Saturday, August 1, 2009

Forced Air Heat vs. Radiant Heat

By Jimmy Jeter

Radiant heat is loved by everyone once they encounter it for the first time. It is unfortunate that few houses are now built with this type of heat like they were in years past. Radiant heat is more expensive to put in a house than other kinds of heat and so builders usually install the cheaper kind. Forced air heating and cooling is what is most common now and if you want radiant heat you have to install it yourself.

Because forced air heating systems are cheaper, few builders build their houses with radiant heat. If you want that type of heat, it is best to buy a house that has not been built yet and put radiant heat in as one of the upgrades. You need to put the radiant heat underneath the floors of the whole house and this is really only practical as the house is under construction.

There are two kinds of radiant heat and they are very different systems. The first is hydronic and it is achieved by installing pipes beneath the floors that carry hot water back and forth that heats the floors. As you can imagine, this is a big undertaking because you are dealing with pipes and water and making sure nothing leaks. Hydronic heat is much easier to install in a house that is being built as opposed to one that has already been built.

This is why most people opt for electric radiant heat which is much easier to install and less risky for future problems. Of the two kinds of radiant heat, electric radiant heat is also the cheapest to install. Electric radiant heat works similarly to a toaster in that electricity heats up metal coils and transmits heat. This type of heat is installed in existing homes using pads that carry the wires which are put in under the floor.

The winter months can take a toll on a persons skin as the dry air is relentless and does daily damage as well as being uncomfortable. The forced air systems in many homes only make the situation worse as the warm dry air is circulated from room to room. Once you try radiant heat, you will immediately understand the different feeling it gives you and how wonderful an alternative it is to the common heating systems of today.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

While it's true that some radiant heating systems can be more expensive than some forced air systems, it's not always the case. There are several radiant heating solutions available that are every bit as cost-competitive as forced air systems (and in many cases are actually cheaper).