process of remodeling my entire house (floors and all) and i was looking to install an hydronic radiant system. I have been looking around at the (many) different options and need advice on which route to take. Is it better (more efficient) to install the radiant tubing underneath the the plywood sub flooring, in-between the joist or on top of the plywood sub floor, directly below, lets say a hardwood floor or ceramic tile floor. Of course if i do it between the joist i would insulate the area. I have a unfinished basement so getting underneath is no problem at all.


  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,514
    edited December 2011
    Best Radiant Options

    Over the top sleeper systems with plates have lower water temps than underfloor styles suspended tube needing the hottest, staple up no plates, staple up with plates, Sleeper over the top needing the lowest (with plates), other than warm board which now makes a remodel product line.

    Lower water temps means higher efficiency at the boiler if It is a mod/con. Hopefully You are considering a boiler to power the system.

    Don't forget ceiling radiant is a great option also. With ceiling radiant, floor coverings are not an issue in decreasing a floors output. Radiant ceilings can run higher surface temps if need be than a radiant floor. Use the RFH in tiled high traffic areas. Baths, Kitchens. Use radiant ceiling where high R value floor coverings, excessive furniture, and cabinet space could decrease output, and/ or area for tubing placement.

    Yes you need to insulate between the joists no matter if over the top, or under the floor style. Avoid the use of bubble foil.

     First step in your process is a heat loss calc. room by room. This will tell you if a radiant floor will meet the load, or if supplemental heat is needed. It will give you the data needed for tubing layout, water temps, and flow rates to meet that load.

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