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How Does Radiant Floor Heat Differ From Conventional Heating?
Most people don't think twice about their home's heating system. After all, if the mercury drops and you turn on the heater, why go looking for a problem?
But traditional central heating has been around for almost a century -- since the 1930s -- and it's the standard heating system in just about all homes in the United States. However, for those in the know, electric radiant floor heating is quickly becoming not only a viable alternative to conventional heating but a great way to consistently heat your home for less than you're likely paying now.
That's because electric radiant floor heating systems are more efficient and provide a better experience than the drafts, dusty vents, and inconsistencies in heating a living space via blowing all that hot air around. With radiant heat, you'll get a slow warmth that evenly heats a room or your entire home from the ground up, and it also costs less and keeps your home warmer for longer than heating the same space with conventional heating.
Where Does the Heat Go?
Depending on whether you have a traditional air heater or electric radiant floor heating, you'll experience dramatic differences in how that warm and comfortable air is spread around your living spaces. By heating from below, radiant heaters start at the floor, producing heat that slowly rises, encompassing a room or living area with warm heat that makes you feel warmer than the actual temperature. And the resulting warmth means that you can get away with lower temperatures on your thermostat for the same effect.
On the other hand, forced air heating is prone to heat loss throughout your home's vent system, as well as the futility of sending all that hot air out vents that may be positioned poorly throughout your home -- behind furniture, up close to ceilings or pointed at random fixtures and other obstructions.
Benefits of Radiant Floor Heating
According to the Department of Energy, radiant heating is more efficient than conventional air heating due to less loss of energy through ducts and other design-based faux pas. That makes electric radiant floor heating cost much less to operate than a comparable air system, helping to significantly reduce your gas and electric bills, particularly during the colder winter months.
Furthermore, if you elect to install electric radiant floor heating in one or two rooms in your home, you'll be able to use less energy heating those rooms than you would be heating your entire home. The best part is that you don't have to dump your existing system -- you can keep both and use them as you see fit. That can help reduce your energy cost even while you continue to use your conventional system as the radiant floors will help make up for the energy gap and the inefficiencies in your home's existing system.
Another benefit of electric radiant floor heating
Another benefit of electric radiant floor heating is that it's more efficient at heating the lower half of rooms -- something that traditional air-blown heating can't do well. While air heating sends all that hot air into the upper half of your room, only for it to quickly cool as it drops into the room, radiant floor heating works from the floor-up, slowly heating the room where you happen to be, not the cold air above your heads.
That might make for a more comfortable lower temperature since more of the heat is actually around you, and it's not unheard of for a room to be up to five degrees cooler utilizing electric radiant floor heating and at the same time feeling warmer for the people inside. It's because the heat isn't circulated as efficiently when it's air-blown, sitting high above your heads as you waste energy.
Combined with modern insulation and energy-efficient windows, the money saved on radiant floor heating can be even more dramatic, requiring much less energy on a regular basis to keep your living spaces comfortable and warm.
Types of Radiant Floor Heating
While the most common type of radiant floor heating is electric, relying on easy, pluggable energy to power a room or the entire home, there are two main types of radiant floor heating.
Electric heating uses tubes and electricity to heat up under-the-floor mats and other assemblages as they radiate heat throughout a room or home. Commonly used to retrofit bathrooms, bedrooms, and other areas of existing homes, electric radiant floor heating can be placed under tile, wood, and carpet, giving any homeowner the opportunity to experience the benefits of radiant floor heating.
There's also another type of radiant floor heating available, and it's known as hydronic or "wet" heating. It uses hot water to heat up tubes that then emanate heat out into the room, but because of installation challenges, they're typically used in new constructions. If you're building a home from scratch or overhauling an existing home, you may want to consider a wet installation. For most other instances, however, you'll probably want to stick with electric radiant floor heating because it's cheaper and still provides the benefits of radiant floor heating.
That said, gigantic homes with large open spaces may not be ideal for radiant floor heating. Regardless of the cost concern, radiant heat is slower than traditional heating, which may actually make it less efficient in large rooms where the heat isn't allowed to build up properly. But for smaller spaces and compact homes -- tiny homes and RVs are great candidates -- electric radiant floor heating really can't be beaten.
Combined with an existing heating system, floor heating can considerably reduce your energy bill each month while also providing a level of comfort that is only possible with floor heating. If you're sick of cold bathroom tiles in the morning or you'd like to get more barefoot time on your existing hardwood floors during the winter, an electric radiant floor heating solution is your best bet.
Gold Heat for the Win
We started Gold Heat almost 20 years ago when our founder developed a way to create customized electric radiant heat mats for recreational vehicles. Fast forward to today and we're one of the leading manufacturers of electric radiant floor heating mats for homeowners that are looking to save money on their heating and gas bills while getting the best that radiant floor heating has to offer. Designed and built right here in the USA, the Gold Heat electric radiant mat is a great way to heat any space.