Heating Your Home with Radiant Heat
Advice From Green Real Estate
By Chris Chopik
With the cost of energy on the rise, it would be wise to consider buildings that are energy efficient. There are three key factors to be considered, they affect comfort and energy consumption;
- The building envelope
- Lighting and small appliances
- Heating and cooling.
Most homeowners are not particularly interested in how the home is heated; their primary concern is for the family’s comfort. Home comfort remains the bottom line that buyers reference when describing their satisfaction.
About 98% of all houses in Ontario are heated with natural gas, oil, propane or electricity. The remaining 2% rely on wood, coal, solar or Geo-thermal energy. Aside from the source, the type of heating mechanism should also be examined. Furnaces could burn any of these fuel types in the basement and disperse the heat by either pushing warm air via ducts or circulating warm water through a network of pipes known as radiators. Hydronic radiant systems distribute heat by water with radiators, as is the case in older homes, or with architecturally integrated modern rads or in-floor heating systems. Modern radiant heating systems deliver health benefits, as well as efficiency and comfort.
Radiant heating systems offer superior efficiency because water is an ideal medium to distribute heat. If you heat an oven to 400 C and then turn it off , you could put your hand in the oven within five minutes, however if you take a boiling pot of water and remove it from the element, it is still too hot to touch after five minutes. Water is a better medium for the retention of heat.
In a cold winter we try to retain as much heat as possible. Human bodies regulate temperature using the feet and the head. When you experience radiant in-floor heating, it is just like wearing a warm pair of slippers, It feels more comfortable to the touch.
An added benefit is air-quality, with an estimated one-third of Canadian children suffering from asthma, the demand for healthy homes is increasing. In our experience there is also a marketplace emerging of chemically sensitive home buyers. Those buyers who seek healthier housing options often define radiant heating as a high priority in their search.
Most indoor air quality issues stem from contaminants such as volatile organic compounds (present in many building materials, paints and solvents) and allergens such as dust, mold and pollen. Conventional forced-air systems harbor and distribute these contaminants throughout the home.
With the stacked benefits of comfort, efficiency and health we believe there is a growing consumer interest in radiant heat. Whether working with a buyer looking for a comfortable, healthy home or with a seller with a radiant heating system, there is a real opportunity for Realtors to help the marketplace understand that radiant heat delivers benefits that contribute to the quality of life and value of a home.