Radiant vs. Forced Air Heating

radiant-heatingFor most people in our area, keeping one’s home comfortable generally means running the air conditioner. While the heat of our summer seasons certainly outweighs the chill of winter nights, it is important to remember the role that your heater plays, as well. It gets more than cold enough to cause discomfort around here in the winter, and your heater in Rancho Cucamonga, CA needs to be up to the task of heating your home in an effective and reliable manner.

If you have a new home being built, or if the time has come to replace your heating system in your existing home, then we strongly recommend that you consider your heating options carefully. Remember, you don’t always have to stick with what you’ve been using. There are a lot of different types of heating systems to consider,  and they work in different ways. Today, we are going to look at some pros and cons of forced air and radiant heating systems.

Forced Air Heating Systems

A forced air heating system, such as a heat pump or a furnace, is one that uses air ducts in order to distribute heated air throughout the house—or, in the case of the heat pump, heated or cooled air. That distinction is a topic for another post, though. Today, we’re just looking at the fundamentals of forced air heating.

Once air is heated, the fan in the system forces (hence the name) that air through the air ducts. The pros here are that this allows for very prompt and effective heating of the entire house, provided that the air ducts are properly installed and that the ductwork is well-designed for the home in question. There are some cons to consider too, though.

Hot air can rise up and get stuck at the ceiling, where it is not really doing anyone any good. This is particularly problematic in homes with high ceilings. Also, leaky ductwork is a very common issue that homeowners may not catch onto right away. Just because you don’t notice it right away doesn’t mean that you are not wasting money and enjoying less comfort right away, though.

Radiant Heating Systems

Radiant heating systems don’t use ductwork because they don’t heat air. Instead, these systems apply heat directly to surfaces in the home, most commonly the floors. Typically this is accomplished with the use of an in-floor hydronic heating system, meaning that water heated by the boiler is piped throughout the house via a system of tubes.

Water retains heat much better than air, and you don’t have to worry about leaks in ductwork, so radiant heating is quite efficient. It also tends to keep heat down in the living space where it belongs better than forced air heating does, as the heat radiates up from the ground to objects and people in the rooms.

Installing this type of system is a pretty big job, though, particularly in existing properties, so it’s best to do it at the time of construction or when remodeling your home. Radiant heating systems last a long time, but they also tend to cost more upfront than forced air systems. They also cannot share existing ductwork with your AC as the furnace can. If you have any questions about these heating methods, just give the pros at Goettl Air Conditioning SoCal a call.

G–O–E–T–T–L–it’ll keep you cool but it’s hard to spell.