Radiant Heat vs. Forced Air: Choosing A Heating System for Modern Homes, Offices, and Institutional Facilities

The crucial difference between forced-air and radiant heating is this: forced-air heating heats the air, radiant heating warms people and objects in the room directly.

When home owners and businesses choose a heating system, they consider ease and cost of installation, energy efficiency, the effectiveness of heating, and several other factors. Let’s have a look at how radiant heating and forced-air heating compare on these factors.

We’ll be contrasting modern forced-air heating systems with the state-of-the-art in infrared radiant electric heating technology: CeramiCircuit™ Electric Radiant Electric Heaters, which can be installed at both the ceiling and the ground level to provide direct, zone-controlled heating to rooms.

Heating Air vs. Heating People

Forced-air systems use a combination of convection and conduction: the air is heated in the furnace; conduction, then fans move it through ducts into rooms; convection, where it comes into contact with people and transfers heat to them; again conduction. The inefficiency of this method of heating occurs because air is a very poor conductor. The average home with a 90% efficient, 80,000 BTU forced air furnace delivers only about 63% of the total energy produced to the occupants due to heat lost in the delivery process. This same home can be efficiently heated with 49,000 BTU’s of CeramiCircuitTM Radiant Electric heaters, and it will create a healthier and more comfortable environment.

Why are CeramiCircuit™ Radiant Electric Heaters so efficient? Because they are installed in the rooms to be heated and use infrared energy to warm objects in the room, including people. Air is transparent and 100% efficient at transferring infrared heat waves. In turn, the heat is being produced and consumed by the occupants in the same space, and delivery losses are eliminated due to the efficiency at which radiant heat energy travels through the air. In short, it s more efficient to heat people directly than to heat air and then move it great distances to try and achieve the same result. This is why a typical home or business owner will save between 34 and 73 percent on their heating bills using CeramiCircuit™ Radiant Electric Heaters.

Air Stratification

Hot air rises and gathers in layers near the ceiling. Most of us spend our time down at floor level, which doesn’t benefit from the thick layers of hot air that gather at the top of rooms. Consequently, to ensure the whole room is heated to a comfortable temperature, significant energy is spent heating empty space.

CeramiCircuit™ Radiant Electric Cove and Ceiling Heaters are typically installed at ceiling level. They direct heat down into the room, and because they don’t transmit heat via the air, heat gets to where it’s needed and stays there.

Duct Leakage

Duct leakage is a significant source of wasted heat in forced-air heating systems. The heated air travels through ducts and heat is lost all along the way.

The ducts typically wind through unoccupied and unheated areas of a house like attics and basements, wall and ceiling spaces, and heat leaks out into these spaces. Each time a duct makes a turn heat volume is also lost. And, of course, every time a door or window is opened, energy is lost to the environment as hot air is forced outside from the pressure created by the fan driven furnace. [NOTE: Any heated air suffers from this exchange, even ours. This loss is magnified by building pressure imbalance created by blower motors in forced air systems. Typically, when you open an outside door, cold air rushes in down below because it is heavier than warm air, and warm air flows out up above. This is most easily demonstrated by burning incense or allowing my wife to cook. When a blower motor is on while opening a door, this exchange is dramatically increased. If the blower motor is off, the exchange will be equal using forced or radiant heat.]

CeramiCircuit™   Radiant Electric Heaters suffer from none of these drawbacks. Nearly none?


We’ve already established that CeramiCircuit™ Radiant Electric heating is less expensive to run and more efficient than forced air heating, but it’s also less time-consuming and expensive to install.

Radiant Electric Heat’s Cove heaters are self-contained units that can be quickly. Radiant infrared energy heaters are an economical option for adding heating to buildings where the cost of running new forced-air ducts, or hydronic lines is prohibitively expensive.

CeramiCircuit™ heaters are low-maintenance, easily installed heating units that provide fast, even heating for rooms of any size.

About the Author jbriggs