Radiant Floor Heating: Increased Customer Satisfaction Adds Sizzle to a Custom Builder’s Business

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“Different is not complicated. You can’t allow yourself to be afraid of it. There’s nothing scary about radiant floor heating. Get over the old and jump into the new.”

— Chris Meinhart



[IMAGE: PEX piping is easily uncoiled and quickly embedded in the floor.] Chris Meinhart was attracted to radiant floor heating because of its ability to easily heat large open spaces, especially those with high ceilings.

Although radiant floor heating can be used in any room in the house, it is especially popular in rooms with tile and concrete floor finishes, which easily store heat.

“I use radiant floor systems to heat rooms such as foyers, master baths, basements, and garages where heating an uncontained space would be inefficient or almost impossible with a traditional forced-air system,” Meinhart says. “Given the size of many of the rooms that I build, it’s been difficult to manage and control temperatures. With radiant heat, you warm surfaces rather than having to circulate high volumes of air. It’s been a perfect solution.”

Radiant floor heating systems are becoming increasingly popular due to their efficiency and added comfort. Rather than experiencing the feeling of hot, dry air being blown through a room, customers instead get even, consistent heat without stuffiness.

“In my own home, I have installed a radiant heating system in the basement, which I love because it actually keeps the floor dry. You can stay warm while maintaining a certain amount of crispness in the air. It’s also great for large rooms that are hard to heat, and for rooms with cathedral ceilings because the heat doesn’t get lost 15 feet up. It also cuts your heating load significantly, which saves money on energy bills.”

Radiant floor heating is also quieter and less drafty than conventional systems because there are no heat registers or radiators. Because they don’t force air through ducts or registers, radiant systems are ideal for customers sensitive to airborne allergens. Households with radiant floor heating host 50 to 80 percent fewer dust mites, according to the Association for Applied and Experimental Research of Allergies.


“Radiant floors are more popular in custom homes right now, but I would love to see more track builders adopt them,” Meinhart says. “Unfortunately, many are reluctant to abandon forced air systems. For them, it’s a journey into the unknown–but you know, sometimes that’s what it takes.” Meinhart first learned how to install radiant heating systems from an experienced HVAC contractor.

[IMAGE: This radiant heating system uses PEX piping to transport water for heating.] “He had already installed several of these systems so he was happy to walk me through the process. The installation is actually the easiest part.”

“In large rooms, the biggest challenge is learning how to incorporate and coordinate multiple systems with different heating sources and circulators, but even that can be overcome through hands-on experience, just like any other trade. First-time users should start with smaller projects. Don’t attempt to install the systems on multiple levels of the house. Use it on something like a basement so you can learn how it works and what the challenges are.”

“Beyond that, don’t be afraid to call in an experienced HVAC professional to help you with the project. Some manufacturers of the systems even offer technical support to new users. Now I’ve worked out the kinks in the system and it’s second nature to me. I have used radiant floor heating in four of my projects. You build a house one brick at a time. The same is true with learning how to install a heated floor system.”


“My marketing is mainly word-of-mouth,” says Meinhart. “I cultivate new customers through the recommendations of former ones. Radiant floor heating adds value to my homes by making them more comfortable, which is a huge draw for potential customers. It also helps in my sales meetings with potential clients because it adds to the image of quality that I try to bring to the table.”

“Radiant systems aren’t appropriate if the floor is covered with a thick carpet, or in climates that only require heating systems a couple of months of the year. But for projects where I feel it would be appropriate, no customer has ever turned it down.”

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