Advantages And Disadvantages Of Radiant Floor Heating

Radiant floor heating is a popular choice for many homeowners. The majority of new homes now come equipped with radiant flooring as standard features. This sterling feature in your home not only makes your feet cozy but also keeps you warm and comfortable.

With this new heating style in your home, you can now enjoy the benefits of heat that rise from floor to ceiling, which keeps your rooms warm and dry. However, like any other system in your home, there are some disadvantages to using this type of flooring. 

This article will look at some of the pros and cons of using radiant floor heating.

What is Radiant Floor Heating?

Radiant floor heating works on the principle of heat transfer through conduction. It is a system in which hot water, electric currents, or steam flows throughout pipes, tubes, or mats placed under your floors.

The warm surfaces then heat the air inside your home and warm it by transferring heat to objects that come into contact with them. 

When you use this type of system for heating, objects that are not heated by appliances in your home are warmed. These objects include floors, walls, and the people living in the house.

How Do Radiant Floor Heating Systems Work?

A radiant floor heating system works by producing heat and transferring it to the air and objects in your home. Various floor heating systems make the heat, which runs underneath flooring throughout your house.  

They can be electrical, hydronic, or air-heated systems, and each system works differently. However, they are all set to accomplish a common goal to deliver warmth in your home. 

Types of Radiant Floor Heating

There are three types of radiant floor heating systems. 

Electronic Radiant Floor

An electronic radiant floor heating system is the most common type of radiant flooring. This type of heating uses electric cables and electric mats to distribute heat.

Using this system, you can quickly warm up your home without using any bulky radiators or heating vents all over the house.

However, the cost of using electronic radiant floors is expensive. You will need to purchase additional equipment, such as floor warming cables or mats. The cost of the electricity required to operate this system is also high.

Nevertheless, you can also save with this type of radiant floor. The system heats the floor within 30-60 minutes and can be turned off afterward.

Hydronic Radiant Floor

The second type of radiant floor heating is hydro-heating or hydronic heating. This system uses water and steam to distribute heat in your room—the majority of homes with this type of radiant floor use boiler systems located under the house. The boilers heat water and then circulate it in pipes. 

When you turn on your heating system, the heated water rises to a radiator that warms up the floors of your house. This type of heating is expensive because you will need to install copper piping all over your home for maximum heat distribution.

Additionally, this type requires more control over the water temperature and heat distribution than an electronic radiant floor.

Air-Heated Radiant Floor

This system of floor heating is rarely used. The air-heated radiant floor is also known as forced-air heating. This system uses the same process as the hydronic radiant system, but instead, it heats hot air that rises from your furnace. The hot air warms up each room in your home. 

The heat generated by this type of heating is spread throughout the house using vents or fan coils located under floors.

Benefits of Radiant Floor Heating Systems

There are many benefits to using radiant floor heating systems. They include:


This type of heat is more comfortable compared to other types. This is because the heated air rises from your floors to reach every corner of your home. Additionally, the radiant floor heating is more consistent compared to other types because you can control it.

Space-Saving Design

Radiant floor systems are designed to heat objects from the ground rather than heat air. These systems distribute heat evenly across walls, windows, and ceilings. It makes it easier to warm your home without bulky radiators or vents around space-saving designs. 


You can use radiant floor heating without any noise. The heated air rises from the floors to reach every corner of your home. This means you don’t need vents or fans running all over your house for this type of system.

Health Benefits

Using a radiant floor warming system is healthier because it does not spread dust and allergens throughout your home.

No Maintenance Costs

Radiant floor heating systems need minimal maintenance. There are no moving parts that can break down or malfunction over time. There are fewer repairs or replacements done during the life of your system. In addition, you don’t need to clean these systems.

Easy to Install

This type of system is easy to install because you only need a few pieces of equipment, such as floor cables or mats (electric system). You can efficiently heat your home by yourself without hiring any professional installer. 

Easy to Operate

Radiant floor heating systems are easy to operate. Once installed, you only need to turn on your system, and it will automatically do everything else for you.

Furthermore, you can control the system with a thermostat or remote, making it easier for you to adjust your home’s temperature.


Radiant heating systems are scalable. You can install the system in your entire home or only specific rooms like bathrooms and kitchens where you need extra heat.

Variety of Floor Covering

With radiant floor heating systems, you can use many different types of flooring materials. These include; carpets, tiles, concrete, or any other kind of surface to heat your floors.

