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Radiant heat is often slow to heat a room because the water must first be heated and circulated through the pipes. It can be expensive to install and maintain because of the difficulty involved in getting to the tubing systems if a problem occurs with the system. Air conditioning is not available with this method, as it requires a completely separate system of ductwork.
Hydronic heat is also known as a hot water baseboard system. Much like radiant heat systems, a boiler heats hot water, which then is circulated through tubes; for hydronic heat, these tubes are located in baseboard heating units attached to the walls in each room of the home. Thesesystems are usually quiet, energy efficient, and may be fueled by electricity, oil, or natural gas. Temperature can usually be controlled separately in each room. Baseboard units should not be blocked by curtains or furniture, making them inconvenient for some users, and as with radiant heat, hydronic systems can be slow to warm a room and require a separate cooling system.
Steam radiant heating systems heat a room through upright units referred to as "radiators." These systems use either one or two pipes, and heat water through a variety of methods such as electricity, oil, or natural gas. While these units may be energy efficient and warm a room quickly, they can be inconvenient for furniture placement, as the walls and surrounding area must be clear to avoid fire hazards. Many people do not like the way radiators look in a room, and therefore choose another heating system. A separate system is also required for cooling.
Geothermal heating systems are a more recent option for heating and cooling a home. Thesesystems can be expensive to install; however, because of their ability to use the heat from the Earth to regulate temperature, they are said to greatly reduce the costs associated withheating and cooling a home. This system works for both heating and cooling because it uses the relatively constant temperature of the ground.
When a homeowner is choosing a heating system for his home, he should consider how the system will be powered in addition to how much it will cost. Considering that many of these options require separate cooling systems, it may be best to use a central heating system to combine heating with cooling in those regions where both are required. Focusing on specific needs will assist homeowners with making a decision about which system to use.
radiant Heating Systems on wiseGEEK:
The average hydronic radiant heating can be controlled using a standard thermostat, similar to those used to operate a furnace. Hydronicradiant heating systems are often broken down into different zones so that homeowners can decide to heat only a portion of the home.
Indoor air quality has become a major concern for many homeowners and renters, and electric radiant heating provides an alternative solution where forced air heating is seen as simply "too dirty." Although some electric radiant heater systems are quite primitive, involving a central heated stove that radiates heat, some of the options on the market include much more innovative and sophisticated design.
Types Heating System Fuels: oil, gas, electricity, solar, etc
Heating furnaces, boilers, and steam boilers may make use of different energy sources. Your heating system may use
gas (LP or bottled gas or piped-in natural gas) (GAS PIPING, VALVES, CONTROLS),
oil (typically No. 2 home heating oil or a kerosene and oil mix), (OIL TANKS and OIL TANK GAUGES and OIL TANK PIPING & PIPING DEFECTS)
electricity (ELECTRIC HEAT),
solar energy (SOLAR ENERGY SYSTEMS),
geothermal heat source (ground water) (GEOTHERMAL HEATING SYSTEMS)
or a combination of these.
Warm Air or hot air heating Furnaces
Mid efficiency gas furnace (C) Carson Dunlop AssociatesWarm Air Heating Systems - Furnaces: If the heat in your building is provided by warm air that flows out of ceiling, wall, or floor air supply registers into the occupied space, or if your heating system uses a water-to-air heating system then the air which warms the living space is probably being delivered through large or small diameter ducts, registers, air filters, and a furnace blower, and the air is being heated by a gas, oil, or electric furnace, or perhaps by a heat pump or a geo-thermal system.
Modern warm air heat furnaces use "forced air" - that is, a blower that circulates building air from return air registers through the heating furnace and pushes it into the occupied space through ductwork and supply registers.
In modern furnaces the heating air flow direction may be "upflow" (cool air enters at the bottom of the furnace and warm air exits at the top, or "downflow" (cool air enters at the top and flows out of the furnace side or bottom such as in our sketch at left).
Older warm air heating systems used gravity (warm air rises by convection) to deliver heat to the occupied space without a blower fan. See AGE of HEATERS, BOILERS, FURNACES for an illustration of a gravity furnace.
For a detailed guide to inspecting and maintaining warm air heating systems or furnaces, see FURNACES, HEATING and FURNACE CONTROLS & SWITCHES and FURNACE OPERATION DETAILS
Sketch of a typical warm air heating system (above left) is provided courtesy of Carson Dunlop Associates.