What is Radiant Floor Heating?

Radiant floor heating can be an energy-efficient way to heat your home from the ground up. It uses a system of tubes or cables to power heat underneath a home’s floor and the heat uniformly moves up from there. There is a higher upfront cost, but the energy savings over time can be significant.

Whether you’re building your dream home and looking at heating options or looking to upgrade the antiquated system of your townhome renovation, radiant floor heating can be an excellent, energy-efficient option to heat your home. Like any big step in home construction, it’s a major decision, so it’s important to understand what radiant floor heating is (and what it isn’t) before deciding if it’s right for you and your dwelling. 

How Does Radiant Floor Heating Work?

In short, this system works by running heated cables or piping beneath your floor so that as the warm air rises, you can enjoy uniform heat throughout the room – and your home. There’s no blowing air and no ducts to leak from. You cannot cool your home using this system, but it does offer for streamlined, even heating. 

What Are the Basic Types of Radiant Floor Heating?

There are two types of radiant floor heating that you can choose from:

  • Electric radiant floor heating: This uses electric resistance cables to produce heat and the cables are typically embedded in thin mats that can be installed under tile, stone, laminate floors, and engineered wood. The mats connect to a thermostat where you can set specific settings to have warm floors in the morning, or even inside showers in certain applications.
  • Hot water radiant systems: Also called “hydronic heating,” this application uses heated water that circulates through a special kind of tubing. It’s embedded in mortal or extra thick plywood panels that have pre-cuts for the tubing (although the plywood cannot be used in nail down flooring like hardwood). The system is attached to a hot water heater, thermostat, and a pump that circulates the water. It is part of a system that is separate from the water heater you use for everyday tasks like washing and cooking. 


Although radiant floor heating has a higher upfront cost, it can save significant amounts of money over time and be a great, energy-efficient option in many houses. If you have questions about installation, cost, or anything else, call the experts at The Earth Heating today at 503-773-5213 to learn more about how we’ve helped Portland homeowners embrace the power of radiant heat.

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