Forced Air or Radiant Heat

Which system would you rather have in your house or garage forced air or radiant heat?  Most people would say radiant heat based on efficiency and comfort while others will say forced air based on initial cost.

There is two types of forced air heating systems.  The most common is using a standard furnace.  The second type is using a fan coil or water furnace.  Both of these use the standard duct system to transfer the heat from the medium to the room being heated.  The reason the forced air system with the standard furnace is the most common is because of the cost to heat each room.

The down side is each room is controlled only be opening and closing the register.  Another major downside is dust particles float through the air much more with a forced air system.

With radiant heat systems there is no air being moved around and therefore is less noisy than forced air systems.  If you want to isolate the temperature in each room you can do so as long as you put in a zone valve and thermostat for that room.

Radiant heat in houses and garages are often infloor radiant heating systems.  These can be placed in concrete, gypcrete or under the floor in a staple up system.  There is now another system that uses convectors under the floor to heat the bottom of the floor.  The best transfer method is through concrete.  The only thing about concrete is it takes longer to heat and then longer to cool.

Another radiant heat system is placing radiant heaters inside of walls.  This works the same as in the floor but radiates out from the wall.

Another system that is used often in garages that have already had the floor poured is a radiant tube heater.  These work great as the minute you fire one up you start to feel heat coming off the tube.  If you happen to work in your garage you turn one on before you start and let the tube heat the concrete, which will absorb the heat and become a large heater for you to work underneath a vehicle.  Just think of how the sun heats the earth and how the earth can keep the heat into the evening if it is cloudy out.

There are other hot water heating systems that people put into their homes.  Baseboard heaters use convection heat to heat the room.  The cool air drops to the floor and the warm air rises to the ceiling.  Once the process starts there becomes a low current of moving air.  Cooler air drops and moves to fill the void that is left be the warmer air rising above the heater.

Then there is the old cast iron heaters that radiate heat from the cast.  These heaters are more common in older buildings and can use hot water or steam from the boiler.   Baseboard systems can also be heated with hot water or steam boilers.

Back to our question of which is better Forced air or radiant heat?  Since I install radiant heat systems I am biased towards this, but for the most part if you want comfort and efficiency over cost then radiant in the way to go.

Always remember that you get what you pay for.

If you need any plumbing, gas fitting or hot water heating work then please give me a call at 780-264-0878




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