How it works: Uponor PEX radiant heating systems vs. forced air


Although the science behind an Uponor radiant floor heating system is complex, the execution is pretty simple. Warm water flows through PEX tubing embedded under the floor. Then, the warmth radiates up from the floor to warm objects and people in a room for optimal comfort — no matter which radiant design application you choose.


In contrast, a forced-air furnace pulls cold air through a home’s ductwork where it’s then heated and sent back through different ductwork to warm a house. (You’ll read later why this is an inefficient method to heat a structure…see #2 below.)  


3 reasons why radiant heating is more sustainable than forced air


An Uponor PEX radiant floor heating system is not only a more sustainable alternative to traditional forced-air heating systems, it’s more affordable and effective, too.


1.  Radiant floor heating goes where people actually need it.

Unlike forced air, radiant heating warms the floor and the objects in contact with the floor. The entire floor distributes a consistent, even heat. In other words, with radiant floor heating, a home is heated near the floor (where people and pets live) not near the ceiling (where dust we actively ignore lives). 


2. Radiant uses less energy than forced air.

The water in a radiant system has a capacity to transport energy 3,500 times greater than air, so it can heat (and even cool) using less energy than a forced-air system. 


3. People are more comfortable at a lower thermostat setting with radiant.

Because radiant systems more align with the human body’s thermal comfort level, a homeowner will be more comfortable with a lower thermostat setting using radiant heating compared to a higher thermostat setting with a forced-air system. And everyone knows a lower thermostat setting equals lower energy bills (read: it’s more affordable and more sustainable!).


To learn more about the comfort, indoor air quality, energy savings and design flexibility of radiant heating, watch the below Green Builder magazine video with radiant guru Steve Swanson titled, “Radiant vs forced air: Which is more sustainable for a home?”



Still have questions? Check out our residential radiant floor heating FAQs