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What are Radiant Boilers?

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  • Written By: A. Leverkuhn
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 23 September 2016
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Radiant boilers are specific heating installations in homes and other buildings that use the principle of radiant heat. These water-based heating systems generate heat from one object to another, rather than heating interior air. In these systems, the interior temperature can be lower than it would be for some other heating systems, while inhabitants are still effectively warmed by the radiated heat.

As common heating systems, boilers can benefit from radiant design in several ways. One benefit of radiant boilers and radiant heating systems is the lower incidence of contamination of indoor air quality. While some types of heating systems tend to blow around dander, dust, and small particles, radiant heating works in a more passive way that leaves interior air less disturbed. Proponents of rating boilers also mention that these heating systems tend to produce an evenly distributed heat.

The design of radiant boilers varies from one installation to the next. Engineers use some common standard designs for a majority of the radiant boilers used in commercial and home environments. A major type of radiant boilers includes pipes or tubes at the exterior of the boiler unit that get heated by the internal mechanism. These tubes help to radiate the heat outward into the space.

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Other types of radiant boiler design are adapted for modern heating and cooling principles and applications. For example, some types of radiant systems operate on a similar basis as some “green energy” systems found in buildings designed by LEED certified builders, or other professionals with modern energy education. Geothermal heat systems operate through sub-floor pipes and tubes that deliver heated water to passively heat a space. Some types of radiant boiler heating systems include this kind of design as well.

Another principle of radiant heating addresses heat loss through air flow out of a building. In some classical heating systems, much of the heat energy is lost when the heated air escapes through windows or other areas of a building. Passive radiant heating like the designs used by radiant boilers can minimize this. When the heating systems relies on radiated heat, which only travels a finite distance before dissipating, more of the heat tends to stay within the interior space, where a forced air system that rapidly heats a set amount of air will throw out much of its energy into the exterior when any aperture is opened. These issues lead many builders to contemplate radiant heating as a desirable element of a home design.

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