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The Origins of Radiant Floor Heating

2016-01-29

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Due to its energy-efficiency, effectiveness and affordability, floor heating has become more and more common in homes across the U.S. and Canada. While heated floors have recently gained widespread popularity, they are by no means a new concept. In fact, the origins of the heated floor date all the back to ancient Rome, as well as ancient China and Korea. Let's take a look at the origins of heated floors and see how they've evolved over time.

Ancient China and Korea
While many historians accredit the first heated floor to the Romans, others attribute its initial development to ancient China and Korea. There's evidence that suggests the first heated floor was used there as early as 5,000 B.C. The Chinese developed a floor heating system called dikang (meaning heated floor), which was an elevated heated surface used for living and sleeping. Dikang was heated by displacing hot gas from the fireplace through a series of flues constructed in the masonry located below, causing the heat to warm up the space above.

The Koreans developed a similar system, which later became known as ondol (meaning warm stone). Ondol sent heat and smoke from the kitchen through a network of underground flues that heated the stones underneath the floor to radiate heat into the room above. Though modified and perfected over the years, heated floors never lost popularity in China and Korea and still remains the heating method of choice there today.

Ancient Rome
As radiant heat technology continued to be developed and advanced in Korea and China, the Romans created their own system, called the hypocaust, around the third century B.C. The hypocaust consisted of ducts allowing hot air and smoke from the kitchen and fireplace to move underneath an intricate raised flooring system comprised of a layer of tile, followed by a layer of concrete and another tile layer. Gaps were formed between each layer to allow gas to travel through to warm up the floor above, and gaps were left in the walls for ventilation. Unlike in Asia, hypocausts lost popularity after the fall of the Roman Empire and were replaced by other heating methods.

Modern Day
While today's heated floor systems are far more advanced than in the past, their primary function and purpose remains the same— to use radiant heat transfer to efficiently warm up the objects and people in a room. A primary difference between the past and modern day, however, is heated floors were formerly a luxury. Today, heated floors are more affordable and no longer viewed as a luxury, but rather a must-have home feature.

To take advantage of modern day's most efficient space heating method, contact us at ThermoSoft: 800.308.8057.

5 Energy-Efficient home Improvements to Help You Save Money in 2016

2016-01-25

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For many Americans, the New Year signifies a new start— a time to set goals and make the appropriate changes to improve your overall wellbeing. Among the most common New Year's resolutions is to spend less and save more, and one way to help you achieve this goal is by making energy-efficient improvements to your home. The average American family spends about $1,600 annually on their utility bills alone, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and with smart improvements you can put some of that money back into your wallet.

Here are some smart home improvements that will help you cut back your energy costs in 2016:

  1. Heated Floors. Though installing heated floors may seem costly up front, it's a smart home improvement that will soon pay for itself. Heated floors are the most efficient method of space heating, as they use radiant heat transfer to evenly distribute heat and warm up the people and objects in a room. Whereas other heating systems concentrate heat near the ceiling, heated floors supply heat where you need it most, allowing you to feel more comfortable with your thermostat set to a lower temperature— resulting in significant energy and cost savings.
  2. Programmable Thermostat. A programmable thermostat is another smart improvement that will help you reduce your energy costs. With this device, you can set your house to a warmer or cooler temperature when you are not home. When used properly, a programmable thermostat can save users up to $150 a year.
  3. Insulation. Insulating your home with a quality insulation product will save money and energy on heating and cooling. Start by making sure your attic is properly insulated. Also seal any holes in your home's exterior walls (i.e. windows and doors), and wrap the hot water heater and any exposed pipes in insulation. Sealing air leaks and adding insulation can reduce your energy bill by up to 30%.
  4. Low-flow Fixtures. Along with saving water, installing low-flow fixtures can save you a substantial amount of money. According to Energy Star, a low-flow shower head can save you up to $145 on energy per year.
  5. Energy-efficient Appliances. Old appliances use more water and energy that newer, energy-efficient appliances. ENERGY-STAR-qualified washers and refrigerators are approximately 20% more energy-efficient that standard models. For instance, an ENERGY-STAR-qualified dishwasher only uses approximately 5.8 gallons of water per cycle, whereas older models use more than 10 gallons per cycle.

By making these smart improvements to your home, you can save a significant amount of money and energy in the long-run, allowing yourself to spend less and save more.

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