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Radiant Heating and Supplemental Heating

Recently, at the builders show in Orlando, a big company representative told me that I need a supplemental heating system for spring and fall when the temperatures fluctuate greatly. He said that radiant heat takes too long to heat up and cool down. Is this true?

Re: Radiant Heating and Supplemental Heating

It would depend on the quality of the radiant install, & the type (electric radiant, hydronic radiant) but for the most part, the builder was inaccurate.

Hydronic radiant systems are further divided into thick slab radiant and thin slab systems, the thin slab & floor staple up systems are most frequently used & have the faster heat response.

The builder rep may have been vaguely referring to the slow response that some thick slab radiant systems (depending on the quality of the install) have in responding to immediate heating needs.

For example when one wants to take a shower and wants the bathroom much warmer in a short period, or when a child is sick in its room, or when one wants to use a workshop for a few hours, & it is ordinarily kept cold.

With forced air or baseboard systems, the t-stat is simply turned up for a quick response.

With radiant systems, all the rooms of the house are piped as separate zones & it's thus possible to use a higher water temp in the radiant tubes for a faster heat response.

If the system doesn't react fast enough, it is still possible with hydronic to add a hydronc kickspace heater that uses the same heater pipe supply to add more heat for a dedicated situation.

Every person has his/her own sense of what is "comfortable" as far as room temperatures.

The radiant system is designed to vary the water temp inside the tubing, in each room, if needed, so that temperature changes in spring and fall are not an issue.

In addition, there is a choice of indoor reset, of the room temps, or outdoor reset of the house temps.

Thinset and radiant floor staple up systems are much quicker in responding to room temps, than slab systems, and electric radiant is even faster in temp response.


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