What is Radiant Heat?

radiant heating

Radiant heat is a term used for any system that transfers thermal energy using a delivery system besides forced air. A common example of this is hydronic radiant heating, which uses hot water piped through the house to circulate heat to each room.

The process of installing hydronic radiant heating begins with installing small, pipes between the floor and subfloor of each room you want to be heated. Occasionally, pipes are also installed in concrete floors. Other options include baseboard heaters, metal radiators, and pipes installed in the walls. A boiler serves as the core of the system, heating water and circulating it throughout the house. As the hot water runs through the pipes, the heat radiates from them and out into the room. This indirect transfer of thermal energy is why the heating system is called “radiant heating.”

So why do people choose radiant heating over more traditional forced air systems? There are a number of reasons to upgrade to a radiant heating system. Water serves as a better conductor of thermal energy than air does. The pipes used to transport the water are also far more resistant to leaks than their ductwork counterparts. As a result, more heat is transferred to its destination instead of being lost in transit.

Radiant heating is also arguably more effective at evenly heating a room. Since forced air systems vent warm air directly into a room to heat it, that warm air will rise to the ceiling. As it cools, it will sink to the inhabited areas of the room. This is counter-intuitive at best, preventing anyone in the room from actually benefiting from the warm air. By contrast, radiant heating distributes thermal energy through solid objects like floors and furniture. Since it is not relying upon air as a medium, the heat does not rise nearly as quickly. Radiant heating transmits thermal energy through solid objects and surfaces, keeping it where it can more effectively warm the room

Of course, installing radiant heating does require a bit more time and effort to install than traditional duct systems. Be sure to call a professional to evaluate how easily you can upgrade your heating system.

If you would like more information about radiant heating and its advantages, call APC Plumbing & Heating. Our HVAC technicians are heating installation experts. We cover the entire Denver area.


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