Forced air heating is initially a cost effective way to heat your home in Thornton, CO and surrounding areas. But it might not be the best option. There are many reasons you might consider a radiant heating system, which utilizes an in-floor system rather than a forced-air system with a furnace. A radiant system uses heat coming from a mass – typically your floor concrete slab.
Your decision may come down to paying less now, or paying less over time for heating your home. However, carefully consider these other factors that may make it worth your extra investment up front for a radiant heat system.
Top Reasons People Choose Radiant Systems over Forced Air Systems for their Central Heating Installation
Physics of Heat. Heat has one main property that causes the hot-air system to not be as efficient – it rises. It always has, and it always will. So when heated air is sent through your heating vents, it immediately begins to rise from those defined locations only. An in-floor radiant heating system is spread across your entire floor, so it is heating your body as it rises.
Architecture. With today’s new homes favoring higher ceilings, all that hot air rapidly rising to your ceiling means you are having to heat more space to allow the hottest air up high to push the warm air downward to reach where you are in the room. It works this way with hydronics too, but the critical difference is your heat is rising past your body on the way up.
Dissipation. The heat in air dissipates rapidly. Many factors affect the rate, and we won’t get into that here. The more efficient way to heat is to heat a mass, such as your concrete floor, and let the heat radiate off the mass under your feet.
Sound of Silence. The sound of the rushing air through a system is also a step down in your overall luxury and comfort from radiating heat. While our forced air systems are pretty quiet, we cannot completely make the sound go away when your hot air system kicks in.
Air Movement. The human body is an evaporative cooling machine. By that we mean when air moves over your skin, it cools it. With a forced air system, air is usually moving more rapidly in the home, which can mean you have to heat an extra degree or so above where you would heat with radiant heat to have the same perceived warmth, depending on how you typically dress indoors in the winter.
Seems Like You’re Always Dusting. Forced air systems do promote movement of dust and dander in the home. It is unavoidable. When you heat your floor slab, the rising heat is so powerful that it moves dust up with it.
Your Body Design. The human body is hottest at it’s core. The extremities, hands and feet, fingers and toes, tend to need the most external heat. Therefore an in-floor heating system allows your feet to stay warmer than a hot air system, which may mean you can also turn the thermostat down a bit.
Radiant heat is also how the earth’s crust works to keep us warm. The sun heats the earth’s crust and it radiates the heat back across our bodies before dissipating into space.
Of course nothing is perfect. With a forced air system you can borrow the ductwork from the heating system to also cool your home. With a radiant heating system you need a separate air conditioning system or comprehensive ceiling fan plan.
For this reason, radiant heating is great for higher elevation mountain home applications where air conditioning is generally not required.
Whichever system you are considering, Impact Heating & Cooling is here to help with both the decision making process and your actual heating system installation. Call us at (303) 835-9971 for friendly, reliable estimates.