The traditional method of heating a home involves a series of fans, ducts, and vents to supply heated air to various rooms inside the home. This is called a forced-air system, and while this type of system is better than nothing at all there are much more energy-efficient and cost-effective options out there. One of those options is radiant heat, which is a great way to heat your home evenly and reduce wasted energy. Below we are going to talk about what radiant heating is and a few of the different systems that are available to homeowners like you.
What is Radiant Heating?
Radiant heating is a system that supplies heat to a home from the floor, walls, or ceiling using heating elements that deliver heat directly from the surface by way of infrared radiation. A smaller example of infrared radiation you may be more familiar with is a toaster, which uses coils and infrared radiation to cook food. Radiant heating has a number of advantages over forced-air heating systems and baseboard heating systems because it is unseen, energy-efficient and keeps the air much cleaner inside your home.
Radiant Floor Heating
By far the most common type of radiant heat systems you are going to find installed in homes is radiant floor heat. In the category of radiant floor heat, there are three types of systems which are air-heated radiant floors, hot water, and electric. From those three types, there are various installation methods involving concrete, plywood, and other materials but for the sake of simplicity, we are going to focus primarily on the type of heating system itself.
Air-Heated Radiant Flooring
Using an air heated system is not as common as the two other types of radiant heat simply because air does not hold very much heat. For this reason, the heating system is constantly exchanging heated air which starts to drive energy costs up. That being said, an air heated system is still going to be more energy efficient in the long run that a traditional forced-air system. There are also options that use solar panels on the roof to supply electricity to the system.
Electric Radiant Flooring
This type of radiant flooring used a series of electric cables that are built directly into the floor. When an electric system is installed while the home is being built, great care goes into selecting the flooring. The type of flooring that is used will directly impact the effectiveness of the system. Electric radiant heat systems that are installed in a thick concrete slab will be much more effective because the concrete is able to capture and hold that heat for a number of hours without the need for additional input from the cables.
Hydronic Radiant Flooring
Hydronic as you may have already guessed uses hot water from a boiler that flows through a series of tubes built into the flooring. This is the most popular type of radiant heating system as well as the most cost-effective for areas where heating is required for much of the year. Hydronic systems are also easier to control by way of a thermostat because you can concentrate the use of hot water to specific high traffic zones throughout your home.
If you have been thinking about adding a Radiant Heating system into your home, we are here to help. Contact us anytime to get your questions answered or schedule a consultation to have a system installed.
Radiant Heating Frequently Asked Questions
Is It Expensive to Run Radiant Heat?
Radiant heat is a dream for many homeowners, but often, they don’t run radiant heat in their homes because of fears about the cost. So, let’s discuss the cost involved with running radiant heat. On average, you can expect to pay about $6 to $20 per square foot for under flooring radiant heat when putting it in your home. These prices typically include both the product itself and the insulation. There are two types of radiant heat most commonly used in residential homes: electric and hydronic. There are some other types, but these are the most common two.
Electric systems are mats that run on electricity that go underneath your floor. These systems are almost like a heated blanket. Hydronic systems use heated water to warm your floors. Consider these systems like a hot water bottle. Electric systems are usually cheaper to install than hydronic systems when it comes to costs as they are often a type of mat rather than water in pipes. Still, the daily operating cost can be more expensive. Water holds heat very well and doesn’t require as much energy to keep it warm over time in comparison.
One thing that some homeowners consider when determining whether or not to install radiant heat is putting it in a smaller space rather than the whole home. Some examples of this are installing it in the bathrooms or rooms that don’t get good airflow from the traditional forced-air furnace, as this can be a more cost-effective option. For instance, that garage turned into a workspace may be a good option.
How Long Doesn’t Radiant Heating Last?
A lot can go into putting in radiant heating, from the cost to the installation process, and one of the biggest questions can be how long does it last. No one wants to go through the hassle of having their ceiling replaced or floors pulled up for radiant heating, even when replacing their old flooring at the same time, if the product’s lifespan is too short to make it worth their while. The truth of the matter is that while radiant heating flooring systems won’t last forever, they do have a relatively long lifespan, especially when you compare them to the lifespan of your more traditional forced-air furnace.
