WHat is Radiant Heating?

What is Radiant Heating

You may not give a lot of thought to the different ways heat is generated and used as many of us take it for granted every time we turn up the thermostat However, how that heat is produced and distributed will have an impact on you and your family in terms of comfort and utility costs.

Radiant heat is all around us. Every time you feel the warmth of the sun or the heat pouring out from a campfire you are experiencing radiant heat. It is the heat that is emitted from a single source.

Colorado Energy Analysts your  RESNET certified auditor or rater who will visit your home and not only suggest how you can improve your current energy efficiency, they can explain ways how a radiant heat system may be a benefit if it is an appropriate solution for your situation.

At one time radiant heat systems were the norm, however they were not very cost efficient and could be noisy. We used to see the rather unattractive radiators to be installed in each room and when the steam came through they would rattle and make noise.

New technology has improved these systems so a radiant heat source can provide a constant source of warmth that is economical and healthy.


There are three types of radiant heat systems currently in use:

Air heated: Uses warm air to heat floors and walls. This is effective but not cost efficient, as air is not the best way to contain heat.

Hydronic: This uses hot water from a boiler or water heating device that is circulated through tubes to the area being heated.   These tubes can be below the floor surface or integrated within the floor system.  Baseboard radiant heat has been used for years and was an improvement over the typical room radiator.

Electric: Uses electric built in cables to create radiant heat in a flat surface.  Many are blanket systems that are fastened to the floor surface and then covered by the final flooring product.

Radiant heating can be a convenient and cost effective way of heating a home.  It is more economical than baseboard heating and quite often more efficient than forced air type heating as there are no ducts and vents to allow leaks.

Radiant heating systems are very well suited for floor and wall installation and are considered a very clean way of distributing heat. Since there is no moving air other than normal convection, as in a forced air system, there are no particles of dust being moved around a home.  With a radiant system, indoor air quality issues need to be addressed with a separate system.

Besides being a costs saving type of system, you may be eligible for a Federal Tax rebate or utility company rebate when you install a radiant system












Skip Howes

CGP - Certified Green Professional

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Scott Homes, Ltd., Designers & Builders






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