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In-Floor Radiant Heat vs. Infrared Radiant Heat

When considering ways to heat a large space many people inevitably come across the option of radiant floor heat. In-floor radiant heat consists of a network of tubes, laid prior to pouring concrete, through which hot water flows to heat the concrete. As the concrete warms, it radiates heat upward to warm the rest of the space. Most often, radiant floor heat is considered for new construction because it must be installed before the concrete floor is laid. But what if you already have a workshop that needs heat, or find that in-floor radiant heat is too complicated? Let’s explore some differences between in-floor radiant heat and infrared radiant tube heaters.

Radiant tube heaters are economical to purchase and install, can be installed in most applications and are versatile enough to adapt to various layouts–they work in virtually any space. In-floor radiant heat is not as simple. Not only is it mostly done with new construction, but it can be very costly to retrofit into an existing space and is usually expensive and labor intensive to install. In-floor radiant heat requires a separate room for the boiler or water heater to ensure access to a clean environment. Conversely, radiant tube heaters hang overhead making air intake and exhaust a snap–take air from and vent into the space or easily go through a side wall or roof for access to outside air.

Once installation is completed, it’s even more clear that radiant tube heaters are the better choice. In-floor radiant heat is often difficult and expensive to repair because it isn’t easily accessible. In order to repair an infrared tube heater, all you need is a ladder or lift to access the burner box. Sometimes it’s possible to diagnose the problem from the ground using the indicator lights available on certain Re-Verber-Ray tube heater models. Even in good working condition, the slower response time of radiant floor heat means longer wait times for the space to be warm. In most cases, infrared radiant tube heaters produce near-immediate results and they are also easily turned back for overnight or non-work time settings.

Infrared radiant tube heaters can heat all surfaces in direct line of sight from the heater. Mounted from the ceiling, the heater radiates infrared heat down to all objects below–people, equipment, tools, boxes, the floor, etc. This provides freeze protection for items in the space while requiring lower ambient air temperatures. In-floor radiant heat does not offer freeze protection on the above ground equipment, does not perform well in spaces with high air changes, and will not warm people, tools, or other items in the space directly. This is due to the less direct heat transfer experienced when in-floor heat is installed.

Great Lakes Radiant & Industrials offers product lines including Re-Verber-Ray infrared radiant tube heaters and Re-Verber-Air hot air heaters manufactured by Detroit Radiant Products. No matter your commercial or industrial heating needs, our experts will work with you to find the right solution. And while you’re installing a heater overhead, ask us about Lumerica lights. Detroit Radiant Products manufactures and assembles in the USA. Give us a call at 888-501-0252 or email [email protected] to discuss your radiant heat and LED lighting needs!