Adding radiant floor heating to a whole house on slab?

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daddy4life85

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I'm just curious if this is possible to do? There seem to be a lot of electrical systems out there which I'm not sure if they are as efficient as the water based systems. Basically I have a smallish sized house (800-900sq ft) and I'm looking for alternatives to forced air heating as part of my remodel, my aunt installed an electric in floor heating in her kitchen and it's amazingly comfortable in that room all the time so I was thinking about trying to add something similar, or even a water based system to this house but all I can find is info on adding it to individual rooms and not so much on full houses unless they are new construction.
 

bud16415

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I’m not an expert, but I believe the time to add it would be when the slab was being poured at the time of construction. Hot water heat is wonderful and most people adding it to a house that is built go with baseboard units.


One drawback to slab heating is the amount of time it takes to heat and cool the mass. Mid winter it works perfect but in the spring and fall you turn it on and by the time it heats the slab the weather has changed and you wish you didn’t have it hot. I had one friend that had it and he replaced it with baseboard units. I have another friend that put it in his garage and it is wonderful to have warm feet and dry floors and it is so nice to lay down on to work under your car you fall asleep.
 

daddy4life85

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Yeah I know it's possible to add the hot water version afterwards but from what I gather you lose like 1.5" of ceiling height because it needs a thermal break layer and what not. The electric versions seem to just go on top of an underlayment for the most part.
 

bud16415

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Electric is one of the more expensive forms of heat as a consumable. Most likely you see it most in bathrooms as a luxury item as the floor is tile and cold. People flip them on to shower. There is no reason a whole house couldn’t be done. It was the thing back in the 60s they even built it into walls and plastered or tiled over it.
 

daddy4life85

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Hmm, yeah I know with forced air electric can be quite expensive. Supposedly these floor heating systems are a lot more efficient than forced air though. Radiant floor heating systems seem to be making a big come back in general, I've just never seen a full electric one. I did find a couple systems for adding a boiler style to existing floors, it seems you lose about 1 11/16th of depth. I'm not sure what that would do to all the doors and what not in my house but might be doable.

Basically the issue is I want to remodel the layout of the downstairs and put a staircase in the middle so I can put 2 bedrooms upstairs. Currently the furnace is in the middle of the house and I have a place I'd like to move it, the laundry, and the hot water heater to but it seems like moving the furnace may be pretty expensive since the ducting is in the slab. So I thought I'd look for alternatives to forced air especially since it's not exactly my favorite source of heat lol. Its current location interferes with where I'd like the new stairs to go.
 

bud16415

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The biggest advantage to forced air is you can piggyback AC with the same ductwork. If you have natural gas then that will be most economical to do hot water of some type. We did my nephews home using a regular gas fired domestic water heater and a pump and baseboards. It works great and with the big tank heat is instant. With PEX now it would be an easy DIY project depending if you can get wall space to run the tubing along.


Electric heat is just resistance so it doesn’t really mater where it is or how it heats heat is heat and unless your power company has special time of day pricing or special rates where you agree they can turn you off automatically if there is a peak demand then you will pay the going rate. If you can get one of those deals then electric heat to water still could be the way to go.
 

Jeff Handy

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You can get baseboard radiators with a small blower inside.

Also flat panel radiators with a blower, very subtle, blends in well into the room.
Or a mixture of these and regular hot water baseboard.
 

Jeff Handy

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The flat panels come in square and rectangular, all different sizes.

They are popular to install when a portion of an in-slab system has to be abandoned due to leaking or blockage.
 
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