Radiant Heating vs. Forced Air

Radiation, Convection (Forced Air) and Conduction are the three main heating types The question is which is better for heating your home.

Radiant heating is the process by which heat is delivered directly to the people or objects by infrared radiation. Example of radiant heat is a wall mounted radiator panel where the heat from the panel is radiated into the room.

Conduction heating is the process by which heat is transferred from one object to another by direct contact. Example of conduction heat is a heated towel rail where the towel is in direct contact with the hot bars of the towel rail.

Convection heating is the process by which heat is transferred through the movement of hot air or liquid. An example of convection heating is reverse cycle air conditioning or fan heaters where the air moves over heating elements before blowing out into the room.

Typically forced air systems will have a single heat outlet in one position in the room such as an air vent in the ceiling or a wall mounted heater. Due to the single heat outlet the movement of hot air around the room is inconsistent and subject to high heat loss. The movement of hot air also causes the movement of dust particles which can be an issue for allergy suffers.

One of the advantages of convection heating systems is that they can quite often be used for cooling as well as heating such as your reverse cycle air conditioning which allows you to use one system all year round.

Some room heaters can be a combination of more than one type of heating. For example, underfloor heating will warm the room by radiating the heat up into the room but will also warm your feet though conduction (direct contact with the heat source).

Radiant heating is typically more efficient than convection heating. As there is no hot air movement with radiant heating the room does not get stuffy and it is ideal form of heating for allergy sufferers.

With Underfloor Heating one of the key benefits is that the heat is spread evenly throughout the entire room ensuring that there is a more even, consistent heat throughout the entire room. Using radiation at the floor level means that you are heating from the ground up ensuring the most comfortable form of heating with warm feet and cool heads.

Typically, radiation heating is a lot easier to control then forced air. As there is no air being blown and the entire room is heating up consistently you aren’t constantly adjusting the heater to achieve a comfortable room temperature.

It is important to consider your environment and the form of heating that will work best for you. If you are in the market for a new heating system, be sure to consider the benefits of radiant heat from an Underfloor Heating System.