Sustainability of Hot Water Radiant Heat

In-floor heating systems, using hot water radiant heat, have become the most contemporary form of domestic heating installations. Home heating systems can be categorized into two basic categories — hydronic and convection heating systems. Convection-based central heating configurations use the principle of circulating heated air to warm-up the living space. The more recent and improved form of home heating is hydronic radiant heating wherein heated water is circulated. The most common forms of hot-water radiant heating systems are in-floor (under-floor) and wall-based heating systems.

Faster Heating

Convectional heating is based on the principle of heating the air first which then circulates through the domestic space. The heated air passes-on some of the heat to things with which it makes contact. This increases the chances of losing heat as air escapes through doors and windows. In radiant heating, the transfer of heat is direct. This is best explained by in-floor radiant heating, where the heated floor, passes on the heat with minimal loss. Water is readily heated by coils installed below the floor. The heated floor transfers the heat to everything that touches it, including the room’s occupants. This also raises the effectively of radiant heating systems as a central heating system, since the heat is spread more, uniformly. Thus, chances of certain parts of the house becoming overheated are negated. In convectional heating systems, there is scope for heated air being concentrated in some part of the room.


Hot-water radiant heating systems use hydronic coils that can be easily retrofitted within a house. The installation process is undemanding. Essentially, it involves laying down a calculated number of coils which are then covered with a cement/concrete-based mix. The coils are retailed in form of tubing that can be easily inserted within the wet concrete-mix. Many easy-to-understand, self-installation installation kits are available in the market. Since the entire installation is beneath the surface of a wall or a floor, it doesn't affect the aesthetic dynamics of the room. Convectional (air-based) heating systems may not always offer this advantage.

Other Benefits

Radiant heating systems are often recommended, as they do not affect the moisture content of the room. Forced-air heating is known to dry-up the air, often forcing people to install humidifiers. In an overall perspective, the heating through hot water radiant systems is faster and is retained for a longer period. This means direct savings in the form of reduced electricity bills. Further, since air is not being forced to circulate through the house, distribution of dust particles through the living space is reduced.

Evaluating Your Hot-water Radiant Heating Need

This form of central heating is recommended if your house has multiple rooms and wall-like barriers. Homes that have high ceilings and numerous windows too are better heated with radiant heating. Such homes have poor insulation of heat and interrupt the proper circulation of heated air. Radiant heating is ideal if the house is small and there is severe space restriction when considering a heating system. Innovative forms of installation like radiant staples can be used. These are much smaller than the tubing commonly used for radiant heating installations. Radiant staples can be easily fixed beneath the sub-flooring, according to packaged instructions.