Before you can fully appreciate the benefits of radiant floor heat, you need to understand the fundamentals of how heat works. Since heat rises, any home heating system that pumps air from elevated air ducts is at an automatic disadvantage. The heat will have to fill the entire space from the ceiling down in order to be effective, which can be costly and demanding on the furnace. Radiant floor heat, on the other hand, works with hot air's natural movement by emitting heat from the floor level. Here's a look at several reasons why you should consider replacing your home's hot air furnace with radiant floor heat.
Comfort and Consistency
Since radiant floor heating releases heat from the floors up, you'll feel the heat starting at your feet and carrying upward. When the heat starts at the floor, it can help to ease the discomfort of cold feet caused by a chill in hardwood or tile flooring. This also means that the heat will pass into your furniture, warming it as well. This provides you with more even, consistent heat throughout the room, since you aren't dealing with drafty forced-air heat that has to filter its way down from the ceiling. This can also lead to less demand on the heating system, because you don't have to heat the empty space from the ceiling down first.
Improved Air Quality
If the dust is taking on a life of its own in your house with forced air heat, you aren't alone. All that dust, mold and other allergens are building up in the furnace and they end up in your home through the air ducts. Those particles in the air are also what cause the odor that you smell every time your furnace turns on.
If you want to keep the dust, mold spores and allergens at a minimum in your house, radiant floor heating may be the solution you've been looking for. Since it works, as the name suggests, by radiating heat instead of blowing heated air through the house, you won't deal with the same amount of dust and other particles blowing around in the house. This can help you combat allergies and respiratory issues for your and your family, since dust and mold are common allergens.
Forced air furnaces are often noisy due to the sound of the blower fans and the burner. And, as the heated air moves through the air ducts, you'll hear the ducts pop, bang and make other sounds. All of those noises can be distracting. Radiant heating systems don't have the same noise problems that you hear in forced air heating. In fact, the only sound that your radiant heating system will make comes from the boiler, which is typically placed in the basement or far away from the living area. This leads to a quieter, more peaceful home environment for you and your family.
Radiant floor heating gives you greater control over what rooms you heat when, and since the heat reaches the thermostat faster than with forced air heat, you may find that you can set the thermostat a bit lower and still maintain the same level of comfort. The less time your boiler runs, the more money you will save over the forced air heat. Research indicates that radiant floor heating is as much as 25 percent more efficient than a forced air furnace.
Especially for homes in colder climates, radiant floor heating can be a welcome change to the living environment. If you're looking for a new heating system or it's time to replace your furnace, talk with a heating services contractor about the benefits of radiant floor heating first.