A radiant heater is a special type of heating system that can be fitted under the floor. This creates a very efficient type of heating system.
There are two different types of radiant heater: electrical and water systems. A water-based radiant heater system works by using your existing hot water boiler to pump water through a series of under-floor pipes.
Step 1 - Choosing Your Heater
The first thing that you will need to do is choose the type of radiant heater to use for your house. If you are interested in connecting this to an existing boiler then you will only be able to use the water-based systems. Electrical radiant heaters are cheaper and easier to fit, although they are more expensive to run. Water radiant heaters use the water in your existing hot water boiler to heat your room. These are much cheaper to run, although they are more difficult to install.
Step 2 - Laying the Pipes
Once you have decided on the type of system you need and brought the right kit you will have to lay the pipes around your floor. The pipes need to be fitted into the crawl space between the floorboards. Follow the manufacturers guidelines to ensure that the pipes are fitted properly. The radiant heater pipes are flexible and can be bent into the shape required. These pipes will form a large underfloor radiator that will heat the room from the ground up. Normally, the underfloor heating kits will come with clips to fix the pipes onto the floor.
Step 3 - Connecting the Pipes
Now you need to connect the pipes to existing pipes from your hot water heater. If you are replacing a conventional radiator with a underfloor heater you may be able to use the same pipes, if you design the radiant heater carefully. The pipes need to be connected according to the manufactures instructions. These will either be compression or snap fittings. If they use the newer snap fittings then you will simply have to push the pipe inside where it will form a bond. A compression fitting, on the other hand, is more difficult. You have to tighten a nut after inserting the pipe.
Follow the instructions carefully when connecting the pipes together to try to minimize the chances of suffering from leaks and other forms of damage.
Step 4 - Testing the System
Once you have connected the pipes together you will need to test the system out. Pay special attention to any leaks, as these will need repairing very quickly. Leaks are most commonly experienced around the joints between the pipes. Any leaks can be very damaging to your flooring material and decor. When you are convinced the system works properly and doesn't leak, you will then be able to finish the floor by replacing the original flooring material.