There are many types of radiant underfloor heating systems which are easy to install without having your flooring raised. These heating systems are fitted underneath any type of flooring to keep it nice and warm.
Radiant flooring technology means that you don't need to rely on using a traditional furnace to heat a house. There are many radiant flooring systems which can be installed over the top of your existing floor without significantly raising the height of the floor.
Choosing the Type of Radiant Heating
There are two main types of radiant flooring, hydro and electric, and you will need to make sure you're choosing the right type. Hydro radiant heating systems work in a similar way to radiators, using a series of pipes like a large underfloor radiator. The advantage of these is that they are cheaper to run and can often be run off your existing hot water heater.
Electric radiant heat systems are more expensive to run but they are much cheaper to install. Mats of wires are placed under the flooring. These are also smaller units which will make fitting them under the floor much easier.
Cementing the Systems
The water and electric radiant heating systems can actually be cemented directly into the slab of the floor, which has the advantage of not changing the floor level at all. However, this is only normally possible to do during construction of a new house. The process of removing and replacing a concrete slab is a very expensive process which normally makes it unsuitable for houses which are already built.
These systems can be installed in a layer under current flooring. However, they will raise the floor several inches to allow the passage of the water pipes. This is manageable in homes with high ceilings, but can be intolerable in homes where the ceilings are already at the legal minimums.
If you don't want to increase the height of the floor in your home then the best way of using radiant heating is to use electric radiant heaters. Electric radiant heaters are made up of a blanket of lots of small wires which resemble an electric blanket. Electric systems can be fitted into the crawl space or under the flooring. The latter is especially easy to set up with carpeting.
Installing in a Crawl Space
Placing the electric heater in the crawl space will not be as efficient as if it is mounted under the floor itself. However, is the only option if you don't want to disturb the current floor covering.
Whether installing an hydro or electric heater in a crawl space, be sure to insulate everything properly. Otherwise, much of the radiant heat will be lost to the crawl space air and to outside rather than warming your home.
Installing Under Flooring
If there's no crawl space in your room then it's possible to lay the radiant flooring systems under the flooring. This will involve removing the existing floor, laying down the radiant flooring heating system and then replacing the floor. The original floor can either be replaced with new flooring, or the original floor can be laid down again depending on whether or not it was damaged.