How is Infra-Red Heating Different? With radiant heating systems, heat energy radiating from the floor surface travels in all directions to heat everything to the same temperature (with difference between the floor and ceiling of only 1 to 2 deg C) and, unlike traditional heating systems with radiators, no air movement is involved. In comparison, systems with radiators typically have a difference of 7 deg C between the floor and ceiling as heated air (not heat energy) naturally rises because it is less dense.
Warming the floor to a surface temperature of 25 – 28 deg C (less than our body temperature) is comfortable to walk on and “feels” neutral. Although the overall sensation is one of comfort the floors will actually only “feel” warm on very cold days when maximum output is required.
The radiant floor heating system can control 80% of the human body’s natural heat loss and this is why radiant floor heating is so comfortable compared to any other heating system.
In traditional central heating systems air passing over the radiators to create convective warm air currents adversely affects the ideal convection loss from our body. The higher air temperatures adversely affect the evaporation loss from our body and this generally results in stuffiness and dryness. These symptoms generally detract from overall comfort. In addition the hotter air rises and leads to a hot head/cold feet syndrome.
People can feel uncomfortable standing on a cold floor or near a cold wall even when the thermometer reads 23 deg C and the room is thought to be at the right temperature. This is because the cold surface acts as a ‘heat sink’ and draws heat out of the person’s body faster than it can be replaced. Turning the thermostat up in a traditional heating system will partially offset the radiation losses but comfort is unlikely to improve.