In this day of high energy prices, it is important for homeowners to consider alternative ways to save energy. Because our home air conditioning and heating systems use the majority of our energy, these are a great place to start.
Traditionally, heating and cooling systems are located in one central location. The air is brought to the desired temperature at the appliance source. Then, the heated or cooled air is pumped to the rooms of your home via the ductwork. This system is highly functional; however, because of its design, it is highly susceptible to energy loss.
Traditional forced-air heating systems push air throughout your home. While this air is traveling through the ductwork, heat is lost. This problem can be exacerbated by leaks or obstructions in your residential ductwork. According to the Department of Energy, faulty ductwork can be responsible for up to 10% of a home's energy consumption.
Radiant Heating as an Alternative
In recent years, systems have been developed that differ from the traditional forced-air heating systems. One such residential heating system is radiant heating. Radiant heating provides comfort at the desired source; therefore, there is no energy loss as heated air is delivered to the desired location.
Radiant heating systems are installed below floors, within walls, and above ceilings. They supply heat directly to the desired room. The radiant heat that they supply is similar to that heat that a person feels when they sit by a fire. These systems have a number of distinct advantages to traditional forced-air heating systems.
Radiant Heating is More Energy Efficient
According to a study by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers and Kansas State University, radiant heating is at least 25 percent more efficient than traditional heating systems. This energy savings can result in substantial monetary savings during the height of the winter. Once again, the vast majority of this energy savings is a result of the fact that radiant heating systems do not rely on ductwork and therefore do not lose energy transferring heated air to the desired location.
More Accommodating to Home Designs
Another great benefit of the fact that radiant heating systems do not rely on ductwork is the extra space that you will have in your home. You do not have to make room for large and unsightly radiators, vents, baseboard units, and other traditional fixtures. If you are constructing a new home, radiant heating systems give you ultimate design flexibility.
Improved Indoor Air Quality
The average household of four creates about forty pounds of dust per year. That dust is circulated throughout the ductwork of the home about six to seven times a day. If not properly maintained, the dirt, dust, and other allergens can build up to unhealthy levels quickly. This can cause people to have pulmonary problems especially if they have allergy issues already. Radiant heating, by not relying on ductwork, eliminates this dust build up. As such, it is the preferable heating system for individuals that have pulmonary problems or who are highly susceptible to allergens.
More Uniform Comfort Levels
Everyone has had experience with the inconsistent nature of forced-air heating systems. Because the hot or cold air must come into the room through a vent, the area nearest the vent is at a temperature that is significantly different from the area that is farthest away from the vent.
Radiant heating systems supply a comfort level that is uniform throughout your living spaces. This results because the system is installed throughout the entire surface area of the room rather than at a single point like a vent. This full surface coverage heats the entire room simultaneously. In addition, for homes that have relatively cool surface areas such as stone or tile, the radiant heating system can make these flooring choices more comfortable.
Fast Acting and Silent System
Radiant heating systems also differ from traditional systems in that they are more responsive. Also, radiant heating does not augment the ambient noises of your home. Both of these unique features substantially yet subtly improve your indoor living spaces. If a room is cooler than comfortable, radiant heating quickly restores comfort levels with at-the- source direct heat. Turning the system on will not cause any unpleasant background noise.
In the end, radiant heating has many significant advantages over traditional forced-air heating systems. Every family's has unique needs, and each home is different. Some may still be better served by traditional heating systems, but everyone should give radiant heating significant consideration. Call a professional heating contractor to learn more about whether radiant heating is the right choice for you.