In climates with long, cold winters, radiant heating is generally regarded as the most comfortable, although forced-air heating systems still dominate, even in Michigan. Radiant heat mimics the sun. It heats objects instead of the air, and by doing so, creates even, long-lasting heat.
Once only financially feasible for new construction, new technological advances make it possible to retrofit homes with radiant floors, walls and baseboards. The most energy efficient types are hydronic heating systems that heat a liquid in a boiler that circulates through tubing. These systems use gas or oil as the fuel.
Electric resistance heating is available, although in a climate like Michigan’s, will increase electric bills substantially throughout the winter.
Because heat rises, radiant floors are the most comfortable to use with radiant systems. The coils or tubing lay on the subfloor and are covered with ceramic tile or thin carpet. New products, called “dry floors,” use tubes that run through the floor joists and use reflective insulation to direct the heat up.
These panels can be placed on walls, along baseboards, or in ceilings. Although they can use hot liquids to disseminate heat, most of the time they’re electric-only because it’s remotely possible that they could leak water. Since electric systems cost more to operate, these panels are most often used to heat small, infrequently used spaces.
Benefits of Radiant Heat
- The heat penetrates all surfaces and objects in the house, and it loses heat slowly when it’s off.
- No air blows around, which reduces airborne particulates. People who have allergies or asthma find relief with radiant heat.
- There is no noise associated with radiant heating and they don’t dry out the air.
- It’s easy to control temperatures on a room-by-room basis by installing individual thermostats for each zone in the home.
- Radiant systems last much longer than forced-air furnaces.
Radiant heating systems will increase wintertime comfort and offer measurable benefits compared to forced-air heating. If you’d like to learn more, contact Team Bob’s Heating Cooling Plumbing, providing trusted HVAC services for homeowners in Grand Traverse County and the surrounding areas.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Traverse City, Michigan and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about radiant heating and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 231-714-6196.
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