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Schaal Plumbing, Heating and Cooling Blog

Radiant or Forced-Air: Which Heater Is Best for You?


While these are very different types of heaters, they essentially perform the same function. A heater is a heater, it produces comfortable heat at times when the weather outside is chilly. Many homeowners would like to stop at that and just pick up the cheapest heater they can get their hands on.

However, when it comes to things like efficiency, repairs, and heater maintenance in West Des Moines, IA the type of heater that needs service is going to make a major difference. Certain heaters last longer, perform differently, and provide a different feeling of comfort than others. So, while we know that affordability is at the top of your mind, take a look at the other important aspects of a heater with us.

Let’s get started!

Radiant Heating

Radiant heating is powered by a boiler or another type of unit that heats water to circulate within your home. This type of system consists of a boiler with various different sets of pipes that cycle either through your walls, through radiators, or through your baseboards. These heaters are known for lasting decades while providing incredibly comfortable heating to you and your family.

  • While more expensive to install, radiant heating systems produce heat more efficiently over a longer period of time.
  • They’re almost silent, while forced-air heaters are relatively noisy blowing air.
  • Better air quality tends to come from radiant heaters as allergens and dust aren’t constantly recycled through the air vents.
  • They radiate heat through objects, which is sometimes a preferable type of heat.

Obviously radiant heat isn’t for everyone, but there are specific advantages to a system like that. Particularly, if you live somewhere that deals with much colder winters, in some instances boilers bring about a much cozier warmth than furnaces do.

Forced-Air Heating

The other type of heater, as opposed to boilers and radiant heaters, are forced-air systems like furnaces. Furnaces are often a more affordable option for families, which is why they’re the most common type of heater in the United States. They offer some unique advantages that boilers don’t, which can sometimes tip the scales.

  • Furnaces are cheaper, which is usually the biggest selling point for a forced-air heating system.
  • Since furnaces are more common, more technicians know how to handle repairs, replacements, and maintenance on furnaces than on boilers.
  • There is no danger of freezing, where a power outage could cause your boiler and the piping attached to it to freeze.
  • There is no risk of water leaking, which can cause massive damage to your home. There is, however still the risk of leaking gas or carbon monoxide if not maintained properly.

Well, we hope that we put the differences as clearly as we could. These systems might be siblings in that they both provide quality heating, but the process by which they go through to produce that heating is very diverse. Don’t take this decision for granted. Make sure you work with the best service professionals you can find, so your heater quality doesn’t diminish.

For anyone in the West Des Moines area, give Schaal Plumbing, Heating and Cooling a call for your heating needs today!

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