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  • Radiant Heat vs Forced Air: Choosing the Best Solution for Your Home

    Green Wave Distribution ~ Mar 02, 2022

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Radiant Heat vs Forced Air: Choosing the Best Solution for Your Home

There are many factors that you have to consider when deciding on a heating system for your home. Not only are you going to be thinking about the amount of time that you spend in your home and your personal preferences when it comes to desired room temperature, but you also are going to be considering the sustainability of the system that you choose and the cost to operate it. 


Most homeowners find themselves facing a decision between radiant heating vs. forced air. Our guide will provide you with all of the information that you need to know so that you can make a quick and easy decision regarding heating your home. 

The Benefits and Disadvantages of Forced Air 

A forced air system is one of the most common heating systems in residential homes. If your home has a furnace, then you rely on forced air in order to distribute heat throughout your home. With a forced air system, the air is heated through ducts and distributed to the room. The air then recirculates through the forced air heating system in order to maintain the desired temperature in the house. It's worth noting that your forced air system can operate on gas or electricity, however, gas furnaces are more common.


There are several advantages to having a forced air system, such as:


  • A forced air system is more versatile than radiant heat, as it can both heat a room and cool it. 
  • A forced air system relies on an air filter in order to clean and purify the air that is being recirculated. The air filter must be changed on a regular basis in order to be most effective.
  • A forced air system will promote air circulation in the home.


However, a forced air system is not perfect. These are some of the disadvantages associated with this type of heating solution:


  • A forced air system is not always a very efficient heating solution. This is largely because heated air can easily escape any space through doors and windows, requiring the system to work harder in order to maintain the desired room temperature.
  • Depending on the size of the space and the layout of the home, a forced air system may not be able to provide even heat distribution. This also can reduce the efficiency of the system.
  • A forced air system will recirculate air throughout the home. If the air filter has not been replaced recently, it is likely that the forced air system is recirculating dust, dander, dirt and allergens along with the air.
  • A forced air system is notoriously noisy, which can impact your quality of life within your home.

The Benefits and Disadvantages of Radiant Heat

Radiant floor heat is another heating solution that you can consider for your home. This heating system does not rely on circulating air, but rather, relies on heating the surface and transferring the energy throughout the room. While you may be able to find a gas radiant heat system, most radiant heat flooring solutions rely on electricity or water to produce heat. 


Radiant heat systems are typically installed underneath the floors of a given room. Not only does the system heat up the flooring materials, but it also uses innovative technology in order to provide heat to the entire space. 


There are many benefits to installing gas radiant heat or electric radiant heat flooring in your home, such as:


  • Radiant heat is the most energy-efficient heating solution on the market. By relying on gas radiant heat or electric radiant heat, you are able to heat the desired space while simultaneously minimizing the heat loss. There are less opportunities for the heat to escape in a radiant heat flooring system.
  • Radiant heat does not recirculate air, which prevents dust, dander and allergens from being recirculated throughout your home. It is generally considered to be a healthier solution for heating your home. 
  • Radiant heat can be used as both the primary heat source as well as a supplemental heat source. It can be incorporated into nearly any room in your home, including the basement, bathroom and garage.
  • Radiant heat is both quiet and effective, allowing you to bask in a room that is both peaceful and comfortable.
  • Radiant heat can easily be installed in your home, and it is the ideal feature to add-on during a renovation project.


While there are many benefits to investing in a radiant heat flooring system, such as the STEP® HEAT system offered by Green Wave Distribution, there are some disadvantages to consider. These are some of the cons of radiant heat:


  • A radiant heat flooring system can only be used to heat a room. It is not used to cool the space, so air conditioning would still be required in order to cool the area.
  • A radiant heat flooring system may have a higher upfront cost to purchase and install than a forced air system, particularly if you are using radiant heat throughout the entire house. However, you may find that the operating costs over the course of its lifetime make it a more appealing investment.

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Radiant Heat vs Forced Air Cost: What You Need to Know

Of course, the cost of a system is going to play a large role in your decision. However, it is important to look past the upfront cost for purchasing and installing the system. You also need to consider the utility costs and maintenance costs associated with the system. 


The cost of purchasing a furnace and installing a forced air unit may initially be lower than a radiant heat system, particularly if you are planning to use radiant heat as a primary heat source for your entire house. However, you need to keep in mind that the forced air system is much less efficient, and there are many opportunities for heat loss. The cost to operate your forced air system will be higher, and with many moving parts, there are bound to be more repairs and maintenance issues in the future. 


A radiant heat flooring system, on the other hand, may have a higher initial price but offers lower operational costs over its lifetime. It is a much more efficient way to heat your home, so the utility costs are significantly lower when compared to a forced air system. In addition, it is one of the most reliable heating solutions on the market and rarely requires any upkeep or maintenance.

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Improve Your Home with a STEP® HEAT Radiant Flooring System

Rather than using gas radiant heat in our designs, Green Wave Distribution offers an innovative STEP® HEAT radiant heat flooring system. Our STEP® HEAT system utilizes self-regulating carbon polymer heating technology that relies on low-voltage electricity in order to safely distribute heat to any space in your home. The end result is even, sustainable heat distribution throughout a room. In addition, you enjoy a healthier home environment, as dust, dirt, dander and allergens are not being recirculated via a forced air system. 


For more information about why STEP® HEAT may be a better option that gas radiant heat, contact us today to set up a consultation appointment or explore our other radiant heating options below:

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