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Warm Floors Frequently Asked Questions


Floor Heating

What is hydronic radiant floor heating?

How does a hydronic radiant floor heating system work?

How long has hydronic radiant floor heating been used?

What type of equipment does a hydronic system require?

Is maintenance required with the Warm Floors Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating System?

What does CITO Products do?

What territory does CITO Products ship to?

Can a hydronic radiant floor heating system be installed in an existing house?

What is the advantage to use hydronic radiant floor heating with high ceilings?

Why is this a good heating system for someone with health problems?

 

 

Q-Panels


What are Q-Panels?

How many Q-Panels will be needed?

How far apart should the Q-Panels and the tubing run?

 

 

Heat Source


What is the best type of heater that can be used with a Warm Floors Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating System?

Is there a Warm Floors Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating System that provides domestic hot water?

Is a mechanical room needed with a Warm Floors Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating System?

Is a separate water heater needed with a Warm Floors Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating System?

Does the entire house need to be heated?

What is the difference between a "boiler" and a “hot water heater”?

Is the Warm Floors boiler safe?

Are solar panels available with a Warm Floors Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating System?

Are geothermal systems available with a Warm Floors Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating System?

 

 

Installation


Where can a contractor be found to install a Warm Floors Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating System properly?

How many Q-Panels will be needed?

Can a Warm Floors Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating System be installed just in the bathroom?

How much electricity does the Warm Floors Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating System require?

What are the structural requirements on an upper floor?

 

 

Tubing


What kind of tubing is recommended in a Warm Floors Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating System?

How much tubing will be needed?

How far apart should the tubing spacing be?

 

 

Cost


Compared to other systems, is a Warm Floors Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating System cost effective?

Can I have a quality hydronic radiant floor heating system at an affordable cost?

How much does the Warm Floors Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating System cost?

How much will the Warm Floors Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating System cost to operate?

 

 

Planning


How can I get a proposal?

Is there a charge for a proposal?

Is design service offered?

Can partial payments be made?

 

 

Ventilation


What type of ventilation is available with the Warm Floors Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating System?

 

 

Air Conditioning


Can the floor be cooled with cold water?

Does the Warm Floors Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating System work together with air conditioning?

 

 

Concerns


What if a tube breaks in the floor?

What can be done to prevent the tubing from freezing in the event of a power outage?

Does the Warm Floors Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating System create undesirable noise?

 

Construction


What construction method is best for floor heating?

 

 

Floor Coverings


What kind of flooring can be used with a Warm Floors Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating System?

 

 

Insulation


Do Warm Floors Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating Systems require insulation specifications?

What Insulation is needed on a slab on grade construction?

 

 

Water Treatment


What are the water treatment options for Warm Floors Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating Systems?

 

 


 

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Floor Heating

What is hydronic radiant floor heating?

The Warm Floors Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating System consists of plastic tubing laid within the floor circulating warm water to different zones, warming the floor surface.

 

How does a hydronic radiant floor heating system work?
With a Warm Floors Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating System, warm water is circulated through PEX tubing to each room or zone. Once the water is passed to each zone, the water cools and returns to the heat source, is reheated and then re-circulated. Separate temperatures can be controlled using a multi-zone controller. Water can transfer energy more compact and efficiently than air. A ½” tube can transport sufficient energy to heat an entire house. For details – please see the single zone controller.

 

How long has hydronic radiant floor heating been used?

Hydronic heating has been applied even during Roman times some 2500 years ago using clay pipes. Only in recent times, since approximately 1975, has it been practical to install low cost plastic tubing in the floor.

 

What type of equipment does a hydronic system require?

1.   A heat source.

2.   A fluid distribution (single or multiple zones).

3.   A zone controller with relay and thermostat.

 

Is maintenance required with the Warm Floors Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating System?

Very, very little or no maintenance is required.

 

What does CITO Products do?

CITO Products, Inc. is the manufacturer of Radiant Floor components and systems. CITO Product's objective is to design and build a high performance, affordable, simple, maintainable, and reliable Warm Floors Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating Systems.