Disadvantages of Radiant Floor Heating Systems

There are also some disadvantages that you will encounter when using this heating system for your home: 

  1. Expensive Installation Cost: This type of heating system is expensive to install because you need a professional installer. You will also incur additional costs when purchasing the equipment necessary for this system.
  2. Floors will be Tampered with: When using this heating system, you will need to remove your floor tiles or carpets for installation. This process can be expensive if the materials are of high quality and not easy to replace. 
  3. High Electricity Consumption: Electric radiant floors use electricity to function and distribute heat throughout your home. With the system in place, electricity bills in your home will spike.
  4. Installation Time: It takes a long time to install this type of heating system. For an effective installation, you will need extensive planning beforehand.
  5. Not Safe: Electric radiant heaters are not safe when used near water or in damp areas because they can cause electric shocks.
  6. High cost of maintenance: With a radiant floor heating system, the cables or mats heat up to malfunction over time. These items can be expensive and difficult to repair when they break down due to age. 
  7. Floor Height is Tampered With: When installing this system, your floor height will be affected. The installation will cause a rise in your floor. For homes with lower ceilings, it would not be easy to install this system.
  8. Inability to Cool: Radiant floor heating systems are not efficient in cooling your home. The heating systems do not distribute cool air throughout your house because they can only heat the room. Your home might need an additional source of cooling during summer seasons or hot spells. 
  9. Difficult to Find Professionals: This type of heating system is not very common in most homes. Therefore, it can be challenging to find a professional installer who has the skills and experience needed for this job. If found, these experts may come at a high price.

Alternatives to Radiant Floor Heating

Heating your home doesn’t have to break the bank! Neither do you have to sacrifice a stylish interior for your heating system to be efficient? There are also some alternatives to using a radiant floor heating system for your home, including:

Solar Heating

Solar heating systems are energy efficient because they do not use electricity or gas to distribute heat throughout your home. Solar panels absorb the sun’s rays to function. You can save money on monthly bills during the summer months when it is hot and sunny outside.

Wood Stove

Using a wood stove is an inexpensive and energy-efficient way to heat your home. Wood stoves distribute heat throughout the room, giving you more control over how much warmth your house needs depending on the time of year it is. However, you will need to keep it stocked with wood during the winter months to function correctly. 

Geothermal Heating

Geothermal heating systems are also efficient for your home because they do not use electricity to distribute heat throughout the house. Harnessing Geothermal energy is done from underground hot water, which means you can save money on monthly bills during winter when it’s cold outside.

Hybrid Furnaces

Hybrid furnaces are also an alternative to radiant floor heating because they allow you to choose between gasoline, electric, and geothermal heating sources. You will be able to save money on monthly heating bills because it uses multiple sources of energy.

Gas Heating

Gas heating is an excellent solution if you want another alternative to radiant floor heating systems that can keep your floors warm during cold months. Gas furnaces are energy efficient and use less electricity than traditional electric heaters to distribute warmth throughout your home.

Frequently Asked Questions about Radiant Floor Heating

How long does radiant floor heating last?

Radiant heating systems can have a longer lifespan and last up to 35 years with good maintenance. This time is more than any traditional heating system would last and function efficiently.

Can radiant floor heating heat an entire house?

Yes! Anyone can use radiant floor heating systems to heat entire homes and distribute the warmth equally throughout. 

This type of system is efficient because it heats the entire floor of your whole house or area. With this, you will not need a separate heating source for other rooms in your home during the winter seasons.

Can you put carpet over radiant heat?

Yes, you can. However, this depends on the rubber pad that you use on your carpeting. Using a rubber pad is most convenient. 

The rubber pads allow the cables (heating elements) to function appropriately and distribute heat throughout your home.

What is a suitable temperature for a heated floor?

A heated floor usually operates between 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit—the perfect temperature to keep your home warm and comfortable. 

When the temperatures exceed 85 degrees Fahrenheit, they can become too hot for your feet. The skin temperature is about 85 degrees, and anything above this can become unbearable.

Should I turn off my radiant heat in the summer?

Yes, you can turn off your radiant heat in the summer. These systems do not cool down your home. Turning them off during summer will save you money on the expenses used to operate the system.

Does underfloor heating dry the air?

No, underfloor heating does not dry out the air. Unlike the traditional heating methods like baseboard or radiators, radiant heat systems do not use forced air to distribute warmth throughout your home. Radiators and baseboards dehumidify and dry out a room to heat it.


Overall, radiant floor heating is the most efficient way to heat your home during winter. The radiant floor heats the whole room evenly and distributes warmth throughout your home. The radiant floor systems come in three different types; electrical, hydronic, and air-heated.

However, before choosing a heating system for your home, it is essential to know what you need and why. Learning about the different types of plans, their pros and cons, you can decide which one suits you best.

Though serving the same purpose, these types of systems operate in different ways. There are also alternatives like; geothermal heating, hybrid furnaces, solar heating, and wood stove that can be used in the home when needed.