forced-air furnaces

Furnaces, HVAC System

The Truth: Radiant Heat vs. Furnace

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There are many different options when it comes to heating your home. The most common is a forced-air furnace. But you can also install a radiant heating system. Both have advantages and disadvantages. Let's take a look at radiant heat vs furnace options.

Radiant Heating

With radiant heat, heating coils are installed beneath your floorboards. Heat then rises, spreading throughout the room and providing an even, comfortable layer of warmth. Not only are you warmed by the ambient heat, but also by direct contact with the heating source. There's nothing like walking on a radiant floor on cold mornings.

Radiant heating doesn't use ductwork, which eliminates the energy losses that can come from leaky or damaged ducts. Thus it uses much less energy than a forced air system, while heating a room more evenly. The drawback is, no ductwork also means no cooling in the summer. If you do get radiant heat, a dedicated duct system would still have to be installed for your A/C.

Radiant heat is also expensive to install, particularly when retrofitting an existing home, as it means tearing up the floorboards. And if you have thick carpet or area rugs on the floor, they act as insulation, and the radiant heat won't be able to spread effectively throughout your home.


A forced air system has its own advantages when it comes to radiant heat vs furnace. It warms your home more quickly and provides better air circulation.

The main drawback is dealing with energy loss from damaged ductwork, air leaks, poor airflow, and more. Additionally, the ductwork can circulate allergens and other contaminants through your home. The heat isn't as even, and the lower areas of your home will have trouble getting heat at all.

So ultimately, which is better? It all depends on your specific heating and cooling needs. Talk to an expert and let them help you decide which is the best option for your home.

For help solving the radiant heat vs furnace conundrum for yourself, contact us at Air Assurance. We proudly serve all of Broken Arrow's heating and cooling needs.


Forced-Air Furnaces: Understand How They Work Before You Buy


Forced-air furnaces are one of the most common and popular choices for heating your home, and with good reason. Forced-air furnaces are the most energy-efficient and comprehensive choice for keeping your home toasty in winter. Learning how these furnaces work can help you choose the right model for your home.

A forced-air furnace works by burning gas in the heat exchanger. A fan blows air across this exchanger, heating the air and then sending it through the air ducts into your home. When the gas is completely combusted, the flue gases move through the heat exchanger and are vented outside the home.

Efficiency levels

Forced-air furnaces come in two main types, an 80 percent efficiency model and a 90-plus efficiency model. The difference between the two lies in the way that they process and vent combustion air. An 80 percent furnace has one heat exchanger, and connects to your existing flue pipe or chimney to vent 20 percent of the air outside the house, keeping 80 percent of the heated air indoors. A 90-plus furnace has two heat exchangers, using outside air for combustion and venting less than 10 percent outside the home.

Burner settings

Of these two  efficiency models, there are single-stage, two-stage, and modulating furnaces available. "Single-stage" means that the burner uses only one level of heat, "on" or "off." "Two-stage" furnaces have a microprocessor that controls a burner using two levels of heat, high and low. A modulating gas furnace does not come in 80 percent or 90-plus models, but operates at 95 percent or above. These furnaces use a microprocessor to regulate the burner at variable levels, adjusting accordingly to use the least energy possible for the optimum output of heat.

Blower speeds

Furnaces also have two blower speeds. A standard blower blows at a fixed speed and regularity, while a variable-speed will save you money on your electricity bill by adjusting to the heating needs of the house, often improving air circulation and maintaining steadier indoor temperatures.

For more information on furnaces and other home comfort needs, contact Air Assurance, serving the Tulsa area since 1985.Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Image courtesy of Shutterstock