 

What territory does CITO Products ship to?

We have set no territorial restriction in the application of Warm Floors Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating Systems. A chilly home in Florida is as desirable as a home in Canada to be in a comfortable temperature range.

 

Can a hydronic radiant floor heating system be installed in an existing house?

This needs to be evaluated on a case by case basis. Typically - if the ceiling in the basement is accessible – the Q-Panels can be installed for the floor above and a small supply and return lines can be connected to the heat source.

 

What is the advantage to use hydronic radiant floor heating with high ceilings?

Warm Floors Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating Systems are very effective with high ceilings and windows. Its inherent virtues have been very beneficial in this type of construction. Benefits like keeping the occupant comfortable and the cooler ceiling reduces the heating bill.

 

Why is this a good heating system for someone with health problems?

Because there are no heating ducts with a Warm Floors Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating System, there is reduced air movement  and less circulation of dust, odors and allergens. Without drying out the air, the system keeps moisture out, preventing mold and mildew development. There is no healthier or better heating system available than a Warm Floors Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating System. It will provide the warmth and comfort where the human body needs it.

 

 

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Q-Panels


What are Q-Panels?

Q-Panels are aluminium attachable radiating panels that snap onto the PEX tubing and then are stapled to the floor joist. The Q-Panels heat rapidly, promptly changing the room temperature as needed. See the Warm Floors Suspended Convection Floor with Q-Panels.

 

How many Q-Panels will be needed?

This is determined by the Heat Loss Calculation.

 

How far apart should the Q-Panels and the tubing run?

At a distance determined by the Heat Loss Calculation.

 

 

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Heat Source


What is the best type of heater that can be used with a Warm Floors Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating System?

Warm Floors Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating System may be used with any heat source, however the best performance can be obtained with the new high efficient high water heater where the flame is inside the water tank.

 

The heat source should have sealed combustion. Fresh air is drawn from the outside thus, does not use the oxygen from within the dwelling.

 

Natural gas is the most convenient followed by LP gas.

 

Any heat source may be used with Warm Floors Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating Systems, providing the temperature is limited to be within the system specification.

 

A heater best suited should have the following:

  • A stainless steel heat exchanger for long life and high performance

  • A sealed combustion – to avoid using the oxygen from within the dwelling

  • A high performance heat exchanger
    (the combustion heat inside the water tank)

  • A storage tank that provides stability and low temperature operation

  • A variable BTU output to compensate for a wide range of heating loads

  • A condensation drain line

Warm Floors has tested and evaluated some of the heaters available. See the Warm Floors Product Catalog.pdf

 

Is there a Warm Floors Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating System that provides domestic hot water?

Yes – see the Warm Floors Installation Manual.pdf

 

Is a mechanical room needed with a Warm Floors Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating System?

A mechanical room is a neat way to separate the rest of the useful space, however since the Warm Floors is very compact and is wall mounted a separate room is not needed.

 

Is a separate water heater needed with a Warm Floors Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating System?

A Warm Floors may be configured to provide the domestic hot water from a single heat source.

 

Does the entire house need to be heated?

Depending on the house design, it could have a single zone or a multi zone system. A Warm Floors single zone system consists of loop shut off valves that can be used to shut down or reduce the heating of an unused area. In a multi zone system the design consists up to 8 zones to control every zone individually. The choice depends on the application and control requirements.

 

What is the difference between a "boiler" and a “hot water heater”?

A boiler was used when steam was the preferred way to heat homes and larger buildings. This was when coal was cheap and the heater design and manufacturing was at its infancy. Plastic did not exist on the market so, the material of choice was cast iron and steel.

 

With the introduction of plastic, it is now possible to heat areas with lower temperatures thus making a boiler obsolete.

 

At lower temperatures any "heat maker" will perform more efficient thus making a "Water Heater" ideal for floor heating.

 

Is the Warm Floors boiler safe?

