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"My radiant heat is not working, who should I call?"
If your once-heated floor now feels cold, call a plumber or an HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) technician. Radiant heating tends to be installed under a home’s floor — and sometimes, through the ceiling or walls — and therefore, can be relatively complicated to repair on your own.
Plumbers and HVAC professionals often have specialized water leak detection equipment that can locate the source of the water damage, while removing as little of the flooring as necessary.
"How can I tell if my radiant heat is leaking?"
Hydronic radiant heating systems are made up of plastic tubing that circulates hot water under the floors to heat up the house. While these tubes tend to be durable, it’s possible for a leak to occur, which can cause costly problems.
If you notice that your floors are wet, or you can hear what appears to be running water, those are possible signs that you might have a leak. However, not all leaks are obvious — and leaks in radiant water heating systems are difficult to access.
"What are the pros and cons of installing radiant heat in my home?"
Radiant heating has been gaining in popularity in recent years, in part because it offers homeowners a number of benefits over other types of heating. But there are some drawbacks, too.
Here are some of the pros of radiant heating systems:
They’re energy efficient. Radiant heating systems tend to be more efficient than forced-air heating systems, which can lose heat in air ducts.
They’re better for people with allergies. Radiant heating systems don’t kick up allergens like other systems, which use forced (i.e., moving) air.
They can heat the floor. Unlike baseboard heating, which can heat a room, radiant heating can be installed in the flooring to warm up the floor itself.
Uniform heat throughout every square foot. While forced hot air systems are designed to start and stop, radiant heat generates warmth across every square inch of your home.
They are quiet. You won’t hear your furnace turning on whenever it starts running.
They feel good. If you’re one of those people that likes to step out of your shower onto a warm floor, you’ll love Radiant heat floors.
However, there are also some cons to radiant heating:
They can be expensive: The materials and labor that are needed to install a radiant heating system can be expensive, especially if you’re building into an existing home. To install a radiant heating system into an existing home, you’ll need to remove — and then re-install — the existing floor, which can be a costly project. (If you’re handy you might be able to install radiant heating yourself.) It’s much easier to put radiant heat into a new home construction.
They’re typically used in individual rooms: Radiant heating is usually used in a few rooms, like a bathroom or garage. Since each room requires its own system, it can be impractical to install it throughout the home especially if the home is an already-existing structure.
"How much does it cost to install radiant heat?"
The cost of installing radiant heating in your house depends on the type of system you choose to install: an electric radiant heating system or a hydronic radiant heating system. It also varies based on the size of the room that you plan to use it in, and whether you’re adding radiant heat to your home or building it into a new construction home.
The average cost of installing a hydronic (or water-based) system is about $13 per square foot, whereas the average price of installing an electric system costs about $11 per square foot, according to HomeAdvisor.com. The average cost of putting radiant heat in one room ranges, approximately, between $1,746 and $5,819.
Usually, radiant heating is installed in individual rooms — and particularly colder ones, or those with tile or stone floors — as opposed to the entire house. Sometimes, installing radiant heat in a smaller room can cost more than installing the same system in a larger room, since larger rooms can be easier to maneuver in.
"Should I repair or replace my radiant floor heating?"
Radiant heating systems tend to be very durable, with the coils and tubing lasting for 20 to 35 years. If you experience a problem with the tubing, it’s possible that you’ll need to replace the entire heating system. If there’s a problem with the wiring in an electric system, you may only have to replace the broken parts, which can be cheaper than replacing the entire system.
Regardless of the issue, you’ll have to remove the flooring to fix the underlying issues, and then reinstall the floor after the repairs are complete.