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Why Trust Diamond Certified Radiant Heating Companies Rated Highest in Quality?

Photo: R.H. Hydronics (2012)

You are the customer. If your goal is to choose a radiant heat system installer that will deliver high customer satisfaction and quality, you’ll feel confident in choosing a Diamond Certified radiant heating contractor. Each has been rated Highest in Quality in the most accurate ratings process anywhere. And you’re always backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. Here’s why the Diamond Certified ratings and certification process will help you find a top-rated radiant heating service and is unparalleled in its accuracy, rigor and usefulness:

1) Accuracy: All research is performed by live telephone interviews that verify only real customers are surveyed, so you’ll never be fooled by fake reviews.

2) Statistical Reliability: A large random sample of past customers is surveyed on an ongoing basis so the research results you see truly reflect a Diamond Certified company’s top-rated status.

3) Full Disclosure: By clicking the name of a company above you’ll see the exact rating results in charts and read verbatim survey responses as well as researched articles on each qualified company.

4) Guaranteed: Your purchase is backed up with mediation and the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee, so you can choose with confidence.

Click on the name of a Diamond Certified company above to read ratings results, researched articles and verbatim customer survey responses to help you make an informed decision.

More than 200,000 customers of local companies have been interviewed in live telephone calls, and only companies that score Highest in Quality in customer satisfaction–a 90+ on a 100 scale–as well as pass all of the credential-based ratings earn Diamond Certified. By requiring such a high score to qualify, the Diamond Certified program eliminates mediocre and poorly performing companies. Read detailed information about the ratings and certification process.

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INDUSTRY INFORMATION AND RESEARCHED ARTICLES BY THE DIAMOND CERTIFIED RESOURCE

INDUSTRY INFORMATION - Sonoma County – Heat – Radiant
  • Bosch Invented for Life

  • Bosch

  • Buderus

  • Viessmann

America Institute of Architects (AIA) (www.aia.org/)
Contractors State License Board (CSLB) (www.cslb.ca.gov/)
Department of Energy: Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE) (www.energysavers.gov/)
Hydronic Heating Association (HHA) (www.comfortableheat.net/)
International Code Council (ICC) (www.iccsafe.org/)

National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) (www.nahb.org/)
National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) (www.nwfa.org)
Portland Cement Association (PCA) (www.cement.org/)
Quality Service Contractors (QSC) (www.qsc-phcc.org/)
Radiant Panel Association/ Radiant Professionals Alliance (RPA) (www.radiantprofessionalsalliance.org/)
U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) (www.usgbc.org/)

Know What You Want
Questions to ask Yourself Before Hiring a Radiant Heating Company in Sonoma County

Before you dive into a radiant heating solution for your Sonoma County home, ask yourself a few questions. Answering these questions will give you a good idea of your own situation, what you are looking for, and what you need. In many cases, as you consider radiant heating for your home in Windsor, Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Sonoma, Healdsburg, or Rohnert Park, you are starting from scratch. Get the basics down, then you will feel more comfortable as you describe what you want to your radiant heating system provider. Some questions you might want to ask could include the following.

  1. Do I want a Diamond Certified company that is rated best in quality and backed by the Diamond Certified Guarantee?
  2. Am I considering installing radiant heating all over my house? Or just in a specific room or area?
  3. Am I dealing with new construction or a remodel/retrofit?
  4. If I am looking at electrical radiant heating products, do I already have a primary heating system installed and servicing the area where the electrical radiant heating will be installed as required in California?
  5. Do I want to perform any part of the installation myself? Am I comfortable working from a kit and installation guidelines?
  6. Where do I want the radiant heat to be installed – walls, ceilings, floors?
  7. What benefits do I want from my radiant heating system? Fewer allergies, reduced energy costs for running the system?
  8. Do I have specific wants, like a heated bathtub or towel rack?
  9. Do I want the system to provide heating for my house, or am I just looking for warm floors?
  10. Do I have any interest in using radiant heating outdoors – for a patio or pool, for example?
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What To Ask In Person
Talk to Your Sonoma County Radiant Heating System Provider in Person

When it comes to talking with your Sonoma County radiant heating system provider in person, there are a couple of occasions you might meet. The heating system company might come to your property to examine the space. In many cases, though, the company will ask for details and prepare detailed drawings. You might meet with the company in person to go over these drawings. Or your architect or other representative might meet with your heating system provider. In any case, a personal meeting should be a chance to ask questions that are specific to your project in Sonoma County, whether in Windsor, Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Healdsburg, Rohnert Park, or Sebastopol. Writing down the questions beforehand can help you focus on the conversation, knowing you always have your notes as a reminder. Some questions might include the following.

