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The Basics of Radiant Heating for North Carolina Homeowners

The basics of radiant heating are long-established. Since the days of the Roman Empire when heat from bonfires was channeled into conduits beneath the floors of villas during winter, people have known that heating from the ground up offered certain comfort advantages. While the basics of radiant heating remain unchanged, the technology has come a long way. Today, homeowners have both hydronic and electrical alternatives for radiant heating, and the systems are proving to be a worthy challenger to conventional forced-air HVAC systems.

Hot Air in Motion

Heating air with a furnace burner, then blowing it through ductwork to warm the house presents energy efficiency shortfalls and comfort drawbacks. Heat loss from hot air is rapid and substantial, so efficiency is compromised. Forced-air systems also stir up airborne allergens, generate noise and tend to heat the ceiling better than the living space of a room.

Why Radiant Heating Is Better

Radiant systems utilize the floor as the heat radiator. In hydronic heating, tubes embedded in the slab circulate water heated by a central boiler. Electrical systems incorporate mats installed below a wooden subfloor that generate warmth with electrical resistance. The warmed surface of the floor emits infrared heat energy that gently rises, warming people and objects in the room instead of the air and the ceiling. Because the floor retains and releases heat at a measured rate, occupants are spared the discomfort of hot/cold temperature swings that inevitably occur as a forced-air system cycles on and off.

Radiant Heating Options

Hydronic heating is the most popular radiant method that’s often installed at original construction or later in the course of a major remodel. Electrical systems that can be more readily added beneath floors are frequently a more doable choice for an existing home. Because the floor in each room can be custom-heated to a temperature appropriate to that specific room, radiant systems provide great latitude for zoning heat in residences, allowing superior flexibility to fine-tune the comfort level throughout all rooms.

For more information about the basics of radiant heating for your home in Greenville, Kinston or New Bern, contact the professionals at J & J Mechanical. We’re proud to help with all of your home comfort needs!

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