How Radiant Heating Works
In a radiant floor heating system, warm water flows through flexible plastic tubing called PEX that is located underneath or within the floors. (PEX is an acronym for crosslinked polyethylene.) The PEX tubing carries the warm water into specific rooms or “zones” to effectively heat people and objects in every corner of the room.
In addition to the PEX tubing, the other main components in a radiant heating system include a heat source, pumps, manifolds and controls. The heat source in a hydronic radiant floor heating system is typically a boiler or a hot-water heater. However, other heat sources can be used, including highly energy-efficient sources such as geothermal and solar.
And because a radiant floor heating system is designed in zones, you have the luxury of changing temperatures for each room, depending on its use. This makes the system even more energy efficient because unoccupied or lower-use rooms (such as a guest bedroom or formal dining room) can be set to a lower temperature than rooms with greater use (like a kitchen, bathroom or basement).