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What is a Radiant Heating System?

Warming Your Home With Radiant Heating

If your furnace seems to always be on the fritz, or your indoor air tends to be dry and stuffy, you may be looking to change the way you heat your home. That said, one heating option that is rising in popularity is radiant heating.

This particular type of warming element supplies heat to panels under your floorboards or in your ceiling and walls. Read on to learn about how radiant heating works.

How Does Radiant Floor Heating Work?

With radiant heating, heat is delivered directly from flooring to the people and objects in the room through panels with infrared radiation. This sensation is similar to the warmth you feel emitting from a warm stovetop after use.

Different Types of Radiant Heating

There are three main types of radiant floor heat, which include:

Hydronic Radiant Heating

The most common and cost-effective of the radiant heating systems, hydronic heating pumps heated water from your home's boiler through tubing under the floor. This patterned tubing can be zoned, in different areas of the house, to regulate room temperatures independently.

Air-Heated Radiant Heating

This style of heating is not cost-effective, in residential spaces, and is rarely installed since air cannot hold a high amount of heat. In some instances, these systems can be combined with a solar air heating system — but according to the Department of Energy, the inefficiency of heating your home with a furnace outweighs the benefits of air radiant heating.

Electric Radiant Heating

This type of heating unit consists of electric cables, which are built into your floor. This is the most costly of the three options because it requires the most energy to be used. That said, electric radiant floor heating is recommended for homes where it would be impractical to extend a current heating system into a new space — or if used on a large area and thermal mass (such as a thick concrete floor).

Benefits of Radiant Floor Heating

  • More efficient. Floor heating runs at a temperature of 84 degrees, whereas traditional radiators need to be heated to around 149 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Improve indoor air quality. This style of radiant heating does not distribute allergens (such as forced air systems).

  • Uses less energy. Radiant floor heating uses less energy than other heating methods, helping to lower your utility bill.

  • Quiet to operate. Radiant heat does not use a blower (such as in a furnace).

  • Safe to run. There are no sharp or hot surfaces in radiant floor heating like there are in traditional methods (such as a radiator). This is because the heating elements are underground.

Radiant Floor Heating vs. Traditional Heating Methods

For most residential homes, there are three main types of heating: conductive heating, convection heating, and radiant heating.

Starting with conductive heating, think of it as putting your hand on a hot stove, accidentally: objects of different temperatures come into direct contact. Convection heating, on the other hand, requires a warm object to be placed in a fluid medium. Though they are not nearly as efficient, convection heaters warm enclosed spaces very well — which allows you to move around without feeling cold. Furthermore, they do take longer to heat your home, but they offer a long-term warming sensation.

As we mentioned earlier, radiant heating transmits heat in the area where the coils are placed. It differs from conduction and convection heat because it is directional heating, unaffected by the medium it travels through.

Think of this has a campfire: The heat from the fire radiants from the fire and keeps you warm. It also does not lose heat as it travels through the air; infrared waves make a straight line for your clothes, skin, and furniture, warming you up quickly.

The Downside of Radiant Floor Heating

The downside of radiant heating is that it can be costly to install and that you must be close to the heater to feel its warmth. The room you are in will feel cozy without cold spots or stuffiness, but radiant heat is focused — meaning it can't warm anything out of its reach.

Heating Repairs in Houston

At AirCon Service Company, our technicians can repair, replace, install, and service all types of residential and commercial furnace systems in Houston and the surrounding areas. We come prepared with the right equipment, materials, and tools to handle your every need.

No job is too big or small for our expert technicians. Our Houston heating services come with a "no surprises pricing guarantee," meaning you only pay the price you're quoted. Contact us today at (281) 823-8771 to set up an appointment.