Radiant Floor Heating – A Cozy Alternative

Originally conceived and developed in Europe, radiant floor heating is rapidly gaining popularity in the United States. It’s a clean, efficient method to warm your home from the ground up…literally!

Radiant heat can be installed in ceilings and walls as well as floors. This innovative concept “radiates” heat throughout the house and is considered more efficient than forced air heating systems. Radiant heat is installed underneath a floor utilizing a variety of installation methods. Three types of heat are available: electricity, hot water or warmed air which typically flows out and warms the room from the ground up. We know that heat naturally rises making this system particularly effective. The difference between forced air and radiant heat is forced air pushes heated air through vents which naturally flow toward the ceiling; the air then circulates around the room. But, here’s the problem with forced air: it can stir up dust, allergens and other nasty and unwanted elements which will also swirl around your home. Additionally, it can be noisy and emit an unpleasant scent.

Radiant heat, on the contrary, is quiet, efficient, scentless, and helps reduce allergens in the air. The efficiency stems from its ability to warm objects (and people) more quickly than traditional heating systems resulting in significant savings. Another advantage is the ability to partition off rooms and create “zones” within your home further extending cost savings. And if that isn’t enough to convince you, keep in mind radiant heating systems require little maintenance; there are no filters to change or vents to clean.

According to radiant heat enthusiasts, another benefit is the type and “feel” of warmth emitted; the claim is radiant heat feels “cozier” and warmer than traditional heating systems. Of course, this evidence is purely empirical but the facts do seem to support the majority of these claims.

As discussed above, the three methods for transmitting radiant heat are through water, electric, or heated air. Is one recommended over the others? Does the type of installation make a difference? What about specific floor coverings over this system?

All these questions and more will be answered in upcoming posts – stay tuned!