The Difference between Convection Heating and Radiant Heating

The typical home is usually warmed by one of the two methods of HVAC heating – convection heating or radiant heating. If you have an HVAC unit installed at your home, it very probably makes use of one of these two types of heating. When you are considering purchasing a new HVAC unit, you will be confronted with the need to make a choice between these two.

Both convection and radiant heating have their pros and cons. By considering these, you can determine which of the two best suits your specific needs. Here’s a look at a comparison between the two.

How Does Convection Heating Work?

Convection heating works by transferring heat through a fluid. It utilizes a liquid, such as water or oil, or a gas to carry heat from the heating element all the way to the target surface where the heat needs to be delivered.

The internal working of a convection heater is similar to the working of a conduction heater – the fluid used internally is heated, the heated molecules rise and the cooler molecules are then heated in turn. However, the liquid or gas molecules thus heated do not have direct contact with the intended object. Instead, the fluid molecules simply circulate close to the target surface, heating up the surface sufficiently.

Benefits of Heating via Convection

  • The stand-out advantage of convection heating is that it is able to deliver an exceptionally even degree of heating across an entire space. This surface can be a floor, a wall, or virtually any other area. This enables convection heating to achieve even heating within a closed space.
  • Heating units can be mounted virtually anywhere across the house. This allows more versatile and adaptable installation.
  • No ductwork is required when installing a convection heater. This reduces the upfront costs of using this method of heating.
  • Thanks to the absence of ductwork or powered fluid movements, heating appliances offer a very quiet operation.

Downsides of the Convection Approach

  • Convection appliances typically lack an air filter. This is primarily because the air is not directly released. However, this allows for the accumulation of dust and other forms of debris over time.
  • When it comes to heating large spaces, convection heaters are simply not effective.

How Does Radiant Heating Work?

Radiant heating works by heating up a panel in the floor or a wall. This panel then radiates heat through a given environment, allowing objects within that environment to absorb this heat. Radiant heating does not rely on the movement of the air or liquid molecules.

As with convection heating, radiant heating comes with its own set of pros and cons. Here’s a look at these.

Benefits of Radiant Heating

  • Radiant heating achieves a far better and even degree of warmth compared to convection heating. Objects heated thus also retain the heat more effectively.
  • Radiant heating systems come with ease of installation. A heat source is installed on the floor or the wall and it delivers direct heat to the space around it. Another great thing is that such heating appliances require little to no maintenance over time.
  • It takes a radiant heating system less amount of energy to heat up space as compared to the convection heating system. A radiant panel also heats up a target space more quickly.
  • Radiant heating comes with a perfectly quiet operation.
  • The air molecules are not disturbed nor any outside elements introduced into the indoor air with radiant heating. This effectively stems from the possibility of any dust or allergens entering the air.

Downsides of Radiant Heating

  • The key downside to radiant heating is the upfront costs. Compared to convection-based heating systems, radiant heating systems can cost a lot more.
  • If you already have a finished home, installing radiant heating panels may require dismantling the floor or wall sections. This only adds to the installation costs. These costs are avoidable if radiant heating is installed during the construction phase of a house.

Hiring Greenville Heating and Air Experts

Both convection and radiant heating systems have their advantages and disadvantages as detailed above. If you are considering having either of these systems installed at your Greenville home, we have got you covered.

Here at General Air, our HVAC experts can install, troubleshoot, and repair all types of heating systems. We are the go-to HVAC contractor in the region, serving both residential and commercial customers. Contact us today to get a free quote or hire our professionals for all things HVAC.

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