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When our ancestors learned how to make fire, an accomplishment scientists say may have occurred as early as one million years ago, the entire trajectory of human evolution changed for the better.
Fire means cooked food, protection from predators, and most of all, warmth.
Heat's potential took another giant step forward during ancient Roman times. Roman engineers built a system called the hypocaust to keep the water in public bathhouses continuously warm. The hypocast was actually an early radiant heating system!
There are many benefits to radiant heating, but sometimes they get lost in the excitement over newer types of heating technology. Radiant heat can keep you healthier, save money on energy, and protect your home, too!
What Is Radiant Heat?
Radiant heat is what you feel when a sunbeam spontaneously warms your face. Radiant heat is what wafts in your direction from a fireplace or a campfire. The heat literally "radiates" out to you.
Radiant heat feels so natural precisely because it happens all the time in nature. Like all things designed by nature, radiant heat is also incredibly efficient.
Radiant heat works using a process scientists call infrared radiation ("heat radiation"). With infrared radiation, the heat travels with a little help from electromagnetic waves. This is an incredibly efficient way of dispersing heat—in fact, it is the method our sun uses to send heat to us here on Earth!
With radiant heat, the goal is to heat objects, such as people, rather than air. For this reason, the heat you are paying for doesn't get lost when the heated air mixes with the cool air and loses its power to keep you warm. With radiant heat, you get warmer, and then you radiate heat back to those around you.
This is also why good old-fashioned body heat can work well in a pinch to keep everyone in the family warm, including the family dog!
How Does Radiant Heat Keep Your Air Cleaner?
Radiant heat isn't just a more cost-effective and efficient way to stay warm in the winter. It is also a cleaner source of heat!
According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), many of the pollutants, allergens, toxins, and germs that impact us in an indoor setting are spurred on by moisture or air flow or both.
For example, let’s say you have a ducted furnace system, and it is starting to feel chilly inside. So you head to the thermostat and order up a cycle. The furnace kicks into gear and starts blowing heated air out through the air register in your room.
But unbeknownst to you, your air duct system hasn't been vacuumed or sanitized in a decade, and over the years lots of dust, debris, dander, and other toxins have accumulated inside those narrow duct passages. So when your furnace kicks on, it starts blowing bits of that matter out through your air registers along with the warm air.
This can be a recipe for respiratory discomfort in the best of weather, but during the dry winter chill, it can easily wear down your immune system and lead to a cold or the flu.
If you are using a whole home humidifier along with your ducted furnace system to add back moisture into your dry indoor air, this can also create conditions inside your air ducts that are ripe for the growth of mould and mildew, each of which can compound your respiratory distress.
But when you use radiant heat, you don't have forced air or air ducts to contend with. Even if you use an indoor humidifier, which can be a wise choice for your health and any fragile wood furnishings, you won't have to deal with mould or mildew growing inside cool dark duct passages.
Rather, you simply have infrared heat traveling toward you in electromagnetic waves, heating up your body, and keeping you toasty.
How Can You Add Radiant Heat to Your Space?
Today's radiant heat distributors (radiators) don't look anything like their early ponderous, clunking predecessors.
Radiant heat systems today are so slim, streamlined, and elegant that they can be installed right out in plain sight and appear to be artwork or accessories rather than a heating system (take a look at a few of these in this article in the Toronto Star: aren’t they marvelous!).
You can use radiant heat in pads beneath flooring or on the walls to warm up your towels or bathrobe. Radiant heaters can also be installed on ceilings or even in outdoor areas to heat patios to comfortable temperatures.
Commercial spaces as well can benefit from the addition of efficient, affordable, and very effective radiant heat systems. From workshops to warehouses, mechanic garages to fire stations and whole office complexes, radiant heat offers a heating source with a low carbon footprint to keep employees and clients happy.
What About Radiant Heating Maintenance?
Modern radiant heating systems are very low-maintenance. A single annual inspection and service checkup is typically all that is needed to keep your system working without a hitch.
You can save even more on maintenance by choosing one of our protection and rewards plans. These annual plans save you money on everything from labour and overtime charges to equipmart parts and appliance upgrades!
Give Us a Call
Need help deciding how to incorporate radiant heat into your existing HVAC system or upgrading to radiant heat? We are at your service!
To learn more, contact us online, or give us a call at 905-549-4616.