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Radiant floors

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This is a list of the most important GBA articles on radiant floors — that is, floors with embedded hydronic tubing to deliver space heat.

If you are looking for an index that spans all categories, with a special focus on “how to” articles, check out this resource page: “How to do Everything.”

  • Musings of an Energy Nerd

    All About Radiant Floors

    So-called radiant floors have an excellent reputation. Many customers report that this type of heating system is comfortable and quiet. Moreover, some suppliers of radiant floor materials and equipment claim that these systems can save energy. In spite of the purported benefits of this type of heating system, few green homes include a radiant floor heating system. This article will explore why.

  • Energy Solutions

    Radiant-Floor Heating

    Occasionally I wonder if I have some sort of masochistic streak — somehow enjoying the grief I get when bursting people’s favorite bubbles. I’ll brace myself for such a response to this column, when I point out why radiant-floor heating systems don’t make sense for new, energy-efficient houses.

  • Guest Blogs

    Goodbye Radiant Floor

    [Editor's note: Roger and Lynn Normand are building a Passivhaus in Maine. This is the second article in a series that will follow their project from planning through construction.] Goodbye radiant floor. Though we never really knew you, we are sad to see you go away.

  • Q&A Spotlight

    Adding Air Conditioning to Radiant-Floor Heat

    Radiant-floor heating systems are unobtrusive because the plastic tubing that distributes hot water around the house is buried in or under the floor. Homeowners like that. But because there are no air ducts with a radiant-floor system, air conditioning must be added separately.

  • Q&A Spotlight

    Does Radiant Floor Cooling Make Sense?

    Steve Mackay is already committed to radiant floor heat in the house he is building. Why not, he wonders, use the same system for cooling?

  • Q&A Spotlight

    Is Radiant Floor Heat Really the Best Option?

    Lukas Smith, a framer by trade, is building a 3,100-sq. ft. house in southern Ontario and plans to install a radiant-floor system in the basement slab as well as the first and second floors. The house will be built with structural insulated panels (SIPs) and have R-values of 33 in the walls and 50 in the roof.

  • Q&A Spotlight

    Q&A Spotlight: Will One Radiant Floor Heat Two Stories?

    Michael Schonlau is building a house in Omaha, Nebraska, where he can expect 6,000+ heating degree days a year. He's planning on putting a radiant-floor system in the basement slab of the ranch-style home with a footprint of about 1,600 sq. ft. In a recent posting on GBA's page, Schonlau asked whether he'll have to install radiant loops under the subfloor of the first floor as well as the basement — or will the heat generated in the basement migrate upstairs and keep the house comfortable?

  • Q&A Spotlight

    Should I Skip the Radiant Floor Heat?

    With an R-90 roof and R-60 walls, Jenz Yoder's new off-grid house will be well insulated. Yoder's quandary, outlined at Green Building Advisor's Q&A forum, is whether radiant-floor heat is a good idea. "I had two consultants tell me that I will not need radiant floor heat, [that] it will be too much," Yoder writes. "We will have a whole-house air circulation system and a gas fireplace. I am worried about not putting in the pipes in the floor and then being wrong."

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