By: Patricia Cermignano

When choosing a new heating system, homeowners often assume that a forced air heating system is the only efficient and effective choice available. However, a radiant heating system is another option to consider. It is not only important to understand how the two heating systems are different, but also what the pros and cons are of each.


Forced Air Heating System

A forced air heating system works by circulating heated air from a furnace into a duct supply, thus delivering warm air to various rooms in a house. Once that air cools, it re-enters the ductwork through return registers where it then travels back to the furnace for the cycle to repeat.

Below are a list of pros and cons of a forced air heating system:


  • Energy efficient
  • Improves indoor air quality with regular furnace maintenance, filter changes and duct cleaning
  • Only HVAC system that has the ability to combine heating and cooling
  • Has the option to add a dehumidifier and/or humidifier to maintain comfortable humidity levels indoors


  • Poor indoor air quality if the furnace is not properly maintained, furnaces are not changed when recommended and ducts are not cleaned when needed
  • Has potential to be noisy when running
  • Can result in uneven heating, as it is difficult to control hot air distribution in a house (hot air tends to rise to the ceiling or to higher floors in a house)


Radiant Heating System

A radiant heating system works by using a boiler to warm the temperature of water and then pumping that heated water through a network of tubes that are set into panels underneath the floors in a home. The tubes then transfer heat to the panels in the floor to produce heat to materials and objects in each room where the tubes are present.

Below are a list of pros and cons of a radiant heating system:


  • Uniform heating
  • Quiet when running
  • Does not blow dust or other particles throughout the air since the system does not require duct work
  • Does not take up any space in a room


  • Typically expensive to install
  • Tends to take a longer amount of time to install


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