  1. How will you be able to tell if my hydronic radiant system leaks?
  2. How will you manage installing radiant heating in my existing floor?
  3. Can you install radiant heating so my bathtub is heated?
  4. Do you have recommendations for heating this outdoor space? My pool?
  5. What kind of radiant heating system do you recommend for this particular space?
  6. Can I use electrical radiant heating in this space?
  7. Do you think the ceilings are too high for radiant heat to be effective in this room?
  8. How many zones would you recommend installing in this house?
  9. Can the radiant heating product you are recommending be used with my particular floor covering?
  10. If I get a radiant heating panel installed in this wall, would recommend changing the furniture layout? Will radiant heat really keep me warm regardless of the furniture position?
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  • What To Ask References
    Questions for references

    It’s best to choose a Diamond Certified radiant heat provider because all certified companies have passed an in-depth ratings process that most other companies can’t pass. If you want quality from a radiant heat provider in Sonoma County and the greater Bay Area, you can have confidence choosing a Diamond Certified company. Diamond Certified reports are available online for all certified companies. And you’ll never be fooled by fake reviews. That’s because all research is performed in live telephone interviews of actual customers.

    If you can’t find a Diamond Certified radiant heat provider within reach, you’ll have to do some research on your own. If you do, it’s wise to call some references provided by your radiant heat provider. Keep in mind, though, that references provided to you by the radiant heat provider are not equal in value to the large random sample of customers surveyed during the Diamond Certified ratings process. That’s because references given to customers from companies are cherry-picked instead of randomly selected from all their customers. So the providers will likely give you a few customers to call that they know are satisfied.

    If you do call references on your own, specifically ask for a list of the company’s 10 most recent customers. This will help avoid them giving you the names of only customers they know were satisfied.

    1. Did your radiant heating system provider help draw up the plans to design your heating system?
    2. Did your radiant heating system provider install the system? Did they test to see that it worked and there were no leaks or broken electrical circuits?
    3. Did your radiant heating system provide show awareness of the California rules for installing electrical radiant heating?
    4. What kind of radiant heating system did you have installed – hydroic or electrical?
    5. How big was your radiant heating installation – the whole house or just a room or two?
    6. What was the purpose of your radiant heating installation? Were you using it as the main heating system, for floor warming, for a specific use like heating a bathtub or towel rack?
    7. Did you have any problems getting your radiant heating system approved by the building inspection? Who was responsible for complying with the building codes?
    8. Did you do any of the work yourself? If so, did your radiant heating system provider offer installation guides,, and were they useful?
    9. Were you satisfied with the quality of the work and the way in which it was done – did the workers show up on time and leave the area clean when done?
    10. How long have you had the system installed? Have you noticed any effect on your utility bills?
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  • Review Your Options
    Find and Hire a Good Radiant Heat Provider in Sonoma County

    The Diamond Certified symbol has been awarded to companies that scored Highest in Quality in an accurate ratings process.

    Your choice of radiant heat provider … So before deciding on the best radiant heat provider in Sonoma County for you, it’s important to consider the following questions.

    1. If I am interested in doing part of the work myself, does the radiant heating provider offer support like kits and instruction guides?
    2. Does the radiant heating provider have experience in working with the type of radiant heating system that I need installed – hydronic or electrical?
    3. Does the radiant heating provider demonstrate knowledge of how to test the system during installation, looking for leaks or breaks in the electrical circuit?
    4. Does the radiant heating provider work with my specific situation – remodel, retrofit, or new construction?
    5. Is the radiant heating system provider knowledgeable about the rules in place in California for electrical radiant heating systems?
    6. Does the radiant heating provider offer design services so that a proper radiant heating system can be successfully installed?
    7. Do the radiant heating provider and I agree on who has the responsibility to ensure that the heating system matches local building ordinances?
    8. Does the radiant heating provider provide clear information about the costs of the equipment and of the installation, if they are providing the labor?
    9. Can the radiant heat provider tell me how they will protect the tubes or cables from being damaged by structural stresses?
    10. Can the radiant heat provider tell me why they are recommending a particular material, for example, using copper for the tubes in a hydronic radiant heating system?
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  • How To Work With
    Before you Hire a Sonoma County Radiant Heating Provider

