The Difference between Heating Methods

Many homes, especially those built some years ago may have a room which for whatever reason is a bit cool and drafty. This can often happen as the house settles in and perhaps the seal around the window is not as good as it once was. In situations like this you can both identify the source of the draft and have it repaired or you can use a portable heater in the room to knock the chill off. In many cases, installing efficient heating systems in the problem rooms actually is the ideal solution.

When faced with this, there are three options available; convection, hydronic or radiant. When making the choice is often boils down to what you want to heat; people or space.

Convection heating:

Efficient heating systems for warming the air in a space such as a room are convection. Convection heating uses a fan to blow air across the heat source which often is either an electric coil or a closed system with heated liquid in a tube. As the fan blows the space heats up, this is the ideal solution for chilly rooms that do not warm up enough using other sources of heat.

The heat source and the fan are normally fully enclosed. When the thermostat senses the need for heat, the heater switches on and a bit later as it comes up to temperature, the fan switches on and circulates the heat in the room. When the desired temperature is reached, the thermostat shuts both the heat source and fan off until next needed.

Hydronic heating:

A hydronic heater does not heat the air directly; it first heats oil, water or silicone which is held in tubes within the heater body. The medium is what heats up and then transfers the heat to the room. The systems are sealed and never have to be refilled or charged. This system is perhaps the most efficient as the room stays warm for a long time after the medium has been heated and the electricity turned off.

Radiant heating:

Radiant heating is reminiscent of sitting around an open fire; it heats just the objects that are in close proximity to it. Radiant heating will not raise the temperature in the space, this method of portable heating is best when the room is heated by a central system but there is a slight draft, perhaps caused by a leaky window.

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