It’s winter in Minnesota and the forced-air system in my house is working overtime to try and keep me comfortable. The number of times I have scurried over to the thermostat in my slippers to turn up the heat only to see it reads 75°F happens all too often. I just return to my icy-leather couch, wrap myself up in a heated blanket and persuade my dog to come cuddle with me—not for companionship, but for his furry coat.  

It’s around this time that I start to doze off to daydream about my friend’s radiant floor heating in her bathroom. A couple times back in high school, I stayed overnight at her house and had the pleasure of taking a shower and getting ready in her cozy bathroom. I could wake up in shorts and a t-shirt and head straight to the bathroom without having to put additional layers on to simply brush my teeth. Ahhh, those were the days…I’m suddenly getting the urge to call her, for old time’s sake, to have a sleepover—not for her companionship, but for her radiant floors. (Are you sensing a theme in my life?)

Radiant floors work so well because the heat radiates up from the floor to warm people and objects. Because it distributes comfortable temperatures evenly throughout an area, there aren’t those pesky hot or cold spots. So in a forced-air system, my thermostat may read 75°F, but where I’m sitting on my couch may very well be 62°F. Radiant floors heat the areas where we live, not the area near your ceiling. 

Radiant is not a new concept. In fact, it dates all the way back to ancient Roman times. It is highly efficient and comfortable, but it hasn’t taken off in the North American market. We all love it, so why don’t we all have it?

If you find yourself asking the same question, check out the recent article from Steve Swanson, “Failure to Launch: The Story of Radiant Heating” in Contractor Magazine