A radiant system heats or cools an indoor space by circulating a fluid, generally a water/glycol mixture, through a network of PEX pipe. In a radiant heating application, a heat source (condensing boiler, geothermal heat pump, etc.) warms a fluid. A pump circulates the fluid through the heat source and out to the area you are heating. The warm fluid branches into many, smaller closed-loop circuits of PEX. The circuits of pipe are evenly spaced, hidden behind a finished surface. The network of PEX gently warms the room. As the fluid cools, it passes through the heat source again. A radiant cooling system uses a chilled water source and circulates cool water instead of warm water. There are two primary ways to install a radiant heating system with PEX: wet systems and dry systems.
Radiant installation methods
Wet installation methods
The majority of radiant heating and cooling systems consist of RAUPEX® pipe embedded in concrete. These are considered wet installation methods.
Structural concrete slabs
Used in residential or commercial projects where concrete is poured over and around the pipe, which is fastened to a structural wire mesh and/or rebar. This is the typical radiant heating and cooling installation.
Used in residential or commercial projects where a thin layer of gypsum concrete is poured over a structural slab or subfloor.
Dry installation methods
No need to pour concrete with these radiant systems, they consist of aluminum and wood panels with prefabricated grooves for the pipe. These are considered dry installation methods.
Above-floor panel systems
Used in residential or commercial projects on top of structural floors. These low-profile products allow you to install radiant in a space without pouring concrete. These systems are lightweight and still allow you to use a variety of floor coverings. Heat transfer panels fit tight construction schedules and install quickly using typical framing tools.
Generally, for residential projects where customers are adding a radiant system below a finished floor. No need to change anything with your existing floor coverings, because plates are placed between the joists from a crawl space or from the ceiling of the floor below.