A boiler works under pressure and high temperatures, therefore, it is not recommended in a home. We have no need to “boil” anything. A Warm Floors Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating System works very efficiently at low temperatures (typically 88-140° F). It would be inefficient to heat the fluid to a high temperature just to be reduced to a lower temperature, such as the case of a "Boiler Installation."

 

Are solar panels available with a Warm Floors Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating System?

A solar heat source may be used as a supplement heat source. The success of this type of installation depends on many factors. We recommend that you work with your local solar expert.

 

Are geothermal systems available with a Warm Floors Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating System?

The Warm Floors can very successfully work with heat pumps and we recommend that you work with your local geothermal expert.

 

 

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Installation


Where can a contractor be found to install a Warm Floors Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating System properly?

With the information in the Warm Floors Installation Manual, any qualified heating contractor or technical person will be able to install a system successfully. All major components of a Warm Floors Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating System are pre-assembled by CITO Products, Inc. and are ready to be connected.

 

How many Q-Panels are needed?

This is determined by the heat loss calculation.

 

Can a Warm Floors Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating System be installed just in the bathroom?

Yes – however in a small area it may be more economical to install an electric system. A Warm Floors Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating System is economical when the whole house is heated from a single heat source.

 

How much electricity does the Warm Floors Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating System require?

In a Warm Floors installation, a 20 amp breaker is the most that is needed to provide the electric current to run. To run this system on an intermitted basis, the actual current is less than 5 amp from a 120 V outlet.

 

What are the structural requirements on an upper floor?

The upper floor tubing is installed in the ceiling below. The suspended convection floor is recommended. This installation is simple and cost effective. Q-Panels are attached onto the PEX tubing and then stapled to the floor joist.

 

Tubing


What kind of tubing is recommended in a Warm Floors Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating System?

Warm Floors recommends using a high quality PEX (Polyethylene) tubing that is designed specifically for hydronic floor heating. It is strong, flexible, light weight, and  freeze resistant. PEX tubing is long-lasting and is not affected by aggressive concrete additives or water conditions. The typical home uses ½” ID (5/8”OD) tubing and a commercial installation uses ¾”ID (7/8”OD) tubing.

 

How much tubing will be needed?

This will be determined by the heat loss calculation form.

 

 

How far apart should the tube spacing be?

This will be determined by the heat loss calculation form.

 

 

 

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Cost


Compared to other systems, is a Warm Floors Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating System cost effective?

Absolutely, Warm Floors Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating Systems were designed to be cost competitive with conventional systems.

 

Can I have a quality hydronic radiant floor heating system at an affordable cost?

Yes you can. With a proper design and installed system, all experimental and mystery costs can be eliminated.

 

How much does the Warm Floors Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating System cost?

The cost may range widely since the installation is depending on many factors, including the installation of domestic hot water.

 

How much will the Warm Floors Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating System cost to operate?

Compared to conventional hot air, radiators or baseboard heating the Warm Floors Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating System will always reduce the heating costs due to its inherent properly applied physics, providing the heat where you need it and not at the ceiling or out the chimney. A 30% - 40% reduction in costs can be expected.

 

 

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Planning


How can I get a proposal?

By completing our Quote Request form. A heat loss calculation and planning assistance will be provided to assure a successful installation.

 

Is there a charge for a proposal?

We do not charge for a ballpark proposal.

 

Is design service offered?

Yes, we offer design service for 12¢ a square foot typically.

 

Can partial payments be made?

We do not finance projects. Typically a project is initiated with a 50% down payment and the balance is due prior to shipping. FOB Watertown, WI.

 

 

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Ventilation


What type of ventilation is available with the Warm Floors Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating System?

The inherent leakage (infiltration) will account for a small amount of air exchange typically, 1/8 of the volume per hour on a well built home. If an additional ventilation is desired, an air to air heat recovery exchanger may be installed. This air exchanger is part of the heat loss calculation.

 

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Air Conditioning


Can the floor be cooled with cold water?

