Floor Heating

On a trip to Portugal I visited the very nice 2000 year old Roman excavation at Conimbriga (a short drive from the university town of Coimbra). The heating systems in the villas at this site were in the form of an elaborate set of tunnels under the floors. Small fires would be made in these tunnels, thereby heating the mosaic tile floors. Similar heating systems can be found in other very old structures in Asia and the North American Southwest.

What an idea! Placing the heat in the lowest part of the room and allowing radiant heat to envelope the inhabitants of the structures! These ancient systems worked particularly well if you had a few slaves to keep the fires going...

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No slaves are required for today's floor heating systems, nor is there a need for tunnels under the floor. The heat is distributed through a set of electrical wires or pipes filled with warm water.

Modern floor heating systems take up very little space, and can be used in any type of construction. Unlike the old Roman systems they are not heavy, and don't require structural modifications to the home.

Floor heating places the heat in the very best location, it provides for even heat distribution, it is very clean. There are no heat registers, radiators or other heating system components to see. The heating system is in the floor. The floor surface can be tile, stone (marble), wood, vinyl, almost anything you like. Some systems don't allow for use with thick carpet. Some floor heating systems are designed for general heating purposes; other systems can be used to heat areas with special heating requirements such as bathrooms (Zone Heating).

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