Radiant Floors

Radiant Floors

Radiant floor heating can be called the silent hero of home heating. Since the heat actually emanates from the floor, it is efficient and quiet, without blowing allergens throughout a home’s air. It’s not drafty, without duct work, registers, and returns involved. Radiant floor heating has the feel of standing in a window on a sunny cold day with the sun warming you, without the sun needing to warm the outside air. As the waves of thermal radiation rise from below, they warm any objects they touch in the room, which then in turn radiate that heat. Even though the air temperature remains the same, these objects are warmed and, therefore, not stealing heat from your body. There are a number of homes in the Eagan, MN, area enjoying the benefits of radiant floor heating.

Subfloor heating has been around from the ancient Romans and Turks to Frank Lloyd Wright. The ancients used it in their homes and bath houses, heating their marble and tile floors, while Frank Lloyd Wright used copper piping in his homes, with a few postwar subdivisions implementing it as well. It fell out of use during that time due to the copper-pipe corrosion and the cost of breaking through floors for replacement. However, technology has brought PEX (cross-linked polyethylene) tubing onto the scene, eradicating the need for metal and corroding piping, making radiant floor heating an efficient and favorable choice for heating homes. Call Silver Tree Plumbing & Heating to speak with a knowledgeable technician about this heating choice for your home.

How Radiant Floors Work

In radiant floor heating, warmth comes from hot-water tubes or electric wires buried beneath the floor. As mentioned above, the heat waves rise and warm the objects they strike. You stay warm, because these objects have their own heat and aren’t taking yours. Compare this to conventional forced-air heat, which is what most American homes have. Air blows from registers at a temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit, where it rises to the top of the room, then drops back down as it cools. This explains why your toes could still be cold while your head is warm. Also forced-air heating systems cycle. You turn on your furnace, it heats to the designated temperature, then it shuts off. This cycle repeats, making the temperature in your home uneven due to the series of ups and downs with the temperature. Radiant floors produce an even, constant, cost-effective heat, most effective with most types of finished flooring, including hardwood and tile. Carpet isn’t usually recommended due to the carpet’s padding beneath––it stifles the heat.

Types of Radiant Floor Heat

There are basically two types of radiant floor heat: electric and hydronic. There is a third, air-heated floor heat, but it’s not at all cost-effective in residential applications and seldom used. Feel free to call Silver Tree Plumbing & Heating at any time for a full explanation of radiant floors and which type would best be suited to your home and budget.

Electric Radiant Heat

Electric radiant heat uses electric resistance cables beneath the flooring. Typically, electric floors are not used as a home’s main source of heat, as the relatively high cost of electricity would not make this choice cost-effective. This type of floor heat is used as supplemental heat, as in the case of an addition or a bathroom. Programmable thermostats are recommended for both air and floor-temperature limits to minimize energy costs. The electric cables are built into the floor or can be pre-attached to mats for easy installation and are installed over a subfloor in a bed of thin-set mortar. If pulling up your existing flooring isn’t an option, there are companies making electric radiant pads that fit in joist bays under the subfloor. Contact Silver Tree Plumbing & Heating to see if this is an option for your project.

Hydronic Radiant Heat

Hydronic radiant heat systems are usually designed for an entire house. A boiler or water heater heats water to between 100 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit, and it’s circulated through tubing beneath the floors. As touched on above, PEX tubing is now the tubing of choice, as copper and metal corrode over time. This flexible tubing can be installed in a myriad of ways––on top of the subfloor in grooved panels or snap-in grids, clipped ­into aluminum strips on the underside of the floor, or embedded in poured concrete.

Costs of Radiant Floors

The installation of radiant floor heat costs more initially than more conventional heating systems, like forced air heating or hydronic (baseboard radiators) systems. But in the long run, it saves money due to lower thermostat settings and higher efficiency. Also, radiant floor heating does not address a home’s cooling, so that is a separate purchase to consider. As with any heating project, you need to access the materials and equipment costs, as well as the labor costs. But even assessing the initial investment needed, many residents of Eagan, MN, are installing radiant floor heating in their homes and are blissfully happy with their choice.

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Plumbing Repair in Other, MN 54016

“Silver Tree was prompt in responding to our call. The plumber who came, Tim B., was fantastic: friendly, communicative, professional, and extremely helpful. I would not hesitate to use Silver Tree again.”

– Jeffrey C.

Pipe Installation in MN 55369

“I needed plumbing for an irrigation system that was being installed and Tim Berg was my service tech. He was extremely helpful. He not only did my plumbing for the irrigation system, but he found a problem with existing plumbing I had and helped talk to the sup about it. He also took the time to answer and explain a few questions that I had. Tim was awesome and is highly recommended!”

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Service in Woodbury, MN 55042

“I had some minor adjustments made to my toilet seats in my new home – Tim went over and above by making sure that I had no future problems with the toilets seats and he replaced both of them. Silver Tree did not install my kitchen sink, but Tim was willing to check it out and pointed out the serious problem with my sink which I have overlooked. He also changed by air ducts filters. Tim was very friendly, timely, and very helpful. Thank you Tim.”

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Plumbing Repair in Farmington, MN 55024

“Very happy with our installation of our new tub spout. We purchased a new townhouse in 2017 and had a faulty tub spout shower diverted. Jake assisted us in getting a warranty replacement faucet from Moen. Today their serviceman installed. The serviceman showed up promptly as scheduled and was very professional. Would recommend SilverTree! Thanks again!!”

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Thank you for your good work Silver Tree!”

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Professional Staff in Mendota Heights, MN 55111

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as a company to call when shopping for a furnace or air conditioning unit.”


Excellent Service in Brooklyn Park, MN 55316

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Plumbing Repair in South Minneapolis, MN 55401

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Silver Tree Plumbing & Heating provides professional heating, cooling, and plumbing services to residents in Apple Valley, Burnsville, Chaska, Cottage Grove, Eagan, Eden Prairie, Farmington, Inver Grove Heights, Mendota Heights, Minnetonka, Prior Lake, Rosemount, Savage, Shakopee, Woodbury, and surrounding Minnesota communities. Visit our service area page to learn more or contact us today at 651-319-4200 or request service online.

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