No. According to basic law of physics, cold air is heavier than warm air resulting cold floors and warm room temperatures, therefore cool air must be delivered from the ceiling to reduce the humidity. It's impossible to accomplish both with a single system and expect good performance.

 

Does the Warm Floors Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating System work together with air conditioning?

An air conditioning system may be controlled by the same thermostat, however, the function is to remove the excess moisture and cool the dwelling from above.

Since a typical heating system is designed to raise the temperature up to 100° F (20° below 0 to 80° above) and cool from 100° to 70° there is no way heating and cooling can efficiently work for both. There are numerous suppliers that provide small duct high velocity cooling systems that will do the cooling efficiently. The Unico System, Space Pak, Hi-Velocity Systems, or ECR Technologies, Inc.

 

 

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Concerns


What if a tube breaks in the floor?

With many miles of tubing installed in the past 25 years, not a single break has accrued. Should an accidental damage accrue, such as driving a nail into the tubing, this can easily be repaired with a coupling. The tubing will withstand an excess of 100 PSI at 180° F and is used in a typical installation at less than 10 PSI and less than 160° F.

 

What can be done to prevent the tubing from freezing in the event of a power outage?

If the dwelling is unattended in the winter for extended time periods, a glycol solution may be added or a stand by generator may be installed to provide electricity for the other appliances.

 

Does the Warm Floors Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating system create undesirable noise?

The circulation fluid flows at low velocity which makes it virtually noiseless in every part of the house.

 

The tubing suspended in the floor will expand and contract within the Q-Panel and performs without being noticed.

 

The heat source combustion fan is typically located in a separate room and will not be noticeable from anywhere in the house.

 

 

 

 

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Construction


What construction method is best for floor heating?

The best heat transfer, performance and stability is achieved with concrete and tile construction. Lower operating temperatures make it practical for solar and earth coupled heat pumps. However, a wood frame construction with plywood floors and carpeted floors can be efficiently heated with Q-Panels.

 

Ground Slab construction with perimeter insulation.

Ground Slab in basement with ground insulation.

Suspended concrete floor with mesh and concrete topping.

Wooden Joists with plywood decking and 2” lightweight concrete

Wooden Joists with plywood decking and carpet

 

 

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Floor Coverings


What kind of flooring can be used with a Warm Floors Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating System?

Any floor may be used with a Warm Floors Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating System, however the performance will greatly vary with the building material.

 

Tile is an excellent choice since the dense material provides a great heat conductor and retains the energy for extended time periods.
See www.tileusa.com

 

Concrete is an excellent – low cost choice and can be applied in many decorative colours and patterns.
See www.decorativeconcreteinstitute.com

 

Carpet is a good insulator and can be used efficiently in the center of the room with tile on the perimeter. This is a great way to achieve both objectives: a comfortable and efficient system.

See www.carpet-rug.com

 

Hardwood flooring pre-finished hardwood floors are a good choice however the  flooring is preferred from strips, not planks. The wood should have a low moisture content when installed.

See www.hardwoodcouncil.com

 

 

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Insulation


Do Warm Floors Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating Systems require insulation specifications?

A well insulated dwelling with good insulation provides temperature stability and lower operating costs, no matter what kind of heating system is used.

 

What insulation is needed on a slab on grade construction?

A slab on grade construction must be insulated to minimize the heat migration into the perimeter soil, unless you want to have the earliest tulips in the neighbourhood.

 

 

 

Water Treatment


Water treatment for the Warm Floors Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating Systems:

All floor heating systems are never contentiously heated. The water must be treated for algaecide or fungicide to avoid bacteria growth, regardless of type of heat source used.

 

For a dwelling that is continuously occupied

A Warm Floors Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating System may use a water treatment that will protect the system from any fungicide/algaecide.

 

For details please see the Installation Manual.

 

Water Frost protection
A Warm Floors Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating System may use frost solution that will protect the system from freezing. A mixture up to 50% providing protection as low as -20° F without any significant viscosity changes.

 

For details please see the Installation Manual.

 

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Last modified: 10/30/2008

   

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