As the snow forecast draws ever closer to us, your heating system should be on your mind. Or rather, your heating system is on your mind the minute it gets a little chillier than you’re comfortable within your home. When you’re chilly and uncomfortable it’s easy to jump to conclusions about what you “need,” but it’s important to relocate to somewhere warm so that you can actually decide whether or not a significant heating upgrade is worth your money, especially when it’s a radiant heating subfloor system, rather than a traditional heater upgrade.

What is Radiant Heating Subfloor?

Just about every type of finished flooring requires a subfloor installation. Of course, these subfloors all differ depending on whether it’s for engineered hardwood, hardwood flooring, laminate or other types, but the idea is all similar. The idea is that it provides a solid and smoothed out base flooring for the flooring material that will go over the top. At times, the subflooring won’t be of a high enough quality to lay the flooring material, and then the flooring contractors will be required to lay an underlayment. In general, though, subflooring is usually made of plywood and is around ⅝ inches or greater of CDX plywood. The idea of the subfloor heating is to use that subflooring material for more than just static flooring support. The idea is to use it as a heating element in your home. The basics for a radiant subfloor heating system require 1 ⅛” plywood with channels and grooves cut into it to support the various heating elements. There is then an added layer of aluminum skin that conforms to the top of the plywood and creates more channels for the heating elements. They then place flexible PEX tubes that snap into the pre-cut channels so that heated water can run through the tubes and warm the subfloor and flooring material through radiant heating technology.

Is Radiant Subfloor Heating Worth It?

They’re better than a cold floor if that’s what you’re wondering. In comparison to the radiant heating systems like the ones you’ll find in industrial concrete buildings don’t hold the heat energy as well as subflooring will. There are a host of potential glitches the might prove the heating less of a luxury and more of a hassle. Since the tubing sitting in your subflooring is just that, you can poke holes in it which can prove disastrous. The installation crew has to be extra careful to ensure that none of the tubes get punctured as they’re installing the flooring. It’s also not very DIY friendly, so if you’re looking to cut some corners on pricing and not hire a flooring contractor, you might try and avoid using radiant heating as your singular heating solution. While the tubes are brightly colored, the chances of puncturing the tubes go up much higher if you’re more focused on how the flooring will look, rather than how it’s functioning on a sub-level.

Is Radiant Heating a Replacement For Regular Heating?

In short, no. In an extended version of that answer, also no. Though, the temperature of your feet has a huge effect on how warm or cold your body reels, the radiant heating power of some warm water under your floorboards will never be equivalent to a heater. If you lived in Florida and were only trying to beat back a minor chill it might be an option, but you live in Colorado. The cold here is no joke, and the Farmer’s Almanac has forecasted a freezing winter that is not a good candidate for experimenting with your heating solutions. Instead, turn to Valiant Air for your heating replacement. We’ll guide you through the process and let you know if we think a heating repair is an option rather than just replacing the unit. We’ll help you design the perfect maintenance schedule to make sure your ventilation system and indoor air quality are all top-notch throughout the winter. Reach out to us to schedule your appointment today.

Interested in keeping the quality of your indoor air breathable and healthy? We’d be happy to do an initial check on your ventilation system and your filters and let you know what we recommend to keep your air quality in check. After all, it can make all the difference with fall allergies and spring allergies after the winter.