Radiant heat is a popular and efficient method of heating homes and buildings, and there are two main types of radiant heat systems : electric and water-based. While both systems use radiant heat to warm the space, there are some key differences between the two that are worth considering when making a choice for your home or building. In this post, we’ll explore the differences between electric radiant heat and water radiant heat to help you make an informed decision.

Electric Radiant Heat

Electric radiant heat is a type of heating system that uses electricity to heat wires or panels, which then emit heat in the form of infrared radiation. This heat is absorbed by the objects in the room, including people, furniture, and walls, and warms the space in a similar way to sunlight.

One of the main advantages of electric radiant heat is that it is relatively easy to install and doesn’t require any complex plumbing or ductwork. This makes it a good choice for homes or buildings that don’t have existing heating systems or are difficult to retrofit with a water-based radiant heat system.

Another advantage of electric radiant heat is that it can be controlled precisely, allowing you to adjust the temperature in specific areas of your home or building, mostly bathrooms, laundry rooms, and entryways. It can be controlled via bluetooth or a programmable thermostat. This can be useful in large or open-plan spaces where different areas may require different levels of heating. It is a very easy way to warm your bathroom or kitchen for when you normally use it and have it automatically turn off after a certain amount of time.

Water Radiant Heat

Water radiant heat is a type of heating system that uses hot water to warm the space. The hot water is circulated through pipes that are installed in the floor or walls of the building, and the heat is emitted in the form of infrared radiation.

One of the main advantages of water radiant heat is that it is more energy-efficient than electric radiant heat. This is because hot water can hold more heat energy than electricity, so less energy is required to heat the same amount of space. Additionally, water-based radiant heat systems can be designed to use a central boiler, which can be more efficient than having separate boilers for each room. This is why water radiant heating is more expensive than electric yet, more efficient than electric radiant heating.

Another advantage of water radiant heat is that it can be integrated with other heating systems, such as a forced-air furnace or a hot water tank. This allows you to use the most efficient heating system for each part of your home or building, and also gives you the option to switch between heating systems as needed. While it takes longer to heat your spaces, it will stay warmer longer and does not produce any dust or allergens that forced air heating will produce.With underfloor water radiant heating you will need to use very specific types of flooring. Engineered hardwood is usually rated to be placed over radiant floor heat and if using carpet there are specific types of padding that are recommended for use over radiant floor heat as well.  We love educating our clients in the best systems and products for their homes!


Both electric and water radiant heat have their own unique advantages and disadvantages, and the right choice for your home or building will depend on your specific needs and requirements. Electric radiant is most efficient in small spaces. Water radiant heat is geared for whole home heating. If you’re looking for an easy-to-install heating system that can be controlled precisely, electric radiant heat may be the right choice. If you’re looking for a more energy-efficient and flexible heating solution, water radiant heat may be the better option.

Ultimately, the choice between electric and water radiant heat comes down to your specific needs, preferences, and budget. By considering the pros and cons of each system, you can make an informed decision that will provide you with efficient and effective heating for years to come. Contact us if you need more information on choosing the right heating source for your home.