    Before you hire a Sonoma County radiant heating provider, think about what you want. Are you working on a retrofit or remodel or new construction? What do you want the radiant heating system to do for you? Are you looking to warm a few floors around the house? Or are you looking for a full-house heating system? Or are you looking to warm a bathtub or towel rack? Are you dealing with a house that already has radiant heating? Or do you want to add radiant heating to an existing structure? The more you narrow down exactly what you expect your radiant heating system to do in your Sonoma County house, whether in Windsor, Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Healdsburg, Rohnert Park, Sonoma, Sebastopol, or Guerneville, the more equipped you will be to speak with your radiant heating system provider. Even if you are just exploring the possibility, knowing what you want helps you have the right conversation.

    Once You’ve Found Your Sonoma County Radiant Heating Provider
    Once you’ve settled on a Sonoma County radiant heating provider, be prepared to work with them. You may have to supply measurements and similar details so that they can design the heating system. Or you may have to work with both your radiant heating provider and an architect or other person to get the heating system designed. Make sure you understand what your radiant heating provider will and will not do. It may fall to you to help bridge the gap between the heating company and an architect or building inspector. The most important thing is to be clear about what the radiant heating provider accepts as his responsibility during the process. Then you or your general contractor can arrange to cover other parts of the process.

    Making the Job go More Smoothly for Your Sonoma County Radiant Heating Provider
    Your participation is key for the best execution of the project. For a well executed project, it’s important that you understand who all the players are and what their responsibilities are. If you don’t know who is covering a specific area, be sure to ask. You may delegate the running of the project to a contractor who will manage the whole process. It is still worthwhile to know who bears which responsibilities when working on your house in Rohnert Park, Healdsburg, Santa Rosa, Petaluma, or Windsor. For example, do you need to get the designs approved before they are executed? Do you need to have a building inspector inspect after the installation is complete? Who will guarantee that the design and installation meet all applicable rules?

    Milestones mark when specific parts of the projects are done. Some tasks may have to be completed before the next task can be started, so you or your delegate should know how the project is progressing each day, to avoid delays. Keep yourself or your delegate available to answer any questions that come up.

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  • Be a Good Customer
    How Can You Be a Good Radiant Heat Customer?

    It’s the radiant heat provider’s responsibility put in quality radiant heat using the best possible installation techniques. But you play a big part in the success of your radiant heat, too. Here are a few simple steps you can take to be a good customer when hiring a Sonoma County radiant heat provider.

    • Be clear and upfront with the radiant heat company. Let them know what you want from your radiant heat, the long-term outcome you’re expecting and specific ways they can satisfy your expectations.
    • Remember, a friendly smile goes a long way!
    • Before you hire a radiant heat provider in Sonoma County, restate your expectations and goals, and reiterate to the radiant heat provider’s representative your understanding of the agreement. Most problems with local radiant heat providers occur because of a breakdown in communication. By being clear about your expectations and theirs, you can avoid most conflicts.
    • Ask your radiant heat provider if you should call to check on the progress or if he will call you with updates.
    • Be sure your service representative has a phone number where they can reach you at all times while they’re installing radiant heat. The work will move along more smoothly if your radiant heat provider can reach you for any necessary updates, questions or work authorizations.
    • When your contractor contacts you, return calls promptly to keep the radiant heat installation on schedule.
    • Pay for the radiant heat provider’s work promptly.

    Why would you want to be a good customer? Radiant heat providers in Sonoma County appreciate customers who are straightforward, honest and easy to work with. Your good customer behavior sets the tone from your end and creates an environment conducive to a good relationship. Things may very well go smoother and any problems may be more easily resolved.

