House with heated floors - a gentle type of winter comfort
The idea of radiant heat is an old one. Ancient Romans used warm water to heat their stone floors. But only in recent years this idea became popular with the home owners in Toronto.
South of the border the system of heating floors to provide heat to a home is more popular, and, according to The Home Service Store, such heat is comparable in operating costs to forced-air systems. The installation is more expensive though, and it is probably best to install radiant heating when building, making additions, or substantially renovating the house.
Radiant systems use heated water, circulating in plastic pipes, to warm floors with low temperature heat. It is a gentle and quiet way of heating a house, similar to the hot water radiators. But while radiators provide spot-heat, the radiant heat system heats entire floor.
Radiant heat advantages include no furnace noise, no drafty air circulation and no vents to interfere with furniture placement. The temperatures don't affect floors, carpets or furnishings. And, of course, there is the comfort. Imagine stepping out of the shower onto a warm surface of your bathroom floor...
CMHC research shows that the thermostat settings in homes with radiant floor heating were similar to those in homes with forced air heating. CMHC based their research on 100 homes in Nova Scotia (50 in each category). So the decision to use radiant heat should be based on desired comfort rather than on possible savings. But, when selling a house in a cold season, which in Toronto lasts over half a year, heated floors provide an additional "wow" factor for prospective buyers and for real estate sales representatives alike.
If you are interested in learning more about radiant heat visit Uponor's website. Their Canadian Sales and Marketing headquarters are located in Mississauga.