Contractor Jeffrey Campbell of Steamboat Springs, Colo., is out to dispel a big home heating myth.
The myth goes like this: In-floor radiant heating systems aren’t suited for climates with cool nights and warm days. The system is too slow to respond to rapidly changing temperatures.
Campbell says it’s time to lay this myth to rest, and he should know: The heating contractor owns and operates Simply Radiant Heating, a 20-year-old company specializing in radiant heating solutions for high-end custom homes. Campbell has no website and barely markets. He depends solely on word of mouth—and business is very good.
Campbell understands why the myth may persist. “Slab radiant systems are good at absorbing heat, not so good at cooling. Temperature swings in this area can be extreme. A heating system that’s slow to react means an uncomfortable house,” Campbell says.
How does Simply Radiant Heating thrive in a tough climate? Campbell cites two reasons.
“If I could do it all over again, I’d call my business ‘Comfort Solutions.’ Comfort is priceless. That’s why I only install a performance system that provides the most even surface temperature. My clients are sometimes in awe of how their house is always the same temperature, even with a 20-foot tall cathedral ceiling and glass walls. Radiant heat is warmest close to the floor, where we live,” Campbell says.
And the other reason? “Warmboard,” he says simply.
“Some pros still install a staple-up system or heat transfer plates. They’re low-performance solutions. Warmboard is the BMW of heating systems, the crème de la crème. I’ve installed their heating system in 1,000-square-foot homes and 20,000-square-foot homes. It’s the only way I do radiant,” he explains.
Campbell says next-generation radiant heating systems deliver benefits that may surprise architects, builders, heating contractors, and installers for several reasons:
- Fast Response Time. A hydronic heat source monitors and rapidly reacts to changing outside temperatures, according to Campbell. “The best in-floor radiant systems react and perform just as fast as the heat source. It becomes a truly integrated, rapid-response heat system,” he says. Traditional forced-air heat systems also offer responsiveness. However, that immediacy comes at the price of dust, noise, ducts, and cold spots throughout the house. Next-generation in-floor radiant heat systems automatically respond to changing conditions without forced-air system issues.
- Documentation. “A top radiant heat company should be expected to furnish comprehensive documentation of the project. That’s not typical in this industry, especially with traditional hydronic systems. Detailed documentation of the system specs and layout is valuable to the homeowner and any future contractor,” Campbell says.
- Structural Subfloor. The panels double as the structural subfloor, simplifying installation. What’s more, the panels can be quickly customized on-the-fly with a router. “I work in a lot of high-end homes. Things change all the time. With a router I can customize a radiant panel to fit changing layout requirements.”
- Installation Blueprint. Campbell says the radiant system he uses comes with a layout and labeled panels detailing exactly where each panel installs, eliminating guesswork and considerable on-site adjustments. “You have a roadmap. It’s not hard to install,” he says.
- Outdoor Exposure Resilience. “I worked on a 20,000-square-foot home that took three years to build. It wintered two years in the open. I just broom-off a Warmboard panel. They’re more durable than a traditional subfloor,” Campbell says.
To every architect, builder or contractor that believes “radiant won’t work here,” Jeffrey Campbell begs to differ with the owners and projects to prove it.
Discover how radiant heating systems can help architects, builders, and flooring contractors deliver a more comfortable and responsive heating solution.