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Check The Work
Check Your Sonoma County Radiant Heating Provider’s Work Against the Estimate and Contract

You should not start a Sonoma County radiant heating system installation without a written estimate and contract. The estimate and contract should include the materials that will be used, the labor costs and time it will take to complete the project, any subcontractors used, and all testing that will be performed to make sure the system is working correctly. You can use the written estimate and contract as a way of monitoring that the project is proceeding as planned. A reasonably detailed estimate and contract is more valuable than a contract that just lists a lump sum, since it will not be clear what the lump sum covers. It’s important to write down any changes that are made in the terms of the contract when they occur.

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Written Warranties
Ask Your Sonoma County Radiant Heating Provider for Warranties

You should ask your Sonoma County radiant heating provider for warranties. Often, the radiant heating provider is installing devices manufactured by others, like tubing, boilers, etc. In such a case, you should ask for the manufacturer’s guarantees. In other cases, the radiant heating provider may be selling their own products, in which case you should ask for the product guarantee. When design services are provided, you should ask if there are any guarantees. A typical guarantee might be that the designs will meet all applicable code requirements. If the radiant heating provider also installs the system, ask for warranties on the workmanship.

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Top 10 Requests
Top Service Requests

Radiant heat systems provide comfortable ambient temperatures for the entire family while potentially saving energy. However, radiant heat systems are not only used for indoor heating, they can also be useful for some applications outside, as well. Radiant heat companies in Sonoma County, whether in Santa Rosa, Windsor, Healdsburg, Petaluma, or Rohnert Park, are likely to get requests for the following kinds of radiant heat systems.

Radiant Floor Warming
Many modern materials like slate, marble, stone, or wood look great on the floor, but can be cool to the touch. Floor warming allows the floor to feel warm. It is popular in bathrooms.

Gutter Melting Systems
Gutters can be places where snow and ice buildup. You can prevent this with a radiant heating system.

Under-floor Radiant Heating
One of the most common types of radiant heating, under floor heating can be installed under almost any kind of floor covering – rugs, hardwoods, etc., and with almost any kind of underlying foundation.

Ceiling Radiant Heating
Radiant heating can be installed in the ceiling, though this is less popular than radiant heating underfoot. One reason is that as a rule, people prefer that their heads and shoulders feel more cool than their feet. Heat from the ceiling can be slightly uncomfortable.

Radiant Wall Panels
Radiant heating systems can be installed in walls, as well as in ceilings and floors.

Snow Melting Systems
For entryways, sidewalks, loading docks, and other outdoors areas where snow can accumulate and become hazardous, a radiant heat system can be installed to melt snow without forcing you to rely on chemicals, heavy equipment, or manual labor to clear the snow.

Heated Driveways
Heated driveways can make shoveling a thing of the past. Systems are designed to allow the user to control when the system goes on and off and to reduce energy consumption as possible.

Retrofit Radiant Heat
Your house may have been built without a radiant heat system. However, you can retrofit your house so that it accommodates radiant heating.

New Build Radiant Heat
You may know before you build your house that you want to use a radiant heat system, so you may call on your radiant heating system contractor as part of the new build.

Radiant Roof Deicing
When snow and ice form and stay on a roof, they place an additional burden on the structure. To prevent snow building up and icing, radiant heating systems can be set up for the roof.

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Glossary Of Terms
Glossary of Radiant Heat Terminology

We’re not all contractors or born with an innate knowledge of radiant heat. When you speak with your radiant heat company, don’t let yourself feel buffaloed by a new vocabulary. Some of the terms below may help you reach an understanding with your radiant heat provider.

activation device
Something that is used to turn the heating system on or off. It could be a thermostat or sensor, for example.

AFUE
Refers to the ratio of output energy to input energy, per year. It is a measurement used for hot water heaters, boilers, forced-air heaters, or other combustion heaters.

Also known as: Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency

alternating current
An alternating current is an electrical current that varies in polarity and magnitude. It typically appears as a sine wave, which is usually the most efficient for transferring energy.

ambient temperature
The temperature of the air surrounding the device that is measuring the temperature.

Also known as: AMB

amp
A unit of measurement for electricity. It refers to the amount of coulombs, or charge, used per second.

