Infloor Heating

Infloor Heating is by far the most comfortable and efficient way to heat your home. It is easily installed in new home basements and garage areas and can also be used to heat main and second floors by using a gypcrete overpour system.

Air conditioning can be installed as a ductless split air conditioning system. This will guarantee a much more even space temperature since hot air wants to rise and cold air does the opposite.

Humidification can be added to this system, but requires careful design to avoid problems with condensation, mildew, etc.

Tubing for infloor heating systems is available in two types:

  • Crosslinked polyethylene with oxygen barrier
  • Crosslinked polyethylene without oxygen barrier

Tubing with no oxygen barrier can be used but requires the installation of non-ferrous system components (no cast iron, no steel, no malleable iron). If designed for properly, it can be cost effective to use regular pex pipe but BUYER BEWARE!

Homes heated with an infloor heating system require a minimum of 1/3 air change per hour provided by a ducted fan powered system. In Alberta (or climates similar to Alberta), the use of a double-core air-to-air heat exchanger is the best way to achieve this. These units come in various sizes and will provide fresh air into your home year round. Efficiencies range from 80% at -28°C to 90% when outdoor temperatures are above -5°C.

Where To Start

A good set of house plans is essential in preparing a proper set of mechanical drawings, heating/cooling load calculations, material takeoffs and a detailed quote.

In order to design the infloor tubing layouts, a heat loss calculation must be done. These calculations determine the loop lengths, tube spacing, tube diameter and number of loops per manifold and supply & return line sizes to manifolds. The heat loss calculation also allows for proper heat source selection.

Heat Source Selection

Heat sources come in all sizes and shapes. We will try to highlight a few of them here for you:

Heat SourceProsCons

Water Tube Boilers
  • Low mass-boiler heats up fast;
  • Lower price
  • Due to design, lifespan is limited to +/-25 years.
Cast Iron Boilers
  • High mass-slow to heat up;
  • Due to design, long lifespan of +/-40 years
  • Fairly expensive
  • Due to high mass, boiler room can possibly overheat when vent damper is closed and boiler is not firing.
Stainless Steel Wall-Hung Boilers
  • Low mass-small compact design;
  • Direct vented; condensing. Will be +95% efficient, in most cases.
  • Due to design, lifespan limited to +/-25 years.
  • Fairly expensive.
Combination System Heaters
  • Low cost
  • These systems only suitable for small, slab-heated areas-ie less than 1000 sq.ft.
  • Limited heat output
Water Heaters
  • We do not recommend the use of a waterheater to provide energy for infloor heating applications
  • Very inefficient, 45%
  • Very limited heat output. (up to 1000 s.f.).
  • Low water temperatures,only (110-120 °F) at capacity.


What to Look For During the Planning Stages of Your Home

  • Heat loss & cooling load calculations;
  • Tubing layout drawings for infloor heated areas showing: (i) flow per loop; (ii) loop length; (iii) spacing.
  • Detailed piping & wiring schematic showing: (i) all connected equipment; (ii) equipment selections; (iii) electrical requirements; (iv) pipe sizes/flows.
  • Detailed quote for design, material & labour;
  • Contractor to be licensed and experienced in all of the above aspects in order to design/install a system that will function properly from the day you move in.

Problems Associated with Poor Design/Installation

  • Inconsistent floor temperatures (cold spots/hot spots);
  • Extremely long warm up times (ie: temperature swings);
  • Repeated pump failure;
  • Poor space temperature control;
  • Expansion tank failure;
  • Zone valve failure.

Most of the above problems can be corrected even after move-in but it is far better to do the brain work before the actual installation.

Links to Related Websites

Air Elimination
Expansion Tanks
Infloor Tubing
Zone Valves