If you’re thinking about renovating your basement and are thinking about adding radiant heating to your flooring, then read on. Not only is radiant heat possible for your basement floor, it can turn a cold, damp basement into the main gathering place for your home.
We’ve been renovating basements in Toronto and the surrounding GTA for over 30 years. We’ve also installed several radiant heating floor systems as part of converting damp basements into full height, finished basements.
In-floor radiant basement heating is based on the principle that the amount of energy required to maintain the existing temperature is low, when compared to that required to raise it. In a nutshell, the system comprises two main components. The first part is a network of flexible tubing around which the concrete slab is poured. The second is a hydronic pump that forces heated liquid through this piping to create a warming effect.
When to Install Basement Radiant Heating
A hydronic basement heater is an efficient way to keep a basement comfortably warm, especially as heat eventually transfers to the entire structure if it is left ticking over. However, it is not recommended for drying out a damp basement despite what some salespeople may say. This is because it does not prevent moisture entering the structure, and gradually degrading it.
Manifestly, the preferred solution is to cast the radiant piping into the slab at the time of original construction. Should you decide to retrofit the system, there are two possibilities, though not as ideal as installing it with a new floor:
- Chop up the floor slab, compact the rubble, cover it with a layer of sand and cast a fresh reinforced concrete floor with integral, radiant system.
- Add an above-floor grid covered over by a false floor. However, this option is not integral with the structure and consequently less energy-effective.
Convenient Energy Sources
Almost any energy source can be used to heat the liquid and power the pump that circulates it. Common solutions include coal, electricity, a heat pump, natural gas, oil, propane, solar energy, and wood. Factors influencing the final choice incorporate local building codes, general safety considerations, architectural constraints, the level of ambient temperature desired, and, of course, the homeowner’s budget.
Why You Should Consider Radiant Heating in Your Basement
Assuming that you have in mind to keep your basement warm – as opposed to drying it out which is counterproductive for reasons mentioned – then in-floor radiant heating has a number of significant advantages as follows:
- It is economic to install and operate, especially when fitted during the construction phase.
- It is gentle to the environment as it produces less greenhouse gases and can be fired by renewable energy.
- It is unusually quiet as does not rely on electric fans, rattling ductwork and hammering pipes.
- It is exceptionally clean and healthy as it is totally concealed and releases no pollutants to the air.
- Being ideally integrated with the floor slab, it does not rob your basement of precious headroom.
In Conclusion, is Radiant Heating a Good Idea?
Anything that adds value to your home in a cost-effective manner is an investment worth considering. This is especially true if it converts a chilly basement into useful living space. If you plan on creating a finished basement that will be a hub for the family, then consider adding radiant heating during your renovations.
Have questions about basement renovations or radiant heating for your basement? Nusite Group has been repairing and renovating basements in Toronto for over 30 years. We offer a free onsite evaluation for your radiant heating project and will provide you a list of recommendations as part of our free estimate. You can contact us here.