Also known as: ampere

anchor plug kit
The materials needed to install wire on a concrete surface. Once holes are drilled into the concrete, a wooden rod or dowel is inserted. Wire clips are then nailed to the wooden dowels.

asphalt
A petroleum-based material used for waterproofing and paving, it is thick and black.

AWG
The measurement used to define a wire’s diameter. Higher gauge numbers indicate finer wires.

Also known as: American Wire Gauge

backer rod
A foam substance that is used so that caulking and sealant have the proper depth.

back plate
A device that is used to strengthen and support the wall as well as to serve as an attachment point for components of the heating system.

BTU
A measure of energy. It is often used to denote the power of heating and cooling systems. In such cases, it really refers to the amount of energy used per hour (BTU/h), though this ratio is often just referred to as the “BTU.”

Also known as: British Thermal Unit

building code
Refers to the rules the govern the minimum acceptable safety level for constructed objects.

castle chair
When welded wire fabric is being used as the heating device and is being installed in concrete, the castle chair is a device that is used to lift the heating element higher off the wire fabric and closer to the concrete’s surface.

Also known as: chair

cathode ray tube
A technique that uses magnetic fields and electrons to display images.

Also known as: CRT

caulk
A substance used for sealing and making water-tight. In radiant heating systems, it is used to seal concrete or asphalt after retrofitting a radiant heating system into them.

chalk line
A technique for marking straight lines over a long distance. In the technique, a string saturated with chalk is held down at the start and end points of the surface to be marked. The middle of the string is then snapped against the surface, creating the chalk line.

cold joint
Cold joints are used in concrete to allow for expansion and contraction of the concrete. The joint should not be used as a place to install the tubing for a radiant heating system, since the tubing may be crushed.

Also known as: cold mark

cold lead
Used to conduct electric current from the control unit to the heating element in a radiant heating system. It’s low resistance minimizes the loss of power during travel time.

combustion efficiency
Refers to how efficient a device like a hot water heater or boiler is. It measures the potential heat output, not the actual heat output.

concrete
A mixture of water, cement, and aggregate, or small rocks or other small particles. The water chemically reacts with the cement to make a very hard, durable substance.

conduit
A shield, or housing, that prevents wires and cables from being damaged or being made wet.

continuity
Refers to an electrical circuit where there are no breaks or other interruptions in the electricity’s path.

drip edge
Flashing, or thin metal, that is placed on the roof’s front edge. It prevents water from seeping into the roof.

eave
A portion of a roof that overhangs a house. It is designed to prevent weather damage to the building, though it can be prone to icicles, which can inflict water damage on the building.

element test
An element test may be recommended as part of installation. It checks to see that the system has electrical continuity and that no damage occurred during installation.

elevated sleepers
Used in conjunction with hardwood floors, these devices elevate hardwood floors or provide a place for nails to be attached. The space they create allows the radiant heating system’s tubing to be installed.

flashing
Flashing refers to the material that is used to prevent water from entering buildings.

heatsink
A material that transfers heat from one medium to another. A heatsink has high thermal conductivity – it may consist of sand, concrete, asphalt, mortar, etc.

slab-on-grade
A kind of foundation that consists of a concrete slab set directly on the ground.

transformer
A device used to move electrical energy between circuits by means of magnetic coupling with no motion between the parts. It often consists of coupled windings and a core that concentrates magnetic flux. The number of turns in the windings influences the ratio of the input and output voltages, so the voltage is accordingly increased or decreased between circuits. The voltage is applied to one of the windings, which then creates a magnetic flux in the core that sends voltage to the other windings.

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Frequently Asked Questions
Radiant Heating FAQ

Q: Why choose a Diamond Certified radiant heat provider?
A: Diamond Certified helps you choose a radiant heat provider with confidence by offering a list of top-rated local companies who have passed the country’s most in-depth rating process. Only radiant heat providers rated Highest in Quality earn the prestigious Diamond Certified award. Most companies cant pass the ratings. American Ratings Corporation also monitors every Diamond Certified company with ongoingresearch and ratings. And your purchase is backed by theDiamond Certified Performance Guarantee. So you’ll feel confident choosing a Diamond Certified radiant heat provider.

Q: What exactly is radiant heat?
A: Radiant heating is a kind of heating in which an element is heated and then emits that heat energy to warm people or other objects in the room. This is different from forced-air heating systems, for example, which actually increase the temperature of the air in the room.

