Radiant Heating Calgary Options
The perfect home heating system is one that delivers even, comfortable warmth while keeping energy costs down. Not every system excels in both of these areas. A lot of homeowners in Calgary are getting excellent results from radiant heating systems.
Before deciding whether or not radiant heating would be a good fit for your own home, you’ll need to learn more about how it works and what options you have with radiant heating equipment. It’s also a good idea to find out how radiant heating stacks up against traditional furnace-equipped heating systems. Fortunately, you can find a lot of the information you need right here!
How Radiant Heating Works
Radiant heaters rely on infrared light to spread warmth through your home. As you might remember from science class, infrared light is common (the sun emits vast quantities of it) but not visible to the naked eye. Infrared light heats every surface it strikes (skin, clothes, etc.) through the heat transfer process known as conduction. This is why standing in direct sunlight is warmer than standing in the shade. Objects that absorb radiant heat and become warmer than their environment subsequently release that heat into the space around them. This leads to an even distribution of heat energy throughout the home.
Different Kinds Of Radiant Heating
There are several different ways to introduce radiant heat to your home. The most common radiant heating systems rely on wall or ceiling panels or directly heated floors.
* Radiant Floor Heat
Radiant floor heating systems are classified according to the mechanism they use to heat up the floor. The two common choices are electricity and hot water – systems using the latter are known as hydronic heating.In electric radiant systems, electric cables are included in the floor assembly of your home. Because of the relatively steep cost of electricity, this is only an affordable way to heat your home if the following conditions are met:
* You have thick floors (e.g. concrete) which will hold in heat for up to 10 hours
* Your local utility company discounts electrical power consumed during off-peak hours (i.e. time-of-use billing)
Electric radiant floor heating is sometimes a good choice for heating an addition to your home. Installing such a system may be more cost-effective than extending your existing heating equipment to cover the new area.
Hydronic floor heating systems are highly popular due to their greater economy. They heat up your home’s floors by circulating heated water through tubes beneath your finish flooring. The head required is suppliedby a boiler. Increasing or decreasing the temperature of the water and its flow allows you to control the temperature of each room in your home independently.
* Radiant Panels
Radiant panels are made out of conductive metal – typically aluminum – and attached to the walls and/or ceiling of your home. As with floor systems, radiant panel heaters can work with either electricity or hot water. The potential for hot water leaks tends to discourage most homeowners from using hydronic panel heating; this makes electrical radiant heating the option of choice in most homes.
Of course, electrically-powered radiant heating panels are relatively expensive to operate. This is why they’re often used to supplement a more efficient heating system.
Radiant heating panels operate via line-of-sight, meaning that the closer you are to the panel, the warmer you feel. Ceiling-only systems are sometimes criticized because they make your head and shoulders feel warmer than your lower extremities.
Radiant Heating Benefits
* Immediate Response
Radiant heaters deliver immediate heat energy as soon as they’re switched on. Because most other heating systems rely on air conduction, they can take quite a while to raise the ambient temperature of a room to comfortable levels. Radiant heaters, by contrast, reach full operating temperature in just minutes.
* Few Allergy Problems
In a conventional forced-air system, warm air is circulated throughout your home. This spreads around dust, pollen, and other light particulate matter that might have collected in your furnace and ducts. Because they transmit heat via infrared light, radiant heaters do not degrade the indoor air quality of your home. This makes radiant heating especially attractive to families with significant allergy issues.
* Affordable Operation
A properly designed radiant heating system can lower your heating costs by as much as 50 percent. Because forced-air systems rely on moving air around, they require ducts. Radiant systems do not. In a conventional heating system, tremendous amounts of hot air – and energy – are lost in the ductwork.
* Lower Water Temperatures (Hydronic Systems Only)
Radiant heating systems use a lower, more efficient water temperature than baseboard heaters or steam radiators. Because they diffuse heat directly into the people and furnishings of a room, they do not need to expend energy heating up the air.
* Virtually Invisible
Radiant heaters have incredibly small footprints. Floor heating systems are entirely invisible, and wall and ceiling panels can easily be concealed in most ordinary room finishes. Unless you point out your system to guests, no one will be able to tell that your home is equipped with radiant heaters.
Radiant heaters do not rely on noisy moving parts like blowers or fans.
* Low Maintenance
Because radiant heating systems operate on closed loops, they’re never exposed to dirt and dust. Unlike forced-air ducted heating systems, radiant systems never require cleaning.
Picking The Right Radiant Heating
Installing radiant floor heating can be extremely expensive if you’re retrofitting an existing home. From an economic standpoint, radiant ceilings are the cheapest way to enjoy the benefits of radiant heating.
Radiant panels are tremendously flexible. They respond quickly, and they can be controlled individually to fine-tune the temperature in the room. Installing radiant panels is a straightforward and fast process.
While hydronic radiant floors (HRF) are more expensive to install, they offer considerable advantages when it comes to long-term operating costs. They also perform exceptionally well in rooms where occupants might be barefoot (e.g. bathrooms).
Radiant heating systems make an excellent choice for meeting either primary or supplementary heating needs. Although initial installation costs tend to be high, in the long term a properly-designed radiant system offers you considerable savings. This is why Calgary homeowners are incorporating compact, efficient radiant heating into more and more homes.