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Do I Need To Lower The Radiant Heat At Night?

Do I Need To Lower The Radiant Heat At Night?

Most homes use forced-air heating systems, which are often turned down at night or during the day if the house is empty. After all, why heat the air if nobody will use it? People who make the move to radiant floor heating systems may worry whether or not they should turn the heat down at night.

The quick answer is yes, however you’ll need to experiment a little with your thermostat to determine exactly what works in your house. When done properly, turning down (but not off!) your radiant heat at night can help you save money and energy.

How To Program Radiant Heat For The Night

Do I Need To Lower The Radiant Heat At Night?

The intense discussion over whether or not to reduce radiant heat is mostly a result of the prolonged warming time. Because hot water or electric lines tucked beneath the floor carry heat, radiant heat is effective. In order to warm the space, the heat then rises through the floor.

This implies that, unlike with a forced-air system, you do not instantly notice a decline in temperature when the heat is turned off. It takes hours (or more) for whatever is actually heating up beneath your floor thanks to a radiant heating system to cool and heat.

The actual duration is determined by elements like the materials and insulation.

Due of this, some individuals think that turning off the heat at night is a waste of time because by the time the house has cooled off, it’s time to put on the heat again (radiant systems need to be turned up well in advance of actual wake-up times, as it can take an hour or two before optimal temperatures are reached).

In actuality, you should reduce the heat (but leave it on). The “slab” under the home transmitting the heat never entirely cools off by keeping some heat going under your flooring, but you can gain from less energy being squandered.

Because every home is different, you’ll need to experiment with how much you turn it down. One suggestion is to use a programmable thermostat that is set to allow the air temperature to drop to around 60 degrees at night and begin warming up to normal daytime levels a few hours before waking.

What Are Radiant Heating’s Benefits And Drawbacks?

Do I Need To Lower The Radiant Heat At Night?


Regular Heating
A more even heat is produced by radiant heating. The sections closest to the vents keep the warmest since forced air systems pump hot air out of vents, but other parts of the room may still feel chilly if the hot air isn’t reaching them.

The entire space is consistently warm because radiant floor heating heats the floor as a whole at a single temperature.

Silent Operation
Systems with radiant floors are quite silent. You don’t have to constantly endure the sound of a noisy furnace turning on and off.

Efficiency In Energy
While all of the heat produced by a radiant floor system goes straight towards heating, some of the heat from forced air systems eventually leaks out of the ducting. Because of this, radiant flooring is a wise choice. The typical heating bill is reduced by 15% when using radiant heat.

Improved Air Quality
Radiant floors don’t cause allergies to worsen. Those who have allergies may experience triggers from forced air systems.

A lot of dust and other allergens are spread around by the hot air that is rushing through the vents and ducts.


Needs a Boiler
Radiant floor heating requires the use of a boiler. The cost of this setback for installing radiant heat can be high.

Installation Might Be Difficult Or Time-consuming
Installing radiant floor heating in an existing structure can be challenging. Many people are reluctant to remove their flooring in order to install it. Due to this challenge, some businesses have started to provide the demand for radiant heat that doesn’t necessitate a flooring renovation. Some systems can be mounted via ceilings or walls.

It can be costly, even for people who don’t mind the added work. Radiant floor heating installation should cost between $10 and $20 per square foot, according to a reliable estimate.

Occupies Space
You will give up a little space to accommodate the radiant system. The floor is raised by anything between half an inch and one and half inches (how much insulation you have to add to keep heat in will play a role in how these numbers vary). This can be a challenge if your ceilings are low.

Is Radiant Floor Heating Reliable?

Do I Need To Lower The Radiant Heat At Night?

One of the best heating options for homes is radiant floor heating. Once deployed, issues are infrequent.

Almost no service calls are required, and many systems have lengthy warranties. If maintained correctly, a radiant system can last up to 35 years.

Additionally, it is dependable on a daily basis. “Hot spots” by the radiators or vents and “cold spots” in other parts of the room are removed since heat is dispersed uniformly across the floor. All day long, the space will feel at the same cozy, constant temperature.

What Is A Suitable Temperature For A Floor With Radiant Heat?

Most individuals feel at ease at 75 degrees if your thermostat is set to read the temperature of the floor. This amounts to a room temperature of around 70 degrees. You can typically presume that the floor is 5 degrees warmer than the ambient temperature (if you want the room to be 72 degrees, set the floor for 77 degrees).

It’s crucial to remember that you can destroy the floors by overheating them. You should refrain from exceeding 85 degrees for this reason. Finished wood floors are especially prone to harm.

Many individuals find 68 degrees to be pleasant, if your thermostat is set to read room temperature.

Do Radiant Heat Thermostats Require Specialization?

You’ll need a thermostat designed for radiant floor heating, ideally one that measures the temperature of the floor. Despite the fact that forced-air thermostats can occasionally be utilised for radiant heating, it is not recommended.

When the air temperature falls below a certain point, a forced-air thermostat will switch on, and when the temperature rises over that point, it will turn off.

In terms of radiant floor heating, this is not very effective. Since the air heats up more slowly than the floor does, reading the air temperature indicates that the floor is becoming too hot before the air reaches that “stopping” point. After then, you’re stuck waiting for the air to get colder (which happens after the floor has begun to cool). It can be a really unpleasant cycle.

Radiant floor heating-specific thermostats will perform better and use less energy. Given that they are designed to function best with the heating system, they provide greater accuracy and precision in keeping your chosen temperature.

Can I Control Radiant Heat With A Nest Thermostat?

Once connected via the True Radiant app, the Nest Thermostat can be used with radiant heating systems. When Google Nest recognises your radiant heating system, True Radiant is reportedly instantly enabled. Using your Nest thermostat or the Nest App, you can modify the settings.


By reducing the radiant floor heating at night, but keeping it partially on, you can save money and energy. Turning it off completely would be impractical due to the time required to rewarm.

Set a programmable thermostat to around 60 degrees at night (though this may vary depending on your personal comfort level and how well your heating system maintains heat) and allow the air to reheat to a typical daytime temperature of about 70 degrees an hour or two before waking up.

Do I Need To Lower The Radiant Heat At Night?

What do you think?

Written by HVAC Contributor

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