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What is radiant heating system?

Last updated on: February 7th, 2020

While heating systems have been around for quite a while, only recently is when the radiant heating design started to gain popularity. But what is a radiant heating system?

Radiant heating systems will supply heat from beneath the floor or below the floor panel of the house.

That gives the meaning to the radiant heating system since it delivers heat to the inhabitants or object within the household through radiation heat.

More specifically, this process is known as infrared radiation.

Types of Radiant floor heating

electric radiant floor heaterElectric Radiant Floor Heating

As the name suggests, the electric radiant heating system comprises electrical cables inbuilt under the floor.

The radiant system comes with a thermostat to enable for the convenience of setting.

Electric radiant floors are much famous for their ease of installation, with only the electrical cables and wafer-thin pad making up the whole heating system

Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating

Hydronic radiant floor heatingOn the other hand, hydronic radiant heating consists of pumping hot water through tubes underneath the floor and set in a particular concrete.

The model has a lot of work to it with laying out the pipes and connecting to the water heater as part of the installation process.

Why radiant floor heating?

Whether building a new home or merely think of upgrading, the following reasons could entice you on the capabilities of a radiant heating system

How radiant heating works?

Unlike other heating systems which deliver heat from a central focus point, the distributed nature of radiant heat setup allows the slow heating of the whole floor at a uniform rate.

That ensures that the rooms do not have different temperatures and there is little vertical temperature stratification.

Is radiant heating efficient?

Hydronic radiant heating systems, in particular, are known for their low cost regarding energy consumption compared to the electric heating models.

Research does indicate an increased efficiency of up to 30% for homeowners using the hydronic floor system compared to users with the forced-air systems.


Perhaps the utmost benefit with radiant heating is that the heating installation lasts a long time with little to no maintenance necessary.

With the right tubing and virtually no moving parts, service checks and yearly maintenance will be a thing of the past.

How to design a radiant heating system?

Whether carrying out full floor heating installation or just supplemental floor warming, radiant heating system provide for customizable designs to fill rooms of all sizes and shapes.

These systems can also work under any floor designs be it slate, carpet, marble, tile or hardwood.

Environmentally friendly

With forced-air heating systems, there are all kinds of risks, the ducts, and registers present to your health.

It is well known that the continuous circulation of air offers a haven for distribution of mold spores, dust, animal dander and other kinds of allergens.

But with radiant heating systems, such scenarios are not present since the model does not circulate air at all.

Is radiant heating worth it?

There still lies plenty of reasons as to why the radiant heating may not work for your home.

Here are some of them:

What does radiant floor heating cost?

Depending on the size, shape, and layout of the house, the tubing system of a radiant heating system could prove to be expensive during the initial installation.

Still, radiant heating systems remain cost-effective in the long run with little cost for the utility bills

The potential risk of leaks

Just like traditional plumbing, there is plenty of potential for the hydronic heating system to experience a leakage.

With the polyethylene pipes, a small hole could potentially mean that the whole radiant heating system is damaged and this could have an adverse effect.

Fire safety

It is evident that the radiant heating systems do rely on electric heating sources for both models.

Consequently, this presents the potential risk of electrical fire that may arise from electrical appliances such as the baseboards, space heater

Repair and maintenance cost

All radiant heat systems are either beneath or along the insides of the floors or walls.

Such a setup means any incidents of repair would involve removing the floor or wall area to check for damage, and this means the fix is mostly labor and resource intensive.

The lowdown before choosing a Radiant Heating system

While deciding the installation of a radiant heat system is rather easy, determining the model for installation is somewhat complicated.

Still, with the right knowledge, the process is less of a headache.

Here’s what to consider:

Which radiant floor heating is best?

The existing system is a huge factor in determining whether the heating system you plan to install is compatible with your home layout.

For instance, it is advisable to continue using same heating systems instead of completely overhauling to accommodate a new heating system.

How is radiant floor heating installed?

Easy installation is an essential factor that should be in mind when deciding on the radiant heating plan to use.

For any reputable radiant heating system, the setup should remain easy since any complexity needing tools or equipment means more expense and difficulty in maintenance.

How efficient is radiant heating?

In case you aim only to warm the floors, then you would want to consider a floor heater with less heat production.

However, if the heating is necessary for the entire room, then you should seek a heating system that delivers a higher output.

Are radiant heating safe?

Both radiant heating systems do possess the risk of fire and water leakage, which could threaten not only the structure of the house but also the safety of the inhabitants within.

Therefore, proper planning ahead would involve getting insurance beforehand.

Bottom line

In conclusion, a radiant heating system offers one of the best types of heating system in the market, if installed correctly.

Additionally, the right information is essential to ensure you don’t end up with the wrong model and although the article may not be conclusive enough, there is the option of consulting past system owners.

All-in-all, the goal is to ensure that you install a desirable, comfortable and economic radiant heat system for your floor.

I’m a seasoned Interior Designer whose innovation, keen eye for detail and creativity have all earned me the reputation as a reliable go-to professional. Over the course of a decade, I’ve garnered extensive industry experience, successfully designing hundreds of bathrooms along the way. Additionally, I hold an Interior Design Certificate from College of Architecture and Design in Newark, New Jersey. Outside of my profession, I have an avid interest in all things related to fitness and cryptocurrency. If you are looking for a competent expert who can help you renovate your living space, then feel free to contact me today.

  1. My family complains a lot in the wintertime when they have to walk on cold floors. We love the idea of getting a floor heating system installed to keep everyone cozy. I like the point that this type of system will help lower utility bills.

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