What Is Better, Forced Air or Radiant Heat?
How you heat your home has a big impact on how much you pay to heat your home – and how comfortable you will feel in your living space. But how do you choose among your many options if you’re planning to install a new heating system for your custom-built or renovated Northern New Jersey home?
Here we will discuss the pros and cons of two popular home heating options: forced air and radiant heat.
A forced air heating system uses air heated by a furnace to warm the air in the living space. Common forced air heating systems burn natural gas, heating oil, or propane to heat air, which is then pushed through ductwork using fans that deliver heat to vents in each room of the house. When air in your home begins to cool below the temperature you set on your thermostat, it is sent back to the furnace via return air registers for reheating.
- Typically the most sensible choice if you have existing ductwork.
- Warm air felt from vents can increase the perception of warmth in a cold room.
- A forced air system can be particularly cost-effective if installed as an all-in-one solution with cooling equipment (a complete HVAC system).
- A forced air system can incorporate “zones” using a zone controller for increased efficiency.
- Forced air furnaces and air conditioners can be combined with humidifiers, dehumidifiers, air purifiers, etc. for a whole-house indoor air quality solution.
- Duct work leaks can cause you to lose as much as 15 percent of your conditioned air before it ever reaches your living space.
- If your home does not have air ducts, you need to have them installed to use a forced air system or central heating system, which can be costly.
- Air quality in homes with forced air systems can suffer in several ways:
- Conditions inside the ductwork can lead to mold or other microorganism growth, which can be distributed by forced air into the rooms of your home.
- Blowing air from vents can distribute in-room dust and other allergens.
- Vents can limit your options for furniture placement if you want to maximize airflow.
Radiant floor heating
Radiant floor heating warms the objects and people in the room rather than the air around them. The heat is produced by electricity, hot water or air, which makes direct contact with the surface on which you choose to install your system; that heat is then transferred to people and objects in the room via infrared radiation. In most cases, radiant heating systems are installed beneath flooring.
- Radiant heat eliminates the inefficient heat loss created by rising heat, as warmth is not distributed through the air; radiant heat systems are typically about 15 percent more efficient than other heating systems.
- Radiant systems improve air quality, since they don’t push allergens throughout the house and don’t offer microorganisms a place to grow.
- Radiant heating systems also offer more flexibility in furniture placement, since you will not have to contend with blocking vents.
- Radiant heating is installed beneath the floor, which makes it significantly harder to access the heating elements for repairs or maintenance.
- The cost of installing a radiant heating system is typically higher than forced air; installation of a radiant floor typically also takes longer to complete.
- Radiant heating systems increase the height of the floor by up to half an inch, in case vertical space is a factor.
Which heating choice is right for you?
When it comes to heating your NJ home, there are many great options to choose from; the best one will often be a compromise that takes into account your physical space, your budget, and your home comfort preferences.
One thing that you should never compromise on, however, is who installs your equipment. Always choose experienced, trained professionals who will give you a detailed, written estimate on the work to come – like the one you will get from the licensed, bonded pros at Bolkema Fuel Company.
Not sure what kind of heating system is right for you? We can help! Contact a Bolkema heating system expert today to find out more, or to get a FREE, no obligation estimate on heating equipment for your Northern NJ home.