Depending on the specific type of radiant heating system, it can be far more effective and energy efficient than heating with a furnace. In this article, we’ll explain all the different types of radiant heating and how they work.
Underfloor Radiant Heating
Underfloor radiant heating is one of the most popular heating options for new home construction. You can also install underfloor heating in an existing home. However, it only makes sense when renovating since the existing floor must be torn up. Underfloor heating is prevalent in bathroom remodels since it eliminates issues with cold floor tiles.
Underfloor heating is much more effective than having a forced-air heating system with a furnace. Furnaces only heat the air, which leads to the temperature fluctuating quite a bit. You often have issues with hot and cold spots with a forced-air system. Underfloor heating keeps the floors warm because heat continually radiates into the air to make it warmer. This system will also warm your furniture and walls and help keep the temperature more consistent throughout the room.
Electric Underfloor Heating
Electric underfloor radiant heating is typically the most popular choice when you’re just looking to heat the floors in one space like a bathroom or kitchen. This type of system uses electric cables or mats installed within a concrete floor or on top of a wooden subfloor. While electric underfloor heating produces lots of heat and is highly effective, it also uses enormous amounts of electricity.
Hydronic Underfloor Heating
Hydronic radiant heating systems use a gas or electric boiler that supplies hot water to a series of tubes underneath the floor. This type of system tends to be much more energy efficient and costs far less to operate than virtually any other heating option. Unless it is freezing, the boiler typically will only need to run sometimes. This is because the floor, furniture, and walls will absorb lots of heat, radiating out and keeping the air warm for long after the boiler shuts off. The one potential issue with this radiant heating is that it could start leaking. If the system leaks, the only way to fix it will be to tear up the floor in that area.
One significant advantage of hydronic radiant heating systems is that they are usually zoned systems. This means that you can set different temperatures for different rooms of the home or only heat specific zones as needed.
Radiant Wall and Ceiling Panels
Radiant wall and ceiling panels are installed within walls and ceilings. These panels typically use electric heating, but you can also get hydronic panels with a boiler. As with underfloor electric heating, electric wall and ceiling panels are expensive. As such, these panels are most commonly used for supplementing your heating as needed. For instance, you can turn the panels on when you enter the room, and they will fully heat the space in just a few minutes. You can then turn the panels off and rely on your standard heating system to maintain the temperature in that room.
Electric panels can also be a decent option if you’re putting an addition onto your home and it doesn’t make sense to extend your existing heating system into the new room. However, you’re typically better off installing a ductless mini-split in this situation, as it will use far less energy.
Older homes with radiant heating typically always have one or more hydronic radiators in each room, usually installed underneath windows. As with hydronic underfloor heating, a boiler supplies hot water or steam to each radiator through a series of pipes. Radiators are still quite effective but take much longer to heat the space fully than underfloor heating. Depending on the location of the radiators, you may also have issues with the parts of the room that are further away from the radiator being colder than the rest.
With over 60 years of experience, A To Z Dependable Services is the top choice for all your heating needs in Niles and the Mahoning Valley area. We install, service, and repair radiant and forced-air heating systems and specialize in air conditioning and plumbing services. For more information on your radiant heating options, call us today.