Radiant Heating – Consistent Warmth, Low Energy Bills

Radiant Heating: Efficient and Comfortable Home Heating Solutions

Radiant Floor HeatingRadiant heating is an exciting alternative for Edmonton homeowners looking for a cost-effective heating system that provides consistent warmth and low energy bills.

If you are wondering if radiant heaters or in-floor heating are for you, let us familiarize you with how they work, the different types, and how they compare to the vastly popular furnace. This knowledge will help you decide if a radiant heating system is right for your home.

Other Resource: Supplement your heating with infrared heat.

How They Work

Radiant heaters creates warmth through infrared light. You may remember from science class that we cannot see infrared light such as light from the sun. The sun emits light that heats our skin, clothes and other objects around us.  The heat transfer is called conduction.  When we go into the shade, we receive less direct light, and thus, less warmth.

Once an object absorbs radiant heat, it then emits radiant heat to other objects, and so on.  The end result is even heat distribution throughout the house.

Types of Radiant Heaters

Radiant heating systems supply heat directly from the floors or from panels in the walls or ceiling of a house.

Radiant Floor Heaters

Electric radiant floors usually consist of electric cables built into the floor. However, due to the high cost of power, they are only viable if both of the following occurs:

  • the floor absorbs and retains heat for up to 10 hours (e.g., thick concrete floor); and
  • your local electrical company offers time-of-use rates (discounts for off-peak hours).

Electric radiant floors may be effective for home additions where it would be impractical to extend the heating system.

Hydronic (liquid) systems are the most popular and cost-effective radiant heaters.  By way of tubing below the flooring, hydronic systems circulate heated water from a boiler.  By regulating the level of hot water, you can control the temperature of each room.

Radiant Panels

Rad panels mounted on walls and ceiling are normally made of aluminum.  Both  electricity and hot water power radiant panels, although some consumers worry about leakage with the latter. Thus, the popular choice is electrically heated radiant panels.

Like any type of heat powered by electricity, radiant panels are expensive to operate.  However, they are very useful as a backup heat source.

Since rad heating panels operate on a line-of-sight basis (you are more comfortable closer to the panel), some Edmonton homeowners don’t like that their heads and shoulders are warmer than the rest of their body with ceiling radiant systems.

Benefits of Radiant Heaters

1. Energy Efficiency

Radiant heating systems are highly efficient because they heat objects and surfaces directly rather than the air. This direct transfer of heat reduces energy loss and often results in lower energy bills compared to traditional forced-air systems.

2. Consistent and Even Heating

Radiant heating provides uniform warmth throughout the space, eliminating cold spots and drafts. This consistent heat distribution enhances comfort as the entire room is evenly heated from the floor up.

3. Improved Indoor Air Quality

Since rad heating systems do not rely on air circulation, they do not spread dust, allergens, or pollutants around the house. This can significantly improve indoor air quality, making it a healthier option for those with allergies or respiratory issues.

4. Quiet Operation

Radiant heating systems operate silently, unlike forced-air systems that can produce noise from fans and blowers. This quiet operation creates a more peaceful living environment.

5. Space Saving

Without the need for bulky ducts or radiators, radiant heating systems free up space and allow for more flexible interior design options. The heating elements are typically installed under the floor, in walls, or in ceilings, making them unobtrusive.

6. Increased Comfort

Radiant heat is often perceived as more comfortable because it warms the occupants and objects directly. This method of heating is similar to the natural warmth of sunlight and can make indoor spaces feel cozier.

7. Versatility

Radiant heating systems can be installed in various settings, including homes, offices, and outdoor areas. They are compatible with different flooring types, such as tile, hardwood, and concrete, offering versatility in design and application.

8. Reduced Heating Costs

The efficiency of radiant heating systems often leads to lower heating costs over time. By maintaining a consistent temperature and reducing energy loss, homeowners can enjoy significant savings on their energy bills.

9. Low Maintenance

Radiant heating systems require minimal maintenance compared to forced-air systems, which need regular filter changes and duct cleaning. This low-maintenance aspect can save homeowners time and money.

10. Enhanced Property Value

Homes with radiant heating systems are often more attractive to potential buyers due to the numerous benefits they offer. This can increase the property’s resale value and appeal in the real estate market.

Choosing the Right Type of Radiant Heating

For existing homes, the cost of labour and materials make it cost prohibitive to install radiant floor heating.  On the other hand, radian ceilings are cost-effective since all you have to do is lower a ceiling, making it a popular choice with homeowners.

Radiant panels have the quickest response time of any heating technology.   Homeowners can increase the temperature setting and be comfortable within minutes.  Moreover, since panels can be individually controlled for each room, you can conserve energy by turning down the heat in rooms infrequently occupied.

Radiant panels cost far less than radiant floors.  In most cases they cost less than half of a radiant floor.   They take less effort to design and install.

Hydronic radiant heating (HRF) systems are less expensive to operate than panels since natural gas is cheaper than electricity.  Moreover, radiant floors are best in rooms with smooth surface floors (e.g., marble, tile stone or wood), such as bathrooms, where occupants are often barefoot.


You can use radiant heaters either as a main source of heating for your home or as a supplementary heating source.

The cost of installing radiant heaters in your home may be more expensive than any other heating systems. However, if you look long-term, radiant heating is the most cost-effective and energy-efficient heating system available on the market today.

Many homeowners in Edmonton are now shifting to a radiant heating that combines heating efficiency, energy efficiency and clean air without the need for bulky ductwork.

A radiant heater is able to provide warmth at a low temperature setting. As well, you can lower temperatures in rooms used less often. Both contribute to lower energy bills.

Being 100% efficient, radiant heaters are now gaining popularity for home heating in Edmonton and the rest of Canada. Radiant heaters transform all of the energy that passes through it into heat. Therefore, there is no unused heat energy.

Contract a professional HVAC Contractor to find out if radiant heating is right for you.


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