A steam heat system is the most traditional type of heating for a home and works by using a boiler or other type of heater to heat water that will create steam which is then blown through ducts into a the home to heat it. A radiant heating on the other hand does not blow air into the home, but rather works by safely heating coils which are placed under the flooring. The heat from the coils warms up the floor and subsequently warms the people and items in the house through heat transfer.
Pros and Cons of Steam Heat
Being the more traditional heating system, steam heating is more economical and can also be used for cooling a house in the summer months. Unfortunately, because of all the air flowing through the vents, dust can easily be blown into a room aggravating the allergies of people in the house. Air is also constantly escaping with the opening and closing of windows and doors, making steam heat often very inefficient.
Pros and Cons of Radiant Heat
A major advantage of radiant heating systems is that since is works by heat transfer, objects and people are warmed up instead of the room itself. This allows the heat to stay in a room regardless of open windows or doors, making it very efficient because you can keep the actual thermostat a few degrees lower than normal. A couple of disadvantages of radiant heat, however, are that it cannot also serve as a cooling system and it can be rather expensive to install.