In-Floor Water Radiant Heat Conversion Possibilities

tubes carrying in-floor hydronic heat

The in-floor water radiant heat system is best known to give the most comfort and natural heat that’s appropriate to the human body. The in-floor hot water tubing gives off heat by directly transferring heat from a hot surface to a colder one. In-floor system uses hydronic or hot water heated by a boiler as a fuel source of heat. Its biggest advantage—aside from comfort—is its ability to be energy efficient. Its disadvantages includes higher installation costs, slow heating cycle, difficulty in piping maintenance or repair, separate air conditioning duct for the cooling system.

Using Hot Water to Generate Heat

The hot water baseboard system is quite similar to the radiant heat in terms of using hot water heated by a boiler to generate heat either through radiation and convection. How does this system work? The water that’s heated by the boiler passes through the “fin-tube” baseboard unit which is mounted on the walls. This fin distributes and increases the heat which makes it more efficient.

Source of fuel may be natural gas, propane, oil or electricity. The advantage of this system is that its energy efficient, its quiet, and its close temperature control. The disadvantages include no obstruction in baseboard radiation to ensure the smoothness of its process, also it has a slow temperature increase, and it also separates air-conditioning duct for distribution of the cooling system.

Tying Floor Heating System with a Baseboard System

Now to answer the question above, it is indeed possible to turn a hot water baseboard heat into radiant in-floor heating. There are many ways to tie a small area of floor heating system with a baseboard system depending on the type of floor heating and the distribution of heat.

Another option is to install a “hybrid” which part radiant in-floor water radiant heat system and part hot water baseboard system. Thinking about having both of the baseboard and in-floor radiant system is quite interesting news.

Three-Way Thermostatic Mixing Valve

Other ways to convert your hot water baseboard heating system into an in-floor water radiant heat includes using of the 3-way thermostatic mixing valve. This is the simplest conversion method.

You just simply attached the 3-way thermostatic mixing valve to the in-floor radiant system to the source of hot water. It basically eliminates the intrusion between the in-floor radiation circulations against other circulators within the system.

There are pros and cons to this process wherein the temperature on either the baseboard or in-floor radiant system will fall and vice versa. Keep in mind that when you use a baseboard circuit as a source of heat supply for the in-floor radiant heat system meant that the floor will only generate heat once the baseboard loop circulates unlike the use of boiler as source. Sometimes its better to leave the in-floor system as an independent system.

Installation of Globe Valves

Another method is through installation of pair of globe valves or a single manually adjusted three-way valve and let the in-floor radiant system run the heating process independently instead. Other option can be to reroute the hot circulation of hot water through the baseboard system or you can use a panel radiator instead and let the circulation pass through a suspended tubing below the floor.