Radiant heating options available to homeowners today offer positive alternatives to conventional forced-air heating. Instead of blowing hot air through ductwork into living spaces, radiant systems gently suffuse rooms with radiant heat produced by hydronic (hot water) circulation or electrical resistance pads. Because heat loss from forced-air ductwork is high, direct heat produced by radiant systems in individual rooms tends to be more energy-efficient. Also, hot air blown into rooms from a forced-air furnace quickly rises to the ceiling and cools, providing little comfort to occupants. For consistent warmth lower in the room, without heat loss at the ceiling, homeowners have three radiant heating options:

Hydronic Floor

A hydronic system embedded in the concrete slab or attached to the sub-flooring of the house consists of a grid of tubing that conveys water from a boiler. Hot water between 100 and 120 degrees circulates through the tubing, turning the entire floor into a heat radiator that warms the whole room from the floor up by gentle convection. Because no hot air is circulated, airborne dust and allergens are reduced and the on/off sounds of rushing air are also eliminated.

Electric Radiant Floor

Where installation of hydronic tubing in an existing home isn’t practical, an electric radiant system can be attached to the underside of the wooden sub-floor instead. Like large heating pads, this system uses heat generated by electrical resistance to warm the sub-floor. Ceramic tile or other flooring material efficiently radiate heat upwards into the room. Electric radiant floor heating is generally more easily adaptable for retrofitting existing houses.

Radiant Panels

Installed on the lower four feet of walls, radiant panels allow you to add radiant heat to a room at a lower cost and less intrusive installation. Most integrate a grid of tubing to circulate hot water from a boiler and radiate enveloping heat into a room. Low-profile radiant panels can be less than one-inch thick and are installed with minimal labor and materials.

Ask the professionals at Apollo Home Heating, Cooling and Plumbing for more information on radiant heating options for your home.