How Does Radiant Heating Differ from Forced Air Heating?

Choosing a new heater for one’s home can be a difficult process. You really want to make sure that you make the right decisions, as you’ll be living with the end result of those decisions for many years to come. One of the most important factors to consider is the way in which your heater actually distributes heat throughout your home.

While some homeowners may use baseboards or steam radiators, which rely heavily on convection, the two most common forms of heat distribution today are forced air and radiant heating. Both have the benefits, so consider the following information and let us help you to choose the right heater in Raleigh, NC.

Forced Air

A forced air heating system is one that heats air directly via a heat exchanger. Burner jets or electric heating elements are usually used to generate heat, as is the case in gas or electric furnaces. Heat pumps condense refrigerant in order to transfer heat to the air. Either way, you wind up with warm air that is then spread throughout the house via a system of ductwork.

If you use a central AC — or a heat pump, which both heats and cools — then you can use your ductwork in order to distribute hot air throughout the house in the winter, and cool air in the summer. When compared to radiant heating systems, installation costs for most forced air heaters are lower. Convenience and upfront costs aside, though, the radiant heater does have a lot to offer.

Radiant Heating

Radiant heating systems, such as electric in-floor heating systems or hydronic systems using a boiler, don’t deal with heated air at all. Instead, heat is applied directly to a surface in the home. This is usually the floor, though radiant systems may sometimes be used — particularly in existing homes, as the installation is easier than pulling up floors.

The heat generated radiates upward/outward from the heated surface. It then warms objects in the house directly, rather than the air surrounding them. This includes the human body, furniture, etc. There is no risk of air leaks, and radiant floors keep heat down in the living space, rather than in air that rises to the ceiling.

To learn more, contact the professionals at Ideal Services Heating & Cooling.

Skip to content