Winters in Plainville, Illinois can drop well below zero. Several weeks of these temperatures explain why people are willing to spend a lot of money yearly on heating their homes.
Finding the most cost-effective heating system for your home will depend on the availability of fuel types in your area, your budget, and your personal preferences. The most common choices are natural gas, oil, propane, electricity, and wood.
Two common ways to distribute heat through the home are forced air heating and radiant heating. Here are some factors that can help you decide which one of these two heating processes is best for your home.
A Description of a Typical Forced-air Heating System
A forced-air heating system is a system that uses a blower to carry warmth throughout your home. Homes with central heating systems push warm air through a ductwork system.
A furnace is usually located at the center of the home or in the basement. Standard forced-air heating fuels include natural gas, electricity, and oil.
The Pros and Cons of Forced-air Heating Systems
One of the biggest pros of a forced-air heating system is that the same ductwork can be used to cool the home. The system works by pulling in air from the house, passing the air through a series of filters that improve the quality of the air, and then redistributing the warm air in the home. Central forced-air heating circulates air throughout the house, promoting healthy airflow.
The downside of a forced-air heating system is that it is prone to air leakage, which reduces efficiency. Uneven air distribution can happen if the system is not adequately sized or installed. Blowing air around in the home can stir up dirt, particulates, and allergens. And, finally, a forced-air heating system can be noisy to operate.
After mentioning a few cons associated with a forced-air heating system, you must know that the biggest downside of it is heat loss. The air from the furnace and air handler must travel through several metal tubes to reach its destination. This means that there are multiple opportunities for the hot air to leak out, even if there is a tiny opening in the ducts. In most homes, the ductwork travels through unheated attics or basements, increasing heat loss.
Another downside of forced-air heating is that since heat rises, higher levels of the home are warmer than the basement or first level. Additionally, you must run the furnace and heat the whole house to warm the basement or one room.
If a home does not already have air ducts, you will need to install them before using a central heating system. Installing a mini-split system could be more cost-effective to install in a home without an existing system of ducts. However, replacing parts on a mini-split system can be very expensive.
What Is Radiant Heating?
Radiant floor heating heats a surface directly using touch to transfer energy. Radiant heating is produced using electricity, air, or hot water directly contacting the surface it is installed in.
The produced heat is transferred to objects and people in the room via infrared radiation. In most cases, radiant heating is installed beneath the floor to heat the entire home.
The Pros and Cons of Radiant Heating
Radiant heating adds supplemental heat to rooms that are not adequately heated with a forced-air system. One of its biggest pluses is that radiant heat eliminates inefficient heat loss since warmth is not distributed through the air.
Radiant heating systems are allergy friendly compared to forced-air systems, which can distribute allergens throughout the house. When comparing the two heating sources, radiant heating is a lot quieter, more efficient, and allows you to adjust the heat level in individual rooms using a programmable thermostat.
You get the ability to customize a room’s comfort level independently of the rest of the house while at the same time saving significant amounts of money on energy. There is no point in heating rooms in the home that are not being used.
One of the biggest cons of radiant heating is the expense, especially if you install it in the whole house. Another downside is that radiant heating provides heat but does not condition the air.
Since radiant heating is installed underneath the floor, it isn't easy to access when it is time for repairs or maintenance. When adequately installed, electric floor heating requires little to no maintenance. If maintenance is needed, our technicians at TR Miller Heating, Cooling & Plumbing have the troubleshooting tools and expertise to make the repair process not as overwhelming as it once was.
The Cost of Forced-air Heating Versus Radiant Heating
Radiant heating is more efficient, making it less expensive to operate. The price you will spend per square foot of radiant heating will depend on the size of the room or the size of the home you are looking to heat. When you talk to our technicians at TR Miller Heating, Cooling & Plumbing, we can evaluate your home and provide you with an estimate of potential radiant heating costs. Depending on the size of your home, installing radiant heating could mean a significant financial investment. However, you could recoup some of your initial investment through utility savings each month over the long term.
Forced-air systems are also economical to install, especially if the home already has a ductwork system. If maintenance is needed, repairing a furnace is usually less expensive than repairing radiant heating, as the technicians can easily access the unit to make needed repairs. With radiant heating, technicians will need to rip open the floor to access the components that need to be repaired.
Radiant Heating Versus Forced-air: Which Is Right for Your Home?
Several factors need to be considered when answering this question. Radiant heating systems are likely your best bet if the sky is the limit with your budget. Radiant heating offers even and energy-efficient heating.
You want to consider the upfront costs versus the operational costs of radiant heating versus forced-air heating. Think about the systems' versatility, your personal indoor air quality needs, and the level of comfort you want.
Deciding on a heating system for your home can be stressful, especially since it is a significant financial investment. Our team of experienced technicians and installers at TR Miller Heating, Cooling & Plumbing will be happy to take the time to evaluate your current system and your home to help you determine which heating system is best for your budget and your household.
Trusted Plumbing and HVAC Services in Plainfield, Illinois
Our experienced, licensed technicians and plumbers have served the greater Chicago area since the early 2000s. As a family-owned company, we have generations of experience providing emergency service, offering straightforward pricing, and using the latest technology. We are members of the ACCA, and our technicians are NATE certified.
Our services include HVAC installation, repair, and maintenance, as well as indoor air quality services. We offer burst pipe repair, clogged toilet repair, water leak detection, gas leak detection, and more. Contact TR Miller Heating, Cooling & Plumbing today to learn more about our unique products and services.