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Americool Heating & Air Conditioning Blog

What’s Better: Forced-Air or Radiant Heating?

People purchase products for different reasons. Some people just want to save as much money as possible, others want the best product on the market, and a few are really trying to measure that they get the thing they want the most. These are all valid reasons and we’d argue that everyone has a little bit of each type of customer in them.

However, when it comes to a forced-air heating system or a radiant heater, we’re talking about two totally different machines that heat your home in very different ways. Sure, a furnace or a heat pump has its pros by using electricity or natural gas to heat the air in your home, but a radiant heating system will actually radiate heat through the walls of your house and cause for you to stay warm in a totally different way.

Today, we’re going to put these systems to the test and finally answer the age-old question–which is better, forced-air heating or a radiant heater like a boiler in Kennewick, WA?

We’re going to cut things up into certain categories and award a winner for each one. Then at the end, hopefully, you’ll see which system works the best for a new purchase.


Firstly, nothing comes close to the affordability of a furnace. Electric furnaces can be some of the most affordable units on the market, and gas furnaces come pretty close. And, as long as natural gas prices stay as low as they are now, a gas furnace also operates extremely affordably over time. You can really get your money’s worth with a furnace.

Ease of Install

This one also goes to the furnace. Furnaces require ductwork, sure, but that’s usually still more affordable then setting up a series of pipes for a boiler system. We’d argue that a ductless mini split heat pump is the easiest system to install out of every HVAC unit, but these are more expensive to set up than a furnace and they’re also heat pumps, which might not be what certain customers want.


We’d call this a tie. Heat pumps and ductless mini splits have incredibly high efficiency rates for heating a home, but they’re pretty comparable to the efficiency of a boiler or other radiant heating system.

Boilers don’t rely on air ducts to heat a home. Instead they use radiating heat from radiators or pips installed in the floors. This, coupled with the fact that water has a high heat-retention factor, means that you’re using less fuel or energy to keep water in your boiler warm than you would to run a furnace.

But an all-electric heat pump might get the win in this category, if you’ve got the money to get one installed.


Boilers absolutely win in this category. Some people say that feeling the heat of a radiant heating system is akin to feeling the warmth of the sun. Since radiant heat goes through objects, it doesn’t just heat the air, it heats everything in your home. This can be great for plants and pets, since things feel cozier and warmer than they would otherwise.


Boilers also eek out a win in this category. While furnaces and heat pumps can last 10-15 years with routine maintenance, a boiler can easily last 20. This is a big difference and sometimes a game-changer when it comes to people scheduling for the future.

With us, your comfort is our business. Contact Americool Heating & Air Conditioning today!

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