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  • Writer's pictureC. Scott Learned MS, MBA, PE, LEED AP.

Radiant Floor Heating in Veterinary Facilities

Updated: Mar 27, 2023

Radiant floor heating is occasionally used in animal care facilities to temper kennel floors and some geriatric locations, but should never be used a primary source of heating. Many architects and radiant heating contractors are familiar with using this technology for residences and some low-density commercial spaces. An animal care facility has a number of considerations that are not conducive to radiant floor heating as a primary source.

Excessive Heating

Animal care facilities and veterinary hospitals have high heating loads, particularly in the northern climates. In states from the upper Midwest through New England, heating loads are typically three times those of equivalently sized residential or light commercial structures. This is primarily due to the high levels of outside air that are introduced for dilution.

Consequently, if floor heating were used solely as a source of heating, the temperature of the floor would have to be very high in order to add enough heat (Btu/hr/sq ft) to meet the heating demand. Consider that a radiator operates at 140 to 180°F. Yet floor temperatures above 70 to 80°F will put some dogs into thermal distress and the flooring cannot be operated as such a high temperature required for space heating. It is therefore appropriate to temper the floor to 70° , but in that case, the floor heating is contributing very little to the overall space heating of the building.

Copyright 2020 C. Scott Learned and Design Learned, Inc.

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