There’s more than one way to skin a cat. The same can be said for heating houses. In modern times, the most common way to heat a home is with a furnace.
Some call it forced air. It is perhaps better described as scorched air.
With a furnace, the heated air is blown through the house, raising the ambient temperature to one’s preferred set point.
That’s not how radiant heat works. Radiant heat utilizes hot water, with a Triangle Tube boiler — not a furnace — as the heat source. Pex tubing is run throughout the flooring of the home, with 85-125 degree water coursing through the system. The heat in the water rises and transfers into its surroundings, warming the air, and everything in the home environment, including inanimate objects like furniture and walls.
Here at PlumbEStore.com, we believe that radiant heat is vastly superior to forced air. Here are five reasons why.
Less Heat Loss
With scorched air, you are literally heating the air. It can dissipate easily.
With radiant, as the heat rises, it permeates its surroundings. The environment absorbs the heat and continues to radiate energy out into the domain.
In other words, instead of heating air, radiant heats mass. Once a radiant heating zone gets up to temperature, it doesn’t take much energy to maintain the set-point, whereas forced air is constantly coming on and off to keep the air warm.
You know how you’re told to wear a hat when it’s cold to keep the heat from escaping your body? We’re trying to keep the heat from escaping us. Our bodies sense the temperature in gains and losses.
Heat shifts toward cold, so any object that you touch that is cooler than your body will feel colder because of the warmth leaving your hand. Again, the human body measures temperature by detecting heat loss and gain.
So, when you touch a wall or a countertop, it can feel colder, despite the fact that it’s the same as the ambient temperature in the room. Just like our bodies, objects can absorb heat. With radiant heat, the idea is to capitalize on that fact.
In order to be as efficient as possible, the goal is to minimize the expenditure of energy, while preserving — or limiting — heat from escaping our bodies, and the objects surrounding us in our homes. In that endeavor, radiant heat is much more efficient than forced air.
When you’re using less energy to heat your home and sustain the temperatures you desire, it can be reflected in your utility bills each month. In the modern age of “going green” and focusing on conservation, the cost of such virtue is often higher to the consumer.
In the case of radiant heat, however, we get the best of both worlds. We get to conserve energy and be efficient, while also protecting our wallets.
With forced air, a fan is literally blowing hot air throughout your house. We all know what a chore it is to dust our homes. It’s a never-ending battle to stay ahead of the curve. Forced air doesn’t make that effort any easier.
With radiant heat, the BTUs are rising from the floor via thermal waves. There’s no fan blowing the heat — or the air — around your home. The end result is a much cleaner abode, with less intensive dusting and clean up.
For those who suffer from asthma and allergies, that can be huge.
With radiant heat, our bodies absorb the warmth, starting with our feet. Our feet are in direct contact with the floor, which is where the heat rises from.
Radiant heat is the epitome of comfort. There’s nothing like walking around the house during the winter or cold months, and feeling the warmth of the floor ‘soaking’ into our feet. From there, it rises up through our bodies, just like the inanimate objects we talked about earlier. In terms of the comfort radiant heat provides, forced air simply cannot compete.