Pros And Cons Of Radiant Floor Heating Systems

Not long ago, your only real choices for heating a home were forced air, standard radiators, and electric baseboard heaters. Now, there's another choice to consider: radiant floor heating. In this style of heating system, hot water is circulated through skinny pipes that run under the floors in your home. The water heats the floors, and the heat subsequently dissipates throughout the rest of your home.  Many homeowners find this style of heating appealing, but before you agree to have it installed in your home, it's important to consider both the pros and the cons.

Pro: Your home "feels" warmer with radiant floor heating.

If you have standard steam radiators or forced air heating, you might often feel chilly even if the temperature of your room is warm. This is because the floors stay chilly, and when you step on them, that chill passes through your body. With radiant floor heating, you feel a lot cozier, even at lower temperatures, because your feet never get chilled. The floors are always warm.

Pro: Radiant floor heating is quiet.

Most systems are completely silent. At the very most, you might hear a slight clicking noise when the system turns on and a flowing noise as water flows through the pipes. This is a lot more pleasant than the constant blowing noises associated with forced air or the whistling that can occur when steam radiators are misadjusted in the slightest.

Pro: There are no vents or radiators to take up space.

Planning your furniture arrangement around the placement of vents or radiators can be limiting. With radiant floor heating, there are no vents or radiators to account for, which gives you more freedom in your interior design.

Con: If leaks occur, they are hard to address.

As long as you have your system installed by an experienced professional, the chances of a leak are low. But, mistakes and malfunctions do happen. If there is a leak in the pipes that carry the hot water through your home, it can do a lot of damage – and accessing the pipe for repairs may involve removing a portion of the floor.

Con: You'll need a separate system for cooling.

If you live in a cool environment and don't need air conditioning, then there's no reason to worry about this limitation. But, if you want to have air conditioning in the summer, you'll need to have a separate system installed. Many homeowners with radiant floor heating opt for ductless air conditioning systems or window units. With a forced air system, on the other hand, you can integrate a furnace and air conditioner with the same duct system.