HVAC (floor heating elements)

There is no discussion in the HVAC System training that addresses floor heating using hot water. Is this because the technology is still considered new or is the training just not up to date?

They are pretty rare in my part of the country. Typically only installed in bathrooms as a “luxury specialty system” and is considered out of scope if it is not the only heating system provided. Ultimately, your question would be for the education department.

The premise for them is simple. Most of the piping is covered up or not visible. For those not familiar with the system, here is some information.

Radiant Heating | Department of Energy.

Mine as well. I have seen them only twice. Both were on draw inspections for ‘Owner/Builder’ loans. Both of the owners were retired engineers and were doing a lot of ‘outside of the box’ type of building.

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I know they are few and far between, but they still use the hot water system to heat so not sure if they would cover that under HVAC or plumbing. As it is right now it is in neither.

In my area, (Minnesota), it’s old technology.
Yes, hydronic in-floor heat is used in certain (large SF coverage) applications (garages, basements), but electric is more the norm in master bathrooms, etc…

The reason? LEAKS!

BTW… even though considered in the HVAC genre… it is generally the Plumbing industry that installs it.


Carpenters will also help install the floor grids for the tubing.


There certainly could be a course developed. Not a bad idea.


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I see radiant hydronic floor heat pretty consistently. I turn the system on, observe for signs of leakage, look over the boiler and get pictures of it and the data tags for the report. Look for any installation deficiencies just like you would on a water heater or boiler heating system. Then I usually get some thermal pictures of the floor after the tubing has heated up. With the thermal cam, you can note any areas that seem to be “underserved” or where it appears there could be a hidden leak, etc.

Here’s a recent one…