How to Convert a House From Forced Air to Radiant Heat


Radiant heat is a more effective heating choice than forced air heating systems. Forced air heating systems warm air and pump that air into a room to heat it. Radiant heating systems work by heating all of the objects in a room, which then continue to emit heat to heat the house. In-room radiators, in-floor and in-wall systems are the three types of radiant systems available. Conversion from a forced air system to a radiant heat system must be performed by a qualified installer.

  • Locate a list of radiant heating installer contractors for your state through the Radiant Panel Association.

  • Request estimates for installing a radiant heat system in your home and removing your forced air system. Costs will vary by the type of system installed. Homes without basements may be limited to electric or forced air wall panel systems or in-floor systems. Some cheaper systems install radiant heat pipes and tubing in the airspace below the floor rather than embed in the concrete beneath the flooring. Embedding radiant systems tubing in concrete is better because the concrete will retain heat for longer lengths of time and require less energy to heat than heating the airspace between the floors.

  • Ask installers lots of questions during their estimate visit to your property, and write down their responses. Ask installers about the best equipment available for radiant systems and to describe why they regard the equipment so highly. Get explanations on how they calculate the piping necessary to heat each room, the type of piping used, safety and maintenance of the system and common problems they have experienced with radiant heat systems. Obtain references for each contractor and call them. Inquire each reference about their experience with the installer and his workmanship.

  • Hire the installer that offers the best quality equipment and service for the price and references. Sign a contract with the installer that includes the type of equipment and service discussed at the time the estimate was given.

  • Photograph each stage of the installation process. Once the floors are covered up, it will be difficult to identify problems with piping systems that may result from the installation.

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  • Photo Credit white radiator image by Ekaterina Sidorenko from
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