There are many options for heating a home. While a furnace might be one of the most popular choices, if you are looking for a way to heat your home off the grid, a furnace is not the way to go since you will depend on a ready supply of natural gas or home delivery of a heating fuel. On the other hand, you can achieve impressive efficiency with a radiant heating system, and with the right set up, a radiant system will allow you to heat your home off the grid.
No More Cold Floors
A furnace just heats the air in your home. Thus, even if the temperature in your home is comfortable, your floors may still feel unbearably cold. This is especially true if you have tile or hardwood floors in your home. On the other hand, radiant heating coils are installed in the floors of your home, so they will heat the floor first, and as cold air settles onto the floor, the floor will heat the air, which will rise, and thus your coils should have no problem heating your home. You should be able to walk on your floors without cringing.
When your radiant heating system achieves the desired temperature, the hot water in the coils will stop cycling through, but neither the water nor your floors will lose their heat immediately. Thus, your system will continue to heat or help to maintain the heat in your home for some time after it shuts off. This residual heating effect means that your system does not have to run as often, and you end up using less energy.
Off the Grid
A radiant heating system depends on a hot water tank to run properly. If you install an electric hot water tank, you should be able to take your home off the grid because you can use solar panels and/or a wind turbine to provide the electricity your system requires. You could also use a ground-source heat pump to provide direct heating for your radiant heat system.
If you have not looked into radiant heating for your home, maