Many homeowners would like the comfort and efficiency of a radiant heating system, but are unfamiliar with how it could integrate with a forced air system.
Shilai Xie, product manager with Bosch Thermotechnology Corp., discusses the best ways to get the best of both systems.
"You can combine and install a forced air cooling system and a radiant heating system, it's just more costly. It's less expensive in new construction compared to a retrofit situation.
"I have seen a lot of high end houses where they put in both radiant heating systems and forced air cooling. In Europe I've actually seen radiant heating and radiant cooling where there's not much humidity. One of the reasons why you cannot use radiant cooling in summer is because condensation will form on surfaces if you have high humidity.
"Whether heating or cooling, radiant is always more comfortable because it's more quiet, more stable in terms of temperature and because of there are no pollens or allergens moving around as with a forced air system. It's always a better choice if cost is not a concern. The reason why we have forced air is because it's more affordable and it's easy to install. It's mainstream because of the construction type of most American housing.
"I've seen actually a lot of high end houses in America in northern climates where you have both radiant heating and forced air cooling. Radiant heating can also be used in a basement, for example you don't really need to cool the basement in the summer days. You can use radiant heat for de-icing your icy driveway if you have a really long driveway. If you have radiant heating you don't have to worry about getting out of the house when a snowstorm hits if you have a radiant coil buried under the driveway or walkway.
"Bosch now offers a hydronic fan coil coupled with a tankless water heater for warm air heating with the option that the homeowner can also install a cooling coil and cooling system. So we're offering both alternatives and solutions of radiant heating system and forced air cooling and forced air heating.
"It really suits two different needs, whether it's replacement or new construction or retrofit and whether a duct is already installed available or is merely replacing the hydronic heating system. Our product can satisfy all the needs to match all different sorts of building types and installation scenarios."