Can You Install Radiant Heat in Existing Homes?

A radiant heat system can provide all-around comfort in a house. It generates heat through the floor, ceiling, or wall, providing warmth throughout the home. However, this technology has only been effective when set up during the construction of a house. However, what about already existing homes? Can radiant heat be installed in them?

You can install radiant heat in existing homes. Most technicians believe that house floors are the most efficient sources of energized heat. Alternatively, if you don’t want to tamper with the structure of your already constructed floor, the heating system can be set up through the ceiling or walls in your home.

As you will see from the following information, there is a variety of what to expect when considering the challenge of upgrading your home’s heating system. So make sure you don’t miss out on the following guide.

What Is the Necessity of Radiant Heating?

Cold seasons threaten the health and well-being of your family if not well managed. So maintaining the right temperature keeps you active and comfortable at home. Thus, it becomes imperative to take active measures to combat the rising cold temperatures witnessed during such seasons to ensure utmost comfort in the home.

Aside from making the house more energy-efficient and maintaining a constant temperature, radiant heating systems make the house more comfortable while achieving optimal temperatures. Nevertheless, the installation of radiant heating systems varies depending on the state of your house and the particular mode of radiant heating you prefer.

What Are the Types of Radiant Heating?

This comfort was previously achieved using conventional furnaces and various air heating floors. Not only were they inefficient, but also they were never economically feasible since heating air to keep it warm for a long period consumes enormous amounts of electricity. 

But with the advent of electrical and hydronic modes, heating systems around the house are easier to maintain. 

  • Electric Radiant

In this method, electric cables are mounted to the floor or wall, depending on your preference. When dealing with large amounts of thermal mass, such as a thick floor, this method is more cost-effective and also more efficient than in thinner floors. As a result, thick walls retain heat for 8-10 hours without needing an external source of heat, keeping the house warm without the need for electrical input. 

  • Hydronic Radiant

Hydronic radiant systems pump preheated water from a boiler through strategically placed copper tubes to heat air in the room.

The tubes can either be hidden beneath the floors, through radiators, or along with baseboard heaters. Due to its energy-saving attributes and reduced environmental pollution caused by older heating methods such as furnaces, this method has become increasingly popular.

Pumps circulate heated water into the pipes while cooled water flows back to the boiler for reheating and circulation through the pipes in a closed-loop system.

 Can You Install Radiant Heat in Existing Homes?

 Heat can be more efficiently dispersed throughout a building when the heat medium is located within the floor of the building. When you have a building already in place, access to the floors is extremely important to heat it. 

However, the installation largely depends on several factors, such as whether the homeowner is willing to have their floors restructured during the process.

Factors to Consider When Installing Radiant Heat in Existing Homes

Besides being a comfortable home improvement, radiant heating has health benefits for people with allergies because it does not disturb the air in the room. However, its entire setup is dependent upon the following.

  • Mode of Radiance

Installation of the hydronic radiant system can be tedious, but once fully operational, it costs less to maintain, making it the best choice for larger buildings. This is in comparison to electric radiant heat, which is suitable for smaller rooms with hardwood or tiled floors. As a result of the increased air volume in a larger room, electric heat can be less cost-effective due to its increased energy requirement.

  • Type of Building

Several buildings, whether permanent or semipermanent, have their advantages and disadvantages. For example, setting up radiant heating systems on the wall of a semipermanent building could prove expensive because any modification would mean the partial demolition of the building. 

Therefore, even though the installation of a new wall with the heating system in it might look simple, it will require more finances that would not be immediately available.

  • Walls, Floors, or Ceiling?

Since you are working on an already existing home. Depending on what type of mode you choose to install, you may want to consider how much it will cost to set them up on the floor, walls, or ceiling. Nevertheless, the most beneficial location from which you can radiate heat into a house is the floor, since majorities of houses have fixed, immovable ceilings and walls.

  • Floor Setup

If the floor setup is to work properly, the installation needs to be on a subfloor to allow heat to be transferred effectively through the house. For instance, in a multi-floored flat, the system is on either of the floors from the room beneath. In contrast, a similar structure on the ground floor might prove quite complicated because of the complexities of building foundations for story buildings.

  • Wall Setup

The installation of radiant floor heating in an existing house may prove quite costly because of the materials needed and the labor involved. Imagine tearing up a tile or part and what it would be like filling the gap left behind.

To reduce the stress that comes along with floor installation, wall applications may be the best way to go. This is accomplishable with warm board wall panels designed specifically for wall-mounted applications without taking any extra space.

You can also always choose to use framed panels on the wallboards if you feel burdened by having to alter the walls of your home. This is even more decorative inside the home.

  • Radiant Ceiling heat

Alternatively, you can install this option in any existing home, but you will need flat ceilings that are not higher than 12 feet to ensure maximum efficiency. A further advantage of radiant heating at the ceiling is that the system can also be used to pump cool water and lower ceiling temperatures when the cold seasons are over.

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