Radiant Floor Heating System vs. Forced Air System

Radiant Floor Heating System

A radiant floor heating system differs from a forced air system in several ways. The differences are distinct when it comes to installation and even the method of operation.


A radiant heating system is made of metal pipes or coils that are installed beneath the floor. In the instance of metal pipes, the homeowner has several options of energy sources that they can use. This includes heated water or air. If the system contains coils, then these are made in such a way that they heat up when electricity is passed through them. A radiant heating system is installed underneath the floor tiles, and thus works best when dealing with a house under construction. It can also be ideal when a renovation is taking place.

A forced air heating system consists of a central furnace that runs on electricity or gas and distributes heated air throughout the house using a network of ducts and vents that are strategically placed in the rooms in the house.

Fuel Options

When it comes to forced air systems, you have the option of choosing between gas and electricity. With the radiant heating system, you can choose from several options which include gas, electricity, wood, kerosene or oil. Oil works if you have a hydroponic system.

The Good And The Bad Of The Systems

Forced air heating systems are capable of accommodating central humidifiers, air conditioners and air purifiers. As such, the applications of the forced air system are diverse and versatile. The radiant heating system is best applicable for homes and small spaces.

In terms of maintenance and repairs, it is much easier to handle the forced air system as compared to repairing in-floor heating. This is because the later is beneath the floor and for repairs to be undertaken you have to remove the floor.

Heat Loss

The potential for heat loss is much higher in a forced air system since the heated air rises and the lower parts of the house tend to be cooler as a result. As such, you might end up spending a lot of money to heat up your entire home properly. With the radiant heating, there is no heat loss since the system does not utilize heated air to keep your home warm. You can restrict the heating to only the necessary parts of your home and thus end up paying minimal bills for your heating needs.

When it comes to choosing what system to install in your home, there are several considerations you will keep in mind. First of all, are you looking to heat up the entire house or just the living room and kitchen for instance? If you want heated floors in only a few rooms of your home, the radiant heating is a great bet. If you want your entire home to be heated, the forced air system might be practical.

It is also necessary to consider the amount of renovation work that you are willing to undertake and invest in. If you choose the radiant heating system, you should be prepared to undertake plenty of renovation since you will need to take your floor apart and then put it back together.