What Is Radiant Heat? A Must-Read Guide
Radiant heat is something not many Americans have heard of but its efficient and sustainable system may be just what some are looking for.
It may currently be summer (and a particularly hot one at that), but winter comes quickly, and now is the best time to ensure that your home's heating system is ready for the cold.
Come winter, many people simply resign themselves to the seemingly inevitable reality of higher gas and electric bills. But what if it didn't have to be like that? What if a one-time investment could provide you and your home with steady and efficient heat, while also ultimately lowering annual costs?
The answer lies in radiant heat, a sustainable heating option that many people are turning to.
But what is radiant heat, and how does it work? Keep reading to find out everything you need to know.
What Is Radiant Heat?
Although at-home radiant heating has become more prevalent in recent years, many people are still unfamiliar with what exactly it is.
Similar to the sun, radiant heat involves a large source emitting heat. After being released, the heat then warms an entire surface equally, creating a warmth that is even and consistent.
According to Lifehack, this heat generally comes from one of three locations: under the floor, ceiling panels, or wall heating panels.
Generally, underfloor heating is the most popular choice. Radiant floor heating also comes with the added benefit of taking away the unpleasant feeling of walking on cold hardwood or tile floors.
No more cold early-morning walks through the house!
How Does it Compare With Traditional Heating?
In a traditional heating system, air travels from the furnace, through channels, and is then released from a series of set locations around the house. Yet although this is the most prevalent method, it is certainly not the most convenient.
This sort of system causes heat to rise, oftentimes creating hot and cold spots around the house.
As anyone with a furnace knows, most traditional heating systems also have several visible components, such as a boiler, vents, and baseboards. Frequently, these are unpleasant to look at, and can even take up space that could otherwise be used for decorations or furniture.
It is recommended that heating systems are cleaned and maintained every other year. Yet according to Angie's List, high-quality duct cleaning services can cost up to $500. This is something that many people put off doing, unknowingly allowing the spread of dust and bacteria throughout their house.
Radiant heat eliminates all of these problems.
What Are the Benefits?
Radiant heating systems come with a variety of benefits that make them well worth the initial investment.
Many people with allergies or dust sensitivities unknowingly suffer from the recycled air traditional heating systems pump around. These systems also come with the caveat of needing to be regularly cleaned and inspected.
Contrarily, radiant heating does not recirculate air and helps create a cleaner environment with better air quality.
Similarly, traditional heating systems also frequently create temperature disparities throughout homes. Your living room may be nice and toasty, but your bathroom may feel like a winter wonderland.
However, radiant heating does not rise to the ceiling, and as it is dispersed across a much larger area from the floor, there are no hot spots, cold spots, or drafts.
Even temperatures everywhere!
Will it Really Save Me Money?
According to CONTRACTOR, a study conducted in January 2014 across six regions in Canada found that annual energy savings could reach up to 18%. Translated into dollars, these savings could be anywhere from $36 to $210.
In unconfirmed studies, people have sometimes reported even greater savings, with energy bills around 30 to 40 percent cheaper. Some of these fluctuations in results can be attributed to personal comfort levels.
One thing that is certain is that the money being saved comes directly from lower numbers on home thermostats. In single-story homes, homeowners found that they could keep their houses an average of four degrees colder. In two-story homes, the number was even higher, at around 5.6 degrees colder.
Regardless of the exact numbers, it's clear that the potential savings can be huge.
What could you do with the money you'd be saving?
The Best Rooms to Heat With Radiant Heat
While entire houses can certainly benefit from radiant heating, the rooms that can benefit the most from it are those with wood, tile, or laminate flooring. These floor types allow the easy installation of radiant heating systems.
For an entire list of suitable floor types that can be paired well with radiant heating systems, Hallmark Floors has a comprehensive list. Their guide also answers several other FAQ related to radiant heat, such as when the system should be turned on and what objects can be placed on top of heated floors.
Aside from different floor types, rooms with lower ceilings typically benefit the most from underfloor heating. Rooms that are very open or have tall, cathedral ceilings may benefit more from other types of heating.
In many houses, these ideal rooms are bedrooms, bathrooms, and kitchens. Luckily, these are generally the rooms where we want the most efficient heating systems.
Imagine not having to worry about getting out of bed or exiting the shower and feeling like an ice cube!
A Decision That Will Benefit Your House for Years
Summer does not last forever, and if you're living in the New England area, you'll need to make sure your home is properly prepared for the winter. Yet instead of readying your traditional heating system, consider making a change.
What is radiant heat? Radiant heating is a type of sustainable heating where heat is released evenly from the floor. Homeowners can enjoy a variety of benefits with this system, such as more consistent temperatures, cleaner air, and substantially lower annual energy bills, among others.