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Watts Radiant | Floor Heating & Snow Melting

Fequently Asked Questions

What type of maintenance is required for my radiant heating system?

Most maintenance items center on the pumps and boilers. For the most part, the pumps used today are maintenance free. They use water to lubricate the bearings, which allow for a quieter and efficient life span. In general, these pumps have an estimated life span of 10 years. Most boiler installers will offer a yearly maintenance package, which includes cleaning and general up-keep. Different boiler types will require different maintenance.

What type of glycol should I use in my snow melt system?

An inhibited Propylene Glycol solution should be used. Make sure the glycol used is rated for hydronic radiant heating systems and not for automotive engines. Hydronic glycols are formulated differently for the metals seen in boilers, pumps and other system components.

How often should I check my glycol system?

Glycol systems should be checked at least once a year to ensure the system pH levels have not dropped below recommended levels. Glycol in general is acidic. The inhibitors that are added to them help neutralize the system pH, and help protect the system components. As the system ages, the inhibitors break down, causing the system pH to drop. At this point more inhibitors should be added to the radiant floor heating and snow melt systems. The system will reach a point where it will require a complete flush and re-fill. This is usually around 5-7 years, but will depend on the glycol used.

Can I use any kind of fuel source in my radiant heating system?

Any natural resource can be used to fire the heat source, natural gas, propane, electric, wood, geo-thermal, etc. It does not matter what the heat source is, as long as it can provide the necessary BTU's (energy) at the required design temperatures. There will be a variance between heat sources based on efficiency, response, cost and capacity. Choose the one that bests suites the needs of the heating system.

Can I air condition my home with a radiant floor heating system?

It is not advised to try to "air condition" a space with a radiant heating system. In theory a radiant floor can be used to cool a space. In order to lower the internal temperature of a space, the cooling surface has to drop in temperature. This lower temperature "pulls" the heat from the air and is then carried away through the liquid in the tubing below the floor.

Radiant floors can be used to help reduce the overall cooling load in a space. In most cases, an air component will still be required to remove moisture from the air, or to dehumidify the space. If sized correctly, a radiant floor cooling system can help reduce the overall operational cooling costs, while providing a more even internal air temperature.

I'm planning a large house with high ceilings and lots of windows. Is radiant floor heating practical?

High ceilings and "lots of windows" are one of the main reasons why radiant heat is chosen as a building heating system. Since hot air rises, in a forced air heating system all of the nice, usable heat is first sent to the ceiling. This may be anywhere from 10 to 20 feet up. By the time this air makes its way to your level, about 6-ft. off the ground, it has lost most of its energy and has started to get pushed down by the other hot air entering the room. If this air is cooler than when it entered, where did all of its heat go? Right out the ceiling.

Radiant heating works in just the opposite way. Since a radiant heat system stores its energy in the floor, all of the room's warmth is kept right where it needs to be, on the floor where you are. The ceiling in a radiant floor system is always much cooler than the floor area, just the way you would want it. This cooler ceiling temperature means less energy is being wasted to the outside. Less waste means higher efficiency.

Can my radiant system also melt snow and ice?

Snow melt systems are becoming more and more popular, especially in areas where nature conservation is important. Snow melt systems eliminate all of the other necessary chemicals and pollutants used today to keep areas free of ice and snow. No more salt to track indoors. No more uneven melting. Streams and rivers no longer get polluted with unnecessary additives.

Snow melt systems also protect your investment. Slabs last longer. Salt and other chemical additives will begin to break down the surface of a concrete slab over the years. For brick paver applications, snowmelt systems provide a certain amount of physical protection. Keep dangerous snow plows away and retain the beauty of your investment.

Please note: This FAQ document is designed to answer common questions. Refer to the product's installation manual or appropriate instructions and warnings regarding installation, use and maintenance.

Please note: This FAQ document is designed to answer common questions. Refer to the product's installation manual or appropriate instructions and warnings regarding installation, use and maintenance.

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