Forced-air heating and cooling systems continuously circulate air through a home’s ducts and registers, quickly distributing pet dander, dust, mold spores, and other allergens throughout the structure. By contrast, radiant heating and cooling systems don’t circulate air at all, and thus don’t keep allergens airborne as long as forced-air systems. That means better indoor air quality – a particularly important consideration for adults and children with allergies, asthma, and other conditions that can be exacerbated by indoor pollution.
Radiant heated and cooled buildings maintain more natural humidity levels.
Studies have shown that that individuals who spend more time in air-conditioned environments have an increased use of health care services. An analysis found more visits for complaints related to ears-nose-and throat problems, respiratory and dermatological problems. Hydronic cooling does not create drafts or dry out the air unnaturally so is healthier.
Heat pumps do not emit fumes, furnaces and boilers burn fuel and emit fumes.
Where electricity is generated without greenhouse gases (like in Ontario) Heat pumps provide a solution to greenhouse gas emissions from heating and cooling buildings.
Radiant heating systems – particularly hydronic systems – often lower utility bills relative to sources of heat, such as forced air. According to Bob Vila, hydronic floor heating systems are up to 30% more efficient than forced-air systems. Water can carry a much greater amount of heat as compared to air , therefore the energy used to pump water is an order of magnitude less than fan energy used in forced air systems.
Perceived warmth is higher in a radiant system as compared to a forced air system.
Greater efficiency for heat pumps can be achieved in hydronic situations because operating heating loads are in the 30 to 40 degree Celsius range. Heat pumps don’t have to work as hard as with air to air.
Hydronic cooling is more efficient than forced air cooling ( air conditioning) since hydronic systems require demand less from the refrigeration cycle since higher temperatures will effectively cool a building, They also only use energy for sensible cooling air based systems must also remove latent heat dehumidifying the air, whether desirable or not, this leads to even greater efficiency gains. *Dehumidifying solutions must be designed in for some Hydronic buildings, although dehumidification is not required at all times.
Efficiency for air to water heat pumps is 30% greater for heating and 40% for cooling.
Most heating systems deliver heat into a room from a focused point, such as a forced-air vent or steam radiator, or a single side, such as a baseboard radiator. The adjacent area is typically the warmest place in the room.
However, as the heated air enters the room, it almost immediately begins to rise towards the ceiling, and only falls after losing much of its heat. That makes the air near the floor noticeably colder – 20 degrees or more – than the air at head level, five or six feet above the ground. The result: cold feet and hot heads. This effect is more pronounced in homes without excellent insulation and when it’s very cold outside.
By contrast, radiant heating systems heat rooms from the floors up, from the ceiling down, walls in, or some combination. The heated surfaces radiate heat in all directions and warm air at a relatively low temperature, transferring heat to other parts of the room at a uniform rate. This means less noticeable temperature contrasts within rooms, little to no vertical temperature stratification, and more comfortable rooms overall.
Hydronic systems particularly in-floor radiant or in ceiling radiant are considerably more comfortable than hot air systems and air conditioning.
Since large areas are typically heated or cooled in a radiant system perceived temperature is more effective in a radiant system as compared to a forced air system. In heating and cooling, draughts are avoided.
Hydronic heating and cooling is virtually silent indoors.