Q: Tell me more about California’s stance on electrical radiant heating?
A: California’s most recently ruling on radiant heating comes from the Building Energy Standards, Title 24, Part 6. The code says that electrical radiant floor warming and electrical radiant space heating systems may be used as supplemental heating. That means that for electrical radiant heating to be used, there must be a primary system already installed. The primary system must directly service the space where the electrical radiant system will be installed and must be capable of conditioning the space on its own. In such situations, electrical radiant heating may be installed.

The reason for this is that when California determines efficiency, the state uses source energy as its measurement. This means that though the electrical product itself is very efficient, generating and delivering the electrical energy is very inefficient.

Q: Is electrical the only kind of radiant heat system available?
A: No. You can get electrical systems in which mats or tubing are spread out under the surface to be heated. Electricity is then used to create the heat that warms the space. You can also get hydronic radiant heat systems in which a liquid is passed through tubes that have been laid down in the floor, ceiling, or wall. Hydronic systems are the most popular and cost-effective kind of radiant heating where climates demand heating. There are also air-heated radiant floors, but they are very inefficient because air does not hold heat well. The air-heated radiant floor is sometimes combined with a solar panel, but even then, they tend to still be inefficient. (This does not mean that solar-power cannot be used to power non-air-heated radiant systems.) Air-heated radiant floors are not generally used in residences.

Q: What kind of floor covering can I use with a radiant heat system?
A: If your radiant heat system is installed in the floor, you can use virtually any floor covering n carpet, hardwood, stone, tile, etc. However, you should be aware that anything that insulates will also insulate against the heat coming through the floor n thus reducing its ability to warm. Most radiant heating providers have explicit information and recommendations for which products to use with which types of floor coverings, and you should discuss the appropriate application with your radiant heating system provider.

Q: Can I install my own radiant heating system?
A: Almost. You can do things like run the cables for the heating system, or lay the mesh pads. In fact, some radiant heating system companies will give you DVDs or other tools to self-install. However, when it comes to actually connecting the heating system to the controller, you will need a licensed electrician.

Your ability to install the system will also depend on your comfort level with doing the actual work. You should also consider that problems or re-doing the work may raise costs.

Q: What is a zone?
A: A zone refers to an area that has its own thermostat for controlling the heat within that region of the house. Some basic recommendations are that every story of the house should be its own zone. Another recommendation is that every 700-1000 square feet be its own zone. When zoning, you may also want to take into account what the rooms are used for n you may want bedrooms cooler than living spaces. The kinds of floor covering may also influence zone decisions.

Q: Which costs more n forced-air or radiant heat systems?
A: In plain fact, this can only be answered on a case-by-case basis, depending on the project being worked on, the equipment selected for installation, and all the other factors that go into building or remodeling a home. In shorthand terms, though, installing a radiant heat system for new construction tends to cost slightly more (10-25%) than installing a forced air system for new construction. This is usually because the radiant heating system requires more labor, since the tubing must be installed throughout the heating system, in contrast to the forced-air system that only requires a few ducts.

Q: Why do people like radiant heat systems?
A: Radiant heat systems are popular because they are quiet, they don’t send air and air-borne pollutants like dust, pollen, and other allergens throughout the house. They may have fewer moving parts than forced-air systems, leaving them less vulnerable to breakdown and repair. They do not cause drafts the way heated air systems can. And, for most users, a radiant heating system is run at a lower temperature than a forced-air system, though the perceived warmth of the people in the house is the same as it would be with the higher-temperature forced-air system.

Q: Can I add radiant heating to a house that doesn’t have it already?
A: It is considerably easier to add radiant heating to a house that already has it. However, it is possible to add radiant heating during a remodel or retrofit. You will have to ask yourself if the cost is worth the benefit. Some things to consider include the possible effect on floor height. If you are installing a hydronic system where the tubes carrying the water are set into concrete slabs, you may have to consider the change in floor height and the effect it can have on cabinets and everything else that rests on the floor. Of course, there are other radiant heating systems that can be added under a floor between the floor joists without affecting the floor height. So you can add radiant heating to an existing house, but much will depend on the kind of heating system you install.

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