The Basics of Radiant Heating Systems

Dec 22 21:21 2009 Rupert Smith Print This Article

An explanation of the different kinds of radiant heating systems, and the benefits of using them for heating your home.

The Basics of Radiant Heating Systems

Today,Guest Posting people who once never heard of it are seeking out radiant heating systems as a cost-effective way of heating their homes. Everyone, from large corporations to average homeowners, are seeking cost effective ways to save energy. With rising energy costs and a sluggish economy, its not just about the environment, it's about your wallet.

Across the country, radiant heating systems are becoming the mainstream heating option for Americans. While the initial installation can be pricey, the benefits of warming your home with radiant heat will pay for itself. Most radiant heating systems can cost 25-50% less to operate compared to conventional forced air systems.

Forced air heating creates drafts which force air out of your home through cracks and openings. With radiant heating systems, you’re able to set your thermostat 2-4 degrees cooler, although the room still feels warm. Warm air will not be lost through air ducts as with traditional heating systems, because the radiant system relies on the radiant transfer of heat from the warm surface directly to the objects and people in the room. Radiant heat radiates out through floors, walls, or ceiling panels, similar to the heat you feel from a hot stove top element. This system of heating is called infrared radiation.

There are essentially two types of radiant heating: Electric and Hydronic. With an electric system, electric cables are built into the floor. Some feature electrical mats that are embedded into a thin layer of concrete. In walls or ceilings, cables are installed in the dry space between aluminum panels. You may choose this system, if you have a new addition where its impractical to extend the current heating system. Like any system that relies on electricity to function, electric radiant heat can be costly to operate, although the initial installation cost is less than that of the hydronic system.

While the hydronic system is a much larger and more expensive system to install, it is by far the most popular and cost-effective of the two systems. Hydronic hydronic radiant floor heat relies on heated water to warm the home. Water is pumped from a boiler through tubing that is laid under flooring or behind wall panels. The temperature in each room is then controlled by regulating the flow of hot water through individual tubing loops. This particular system is better suited to installation in new homes or for whole house projects.

Whether you choose an electric or hydronic system, both are longer lasting when compared to a normal furnace. A properly maintained, high quality radiant heat system can last more than 35 years when compared to a furnace that might last two decades. The heat retention in both systems equals definite heating cost savings, because the warmth is kept in the lower part of room. Forced air systems propel the heated air towards the ceiling, resulting in a higher thermostat setting.

Whether you‘re planning to build a new home, updating your current heating system, or are interested in finding a more economical way to heat your home or just a room, or even the garage, radiant heating systems are worth investigating. The savings and energy efficiency associated with radiant heating give it an edge over conventional heating systems by conserving energy, while putting more money in your pocket.

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About Article Author

Rupert Smith
Rupert Smith

After a succesful life in trading, importing and exports, Rupert now spends his time writing freelance articles for many well-known publications, as well as various educational institutions.  For more of Rupert's articles regarding radiant heating systems, please visit

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