radiant heating

Radiant Heating Vs Forced Air

Are you building a new home or remodeling your current house? One of the most important decisions you will have to make is how you will keep the rooms warm. 

Many homeowners choose either radiant floor heating or a forced air system. Finding the proper cooling and heating system for your home is critical to ensure you get the best comfort in your house. 

Also, since it’s an expensive project, you don’t want to invest your money in a system that will disappoint you later. Whether you’re trying to save on energy bills or improve comfort, you’ll want to install a system that meets your heating goals.

But how do you choose between these two heating system options – radiant heat vs forced air? How will they work differently in your living space?

Let’s evaluate each system and see how they compare. 

Radiant heat

Radiant heating is a heat distribution method, not a heat source. It transfers heat from hot surfaces (usually floors, walls, or ceilings of a room) to the objects and people within that room. A good example of radiant heating is the warmth you feel when sitting near a hot stove or a space heater.

Radiant floor heating is when the system is installed under the floor, and this is the most common heating installation for most homes. Radiant heating usually uses electricity, heated air, or heated water to heat the floor, wall, or ceiling panels. From here, infrared radiation heats the entire room.

These systems have benefits and drawbacks. To get a clear distinction between radiant heat vs forced air heating systems, we must look at the pros and cons of each.  

Radiant heat vs Forced Air: Pros of Radiant Heating

1. Cost-effective

This heating model is an effective option for those who want to save money on their heating bills while still remaining comfortable in their home. It works by radiating heat from the floor or wall panels to easily warm objects and people in a room.

The process is quite efficient, making radiant heating one of the most cost-effective heating systems. Therefore, if you are looking for a system that saves you money on energy bills, radiant heating is the system for you.  

2. Maintains a constant temperature

The radiant floor heating method is well-known for its ability to maintain a consistent temperature inside a room. Because it maintains heat throughout the day and utilizes it at night, even if the electricity goes out, you’ll still have residual warmth for a long time.

3. Safe to use

Users no longer have to fear touching and burning themselves on heaters or coming into contact with hot surfaces. The radiant floor heating system is tucked safely away, which means it’s not likely to cause burns. This is especially helpful for homeowners with small children or pets. 

4. Design freedom

While forced air units take up more space outside, radiant heating takes up no wall space. The heaters are hidden beneath the floors, so they do not affect the layout of your living space.

Also, because there are no radiators, you can decorate the walls however you want. It is also worth noting that this system is compatible with all flooring types.

Cons of Radiant Heating

1. Inability to cool

Radiant floor heating is ineffective when it comes to cooling your house. As such, your home may require an additional system when the hot summer days come. 

2. Radiant heat cost vs Forced Air: High installation cost

Although it costs less to use, radiant heat is more expensive to install. So, unless you’re building a new house or planning to renovate, you will have to replace the current flooring or walls just to set up the heaters. This can be costly. Remember, you will need a professional mason to remove and replace the floor and a skilled HVAC expert to install the unit.

Forced Air 

Forced air units are generally ducted HVAC systems or ductless split systems. In many homes, ducted systems have an outside system, an interconnecting freon line, and a furnace that produces heat using electricity or gas. The heat is distributed throughout the rooms via ductwork and delivered using the ceiling or floor vents.

As the name indicates, the ductless split system does not have ducts but instead has an indoor and outdoor unit. A fan circulates the heat produced by an inside unit throughout the room.

Forced Air vs Radiant heat: Pros of Forced Air Heating

When comparing forced air vs radiant heat systems, here is what makes a forced air system unique. 

1. Easy to install

When considering radiant vs forced air heating, forced air systems have a simpler installation process. Installing a radiant heating system may require you to tear up your floors, whereas forced air heating works perfectly with the units you have at your home. The installation process will be even faster if you already have existing ductwork.

2. Energy-efficient

The efficiency of the heating system is a significant consideration. Forced-air systems use less energy, and they heat homes efficiently and quickly. Heating efficiency, however, varies according to furnace type. For instance, electric furnaces are more energy efficient than gas furnaces.

But, while forced air systems are quite efficient, radiant heating systems are even more efficient.

3. Cleaner indoor air

A forced-air heating system also cleans the air inside your house as long as the furnace filters are maintained. As the air circulates throughout the house, allergens, airborne particles, and dust get caught in the filter. Replacing filters, therefore, is essential, and the ducts must also be free of buildup.

4. Heats quickly

Do you want a heating system that quickly heats your home during cold seasons? The forced air system is commonly known for its efficient and quick heating capabilities compared to radiant heating.

Forced air systems use a variety of fuel sources that burn extremely hot, so you’ll have heated air almost instantly. The air is warmed immediately and then pumped into your home via ductwork.

Cons of forced air heating

1. Noise

Forced air heating produces a noise when it’s on. Whenever the fan starts blowing the air via the ducts, it makes some noise. The noise produced will depend on how much air your fan operates with, how difficult it is for the fan to push the air via the ducts, or how quickly the fan blades keep moving.

2. Ductwork inefficiencies

Ductwork is essential for a functioning forced air heating system. Subsequently, cleaning them regularly should be a priority. Allergens, dust, mildew, mold, and other pollutants can accumulate and circulate throughout your home, causing health issues.

This is a major difference between radiant floor heating vs forced air heating, as the first system isn’t affected by ductwork issues – it has none. 

Conclusion – Radiant heating vs forced air 

When choosing a heating system for your home, consider the cost in addition to your needs. 

If you’re unsure which system is right for your home, contact us to schedule an appointment today, and one of our professionals can help you decide which system will best suit your needs. 

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