Radiant floor heating was invented by the Romans. They raised the floors up and placed wood furnaces under them. The furnaces kept the famous marble baths toasty warm. The technology got lost in time after the sack of Rome.
In Korea, radiant floor heat has been in use for about 2000 years. The original design used stones and underground ducts to move warm air fromt the kitchen to the rest of the house.
In Europe, radiant floor heat wasn’t rediscovered until British inventor A.H. Barker invented the radiant panel. The panel used pipes connected to a hot water heater under the floor, using the entire surface to generate heat. Again the concept got lost in the mist of time, this time because of WWI.
Later, Frank Lloyd Wright created gravity heat. Gravity heat was installed by placing coils of pipes under the concrete slab floor.
We may owe a debt to the Romans but today it’s a whole lot easier to recreate the Roman Bath experience. Radiant floor heat in modern times works by laying electrical wires under the floor surface. Most Flooring surfaces can be heated including tile, marble, hardwood slate, terrazzo and concrete. The electricity creates heat that warms the floor and surrounding air.
If you want radiant floor heat in your house, check out our information on installation.
photo credit: London Korean Links