Radiant Heating Systems FAQs

Interior Radiant Heating Systems

How does hydronic radiant heating and cooling compare to other types?

Hydronic systems are the most efficient, space saving, comprehensive, clean and comfortable systems for heating and cooling interior spaces and exterior surfaces. No other system type offers the same benefits in one system.

What is Hydronic?

Hydronic is a system of heating or cooling that transfers heat by a fluid (such as water or glycol) circulating in a closed system of pipes.

Does a radiant heat system cost less to operate than the alternatives?


Hydronic radiant systems will operate anywhere from 25% to 40% more efficiently than a typical HVAC system when an efficient air to water or water to water heat pump is the heating / cooling plant.

Does radiant heating have to be installed in the floor?


Tube and electric resistance wire-based systems typically are. A panel-based system that has very high output capability can be installed anywhere that is practical. Ceiling installations are preferred because they radiantly heat and cool the entire room, not just where the floor is exposed. They can also run at a temperature that meets the load vs being limited to what is comfortable underfoot.

What type of fuel is preferrable for a hydronic system?


With the advent of highly efficient heat pump technology and new building codes restricting the use of fossil fuels, electricity has become the preferred energy source. However, any type of boiler and chiller are appropriate choices as well.

Can I air condition or cool my home with a hydronic radiant system?


Therma-HEXX modular hydronic systems are designed to heat and cool any space or surface, inside or out. When in cooling mode, it is important to have a dehumidification system working in parallel to ensure that the cooled surfaces stay at 3 degrees above the dew point of the air in the structure. The dehumidification system can also be configured to provide fresh air using a heat recovery ventilation system (HRV). The ductwork for system is a fraction of that required for an HVAC system.

Where should the radiant system be installed?

The ceiling is preferrable.

If the system is a panel type system such as ThermaPANEL, a ceiling installation is preferable. In heating mode, radiant energy warms the occupants, and the tops of all surfaces in the room. The radiant energy is not obstructed by furniture, carpet, or other structures. The objects then conduct the energy to the air. In cooling mode, objects in the room radiate heat energy to the ceiling. Hot air in the room convectively rises to the ceiling where it is conducted to the cooling system. Occupants simply feel comfortable.

Does a radiant system take a long time to heat up from a cold start?

It depends on the type of system.

A ThermaPANEL system will heat up or cool down a surface faster than any other system as the panels typically cover most of the surface area for fast efficient heat exchange. When installed in ceilings, they bring the 5/8” drywall to the appropriate temperature much quicker than a system embedded in concrete or suspended beneath a plywood floor. This type of system reacts very quickly to thermostat adjustments.

Tube type radiant floor heat systems take an hour to a day to come up to full temperature. Before a radiant floor can emit energy (heat) into a space, it first must raise the floor temperature. Depending on the floor construction and the initial floor temperature, this start up time may vary from a few hours to a few days. Slab on grade floors with radiant tubes or electric resistance wire will take the longest because they heat the entire mass of the slab first. It can take hours for the system to react to thermostat changes.

Does a radiant heating or cooling system have any impact on air circulation or cleanliness?


Since the air is not carrying the heated or chilled air and is not being forced to move through the house through dirty ducts, less dust and mold is being distributed. This helps to keep allergies, diseases and contaminants to a minimum. Hydronic radiant systems that include cooling must have a dehumidifying system working in parallel to prevent condensation. This system also can provide fresh air to air heat exchange.

What type of construction is compatible with a ThermaPANEL system?


From framed homes to high-rises to industrial applications. Anywhere that heating or cooling is required Therma-HEXX engineers will engineer the appropriate installation.

Can I use ThermaPANEL in a commercial space?


The Therma-HEXX Strut suspension system is designed to provide a multitude of installation options.

By eliminating the conventional HVAC system ductwork, up to 18” of overhead plenum space can be saved in addition to the vertical space. This can save up to 20% of a buildings volume. What is that worth?!

Can ThermaPANEL be installed in a dropped or suspended ceiling system?


The 23.375” square profile is designed for the individual modular panels to be clipped into place over any type of dense ceiling tile such as PVC, metal – mesh, perforated or solid, or drywall in a 2 x2 or 2 x4 grid system.

How much usable volume will a ThermaPANEL system save vs an HVAC system in a high-rise building?


The plenum above the ceiling can be shortened from the typical 24”+ to 1.5” if needed. 18” can easily be removed and still allow for sprinkler piping, hydronic piping lighting and ventilation. Vertical space is greatly reduced by eliminating supply and return chases for large ducts. Entire floors required for HVAC equipment can be replaced with small mechanical rooms that would contain the heat pumps and other related equipment.

How much operating and maintenance costs will a ThermaPANEL system save vs an HVAC system in a high-rise building?

20-25% operating, 95% in maintenance.

How much more comfortable will occupants be with a four-pipe modular ThermaPANEL radiant heating and cooling system vs an HVAC system in a high-rise building?


Why is a four-pipe radiant heating and cooling system more comfortable vs an HVAC system in a high-rise building?


A four-pipe system has a circuit of hot water and one for cold water always circulating around the interior of a high-rise floor level. Individual valve stations at designated areas such as rooms, cubicle or open areas allow for a high degree of temperature control. An office on the north side may need heat while an office on the south side may need cooling. They can both be satisfied at the same time.

How does the first cost of a ThermaPANEL system compare to other types of HVAC systems?


When you calculate the savings realized from the space savings alone, there is no comparison.
When compared to a tube type system, ThermaPANEL will cost more for the components due to the value-added design, which adds cooling for free and does not require special floor treatments.

How is an interior ThermaPANEL system installed?

The entire system is designed and engineered by Therma-HEXX engineers. The panels are delivered in pre-configured rows along with a proprietary aluminum strut track that makes installation a simple task. They are typically installed in ceilings but can also be installed in or beneath floors. Wall installations are not encouraged due to the possibility of punctures from wall hangings.

Is glycol required for an interior hydronic system?

Only if freezing temperatures are to be expected in the structure such as vacation homes that may not be monitored or if the power is interrupted frequently.

Exterior Radiant Heating Systems

Can I snowmelt a paver driveway or patio?


A ThermaPANEL system is perfect for paver systems because they support the entire surface and require a very thin layer of sand between the panels and the pavers. This will eliminate any settling or rutting from repeated traffic such as those created from garage access. A ThermaPANEL system can be installed to heat a surface and or cool a surface. This provides the option for exterior comfort heating and cooling.

Can I snowmelt a permeable paver driveway or patio?


Permeable pavers allow water to drain to the ground beneath the paver area via joints between pavers being filled with ¼” gravel. Therma-HEXX has a permeable protective panel for systems that require a granular installation for effective permeability. This is the only snow melt system in the world designed specifically for segmented permeable pavements.

Can I snowmelt a framed deck?


Therma-HEXX engineers can provide framing details to make the installation of our system a breeze. Existing decks can also be provided with a customized refit system. Some decks may require a composite grate to allow for free form pavers to be installed over the ThermaPANEL system. We have not been challenged with a system that could not be configured.

Which types of decking materials can I use for snow melting?

Any solid material.

Stone, concrete, ceramic, Ipe, Cumaru, Teak or other hard wood, solid plastic composites such as TREX or TIMBERTECH

Can I snowmelt pavers that are mounted on pedestals?


Therma-HEXX was originally developed just for that purpose. The unique nature of pedestal mounted pavers means that in the past they were impossible to heat and cool. A Therma-HEXX system can do both while providing for the ease of installation and removal for future proofing the rooftop. Therma-HEXX specializes in making sure that every detail is considered when designing and manufacturing our systems to ensure an easy and drama free installation.

Can I snowmelt thick granite stairs or slabs?


ThermaPANEL units can emit enormous amounts of energy per square foot if needed. Due to the high output, they can come up to temperature quickly and then maintain a steady temperature. Other tube-based systems are incapable of handling this type of load.

What type of system is used to power a snowmelt system?

Hydronic or Electric

Electric, gas, oil or wood powered boilers or air to water and water to water (geothermal) heat pumps are the primary sources of heat for snow melting large areas. Electric systems utilize resistance wire to generate heat. They are very good for small areas, but too expensive to run for large areas.

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. The percentage of glycol is determined by the local conditions. Therma-HEXX engineers can help with determining the correct solution.

How often should I check my glycol system?

Glycol systems should be checked per the manufacturers recommendations.

How much energy does a typical snow melt system require?

150 Btu/sq ft / hr

This number can vary greatly depending on location, requirements and expectations.


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