I am thinking about using radiant heat panels (Roth) in an in process
finished basement. I have hydronic already in the house with a
boiler. But I would be using carpet in the basement...will these
types of radiant heat setups work well in a basement with carpeting?
Is there any insulation underneath the slab and, if so, how much?
Carpet and under pad are reasonably good insulators and so more of
this heat will be re-directed downward and out of your home. It
doesn't strike me as a good idea, especially if the slab is
I am not sure that the foundation was insulated underneath...is there
a way to verify? The house was built in 2000 and I don't know the
builder. The original owner wouldn't know either. Is there a way to
check/verify (without digging under the foundation of course).
Stand on it barefoot for ten minutes. If it feels pleasantly cool, it's
probably insulated. If it feels cold, it's probably not.
Or you could try measuring the temperature of the slab with an IR thermometer.
I'd expect it to be noticeably above 60 deg F if it's insulated, but that's
just a guess.
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
That is funny. It would take a pretty well calibrated set of feet to
tell the difference in ten minutes for a standard 4" thick slab.
This won't work either as there are too many uncontrolled variables.
You are looking for a rate of heat transfer, not an absolute
temperature. Depending on the ambience temps in the basement, a slab
could be at 60 F whether it is insulated or uninsulated. If you knew of
a slab nearby that was insulated and one that wasn't, you might be able
to heat a spot on both and watch the cool down rate with an IR camera
and compare them to your slab. But that is a lot more work than finding
the original building or drilling a 1/2" hole and seeing if you hit
foam. A core bore would give you a more accurate sample, but a simple
drilled hole would tell you if foam was there, but it would be harder to
get the exact thickness.
Radiant floor heat works by "radiating" the heat into the living space. The
more surface area, the better. When the tubing is placed within the
concrete, the entire slab becomes the radiator. Otherwise, you'll most
likely need the aluminum plates to take the heat from the PEX and radiate
it into the room. I doubt you would get enough heat from the bare tubes to
If you insist on hydronic floor heat, there are companies that make panels
with the aluminum plates and tubing channels ready to go. One source is:
If you really want radiant, you might want to consider electric radiant.
Very low profile, and easy to add as a retrofit. The warmzone site above
also offers some of those too.
Of course, the simplest option would be to add in-wall electric heaters
like those made by Cadet or King Electric. We heat our entire house using
King Electrics "Pic-A-Watt" heaters. They're quiet, efficient, and we can
zone each room for only the heat we need.
There may be, but I'm not aware of any way other than core boring the
slab in a non conspicuous location. Locating the builder would be the
easiest way. It seems the municipality should have building permit
records that might tell who the builder was.
It will work fine. It is best to use as thin a pad as possible and the
pad and carpet will lower the efficiency a little, but it will still
work fine. Check out some of the folks that sell these systems for more
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