Most furnaces will have a lifespan of about 10 to 25 years or so, depending on how it’s maintained and used. On average, the lifespan of a radiant heating system is expected to be about 30 to 45 years. In fact, many of these systems have at least a 25-year warranty on them. That being said, some components may not last this long, such as the water pump needed for hydronic systems, and could need to be repaired or replaced earlier than the rest of the system. In many cases, the lifespan of radiant heating makes it well worth considering.
We’ve Got Allergies. Can A Radiant Floor System Help?
It may surprise you to find out, but a radiant floor heating system can be very beneficial for people with allergies and other upper respiratory issues. A traditional forced-air furnace works by directing heated air through your home’s ducts and out the vents. Any dust, dirt, and debris lying in your ducts or around the vents can then be blown through your home every time the heat kicks on. As a result, poor indoor air quality can exacerbate existing health conditions, such as allergies and asthma. Heating your home through a convection system like a radiant floor means that you’ll no longer have this potentially dirty heated air circulating your home and aggravating you and your family’s lungs.
In addition, many people that choose to go with a radiant floor system prefer to get rid of the carpeting in their home. One of the reasons people like carpeting is that it helps keep the floor warm for your feet on cold days. Carpeting is no longer necessary with a system that heats your home through the floor. Carpet is another area where dust and dirt can hide in your home and create indoor air pollution problems. When you install radiant heat flooring, removing it can also improve your air quality.
Is Radiant Heating the Best Product For Me?
It can be hard to determine if trying something that seems outside of your experiences is right for you. Most individuals are used to forced-air heating systems and are unfamiliar with radiant heating. The question of whether or not radiant heating is the best product for you boils down to what it provides over traditional heating systems.
Radiant heating is an excellent choice when you’re looking for heating options that are affordable every month. Since this heating option is more efficient than traditional heating, your monthly bills are often less than they would be with forced-air heating. Also, since it’s more efficient, you can help to reduce your carbon footprint if you’re looking to be more green.
Another benefit of radiant heating is that it can help keep your home cleaner. Allergy sufferers, individuals with asthma, and other health conditions need to have good indoor air quality to protect their health. Getting rid of forced-air heating means that the dust and other debris that are forced through your heating system and get blown into the air are eliminated. It can be a massive reduction in poor air quality that you may not even realize. Plus, many times, the whole reason you have carpet in your home is to help keep your floors warm. Your floors will remain warm with radiant heating, and the carpeting is no longer needed. Removing your carpet can further reduce the amount of dust and debris built up in your home.
What Are the Pros and Cons Of Radiant Heat?
Radiant heating can be an excellent choice for your home. However, it’s always a good idea to not only focus on the good things that come from something you’re considering but also any potential negatives. There are certainly some pros and cons when it comes to radiant heat. So let’s create a breakdown for you:
Very efficient heating system.
It provides very uniform heat to your home where it’s installed.
Radiant heating is quiet compared to forced-air systems.
It doesn’t have much heat loss compared to traditional forced-air heating systems
Has a few options to find the right one for your home and needs.
Improves the indoor air quality of your home.
Eliminates the need for carpeting.
After installation costs, it is a very affordable heating system.
Radiant heat has an extended warranty compared to many other systems.
It also has a tremendous expected lifespan when compared to traditional heating systems.
It can be expensive to have installed.
Flooring will often need to be replaced for installation.
It may require a more extended installation period similar to a remodel rather than an easy install.
This installation can result in your floor height being increased.
It may be harder to repair if something goes wrong during its lifespan.
Weighing these pros and cons can help you decide whether or not radiant heating is suitable for you and your home.
Jolly Plumbing is your local plumbing and heating company. We promise to offer you upstanding customer service, experienced workers, and a job done right the first time. We offer affordable plumbing services to both residential and commercial sites, so no matter the size of your job, we can handle it. Contact Jolly Plumbing today at 719-473-8545 for any of your plumbing problems.