Modern Usonian: Radiant heat options?

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Jon Autry

Modern Usonian: Radiant heat options?

Post by Jon Autry »

Any thoughts on pros/cons of Hydronic vs. Electrical radiant floor heating?

Posts: 425
Joined: Sun Jan 09, 2005 8:52 pm
Location: Battle Lake, MN

Radiant heat

Post by dkottum »

We are at that point in our own project, so have been reading. If it's going into concrete, it must be durable. This seems to favor hot water. The other thing that comes to mind is that hydronic heat gives you many fuel choices to heat the water, gas, oil, wood, or solar. There is also an installation method that circulates the household hot water through the system. In summer, water from the city supply line is routed through the system on the way to the household hot water heater. This takes heat from the floors, making them cooler, and warms the water before it reaches the heater, thereby requiring less energy to bring the water up to desirable temperature. With this method, there is only one hot water heater (or boiler), that provides both household hot water and heat.


radiant heat

Post by wrightfanbob »

I agree with the previous post. I should think that the hydronic route might be more cost effective and a greener way to go about it. Be certain to have a qualified installer do this, as leaks are a result of poor installation. I would not rely on the floor adding any cooling factor in the summer. Once you experience this method of heat, you will never settle for anything else!


Post by ScottG »

We installed radiant floor heat in our house. There is nothing better and it exceeded our expectations. We'll never go back.

FLW was a genius!


Post by Guest »

Agreed about the radiant heat. We had it in a 1954 house designed by a Frank Lloyd Wright apprentice, Robert Carroll May. It is hard to describe a better feeling than walking barefoot on warm stone floors in the middle of winter while viewing a snowstorm through large glass windows...

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Joined: Sun Feb 06, 2005 6:41 pm

Bob May

Post by KevinW »

Bob May was an excellent Architect, another former apprentice who took what he learned from Wright and created beautiful work with happy clients! Contrary to popular belief, There are and were many quality apprentices.


Post by Guest »

Yes. They are good quality. Just not as good as FLW. If I wanted to live in the best house....if would be a FLW. If I wanted a lesser appretice would do.

But then again....who wants sloppy seconds!


Robert May

Post by NickSpellman »

There are several Robert May houses near where I live (Storrs & Suffield, CT) and they are absolutely delightful. They are not FLLW copies. Mr. May developed his own unique expression of the organic house.

Paul Ringstrom
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Joined: Sat Sep 17, 2005 4:53 pm
Location: Mason City, IA

Radiant Heat

Post by Paul Ringstrom »

I found a very unique product for electric radiant heat called StepWarmfloor by Electro Plastics, Inc., St. Louis, MO


Electric radiant heat

Post by Guest »

I heard that electric radiant heat is better for small surface areas, such as bathrooms, which need to heat up quickly.

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Joined: Thu Feb 24, 2005 7:20 pm
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand

Post by Mobius »

Electrical heating in a bathroom is typically placed OVER the concrete slab but UNDER the tiles on the floor. In this way, the floor can be heated in 15 minutes or so. But the heat is not long-lived, as is obvious because you are not heating the floor slab.

I have heard horror stories from an electrical contractor friend about electric underfloor heating - particularly on floors which have the concrete as the final surface. If construction cuts sever a wire, then your floor is probably going to have to come up. The highest repair cost I have heard is $40,000 and I do not know who ended up paying.

If you plan on underfloor heating, then you must use contractors and concrete placers who are not only familiar with their products, but also with each other, and the scrutineering of the placement of elements/pipes must be minutely examined before the concrete is laid. A cut pipe or element is just guaranteed to ruin your decade.
How many escape pods are there? "NONE, SIR!" You counted them? "TWICE, SIR!"

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