Hello all, Kyle here from ClearView Plumbing and Heating in Calgary. You know, we’ve talked a bit about radiant heat and personally; I think it’s pretty cool. It’s nice to have even heating and warm feet. But I wouldn’t want you to go away with the notion that it is the absolute best form of heating ever invented. Like anything else, it has its pros and cons that should be minded before you decide to move to this form of home heating.
Pros of Radiant Heating
We’ll start with the positive, shall we? Radiant heating has a number of benefits to users. It provides even temperatures and uses the objects in the room to radiate heat around your home instead of having the hot air simply drift pointlessly to the ceiling. Radiant heating uses the floor like a giant heating unit, so it takes less hot water to heat the coils under the floor (water temperatures only have to be set at about 100 degrees Celsius instead of 120 in other water heating systems) and is more efficient and cost-effective.
And there are some very cool things you can do with radiant heating. Aside from having a nice warm floor underfoot when it’s freezing cold outside, you can also put the radiant heating in places like the bathtub molding, bathroom walls, towel bars, and many other places so that even a room that is normally cold no matter what, is warm! No more brushing on cold spots and getting a sudden shiver and taking a shower in a radiant heated bathroom makes you feel like a King (or Queen).
So radiant heating is definitely pretty nice to have, in some situations.
Cons of Radiant Heating
Radiant heating may be pretty cool (er, hot), but there are some drawbacks to it. First, you will need a hyper-efficient water boiler for the system to work and these suckers are expensive, need more maintenance than your old boiler and more fuel. While you do see energy savings, it takes a while to see it because of all the investment costs. In tandem to that is the fact that the coils are slightly less efficient than other forms of heating because you lose heat to places like the insulation and floorboards. Furthermore, this form of heating will not work well through carpeting and it destroys hardwoods; it’s best used with laminate flooring.
The radiant heating itself can cause problems too. It takes a while for the house to heat up and day-night thermostats are useless since there is a lag for heating and cooling. Furthermore, radiant heating is just like a fireplace; parts of you will feel warm, others may not unless you install additional heating in places other than the floor. So, it’s not as efficient as people tout around, though if you have proper insulation (which you should have anyway) and a bit of patience, you can have a very nicely heated home with less energy.
Radiant heating shines in some situations. If you have laminate flooring, a good water boiler and space to install extra radiant heating in places like around the windows or baseboard heating, it’s fantastic. It provides even heating, warm floors and lowers energy costs. On the other hand, if you have hardwood or carpet and you don’t have the money to spring for a whole new system, you might as well stick with what you have and put on some extra insulation. (Though you should put extra insulation on anyway!) Some people even use a combination of baseboard heating and radiant heating in order to have more control over the level of heat in the house and when you will have it.
Before you go throwing around money for new heating, it’s a good idea to get an idea of what would be best for your situation. Do your research and see what kinds would work best for your home and your budget. This way, you’ll get what you need with minimal fuss.
Clearview Plumbing and Heating is located right here in Calgary and can help you with all manner of heating and plumbing problems. We’re available 24/7 for emergency and routine services, so if you need us, contact us at (403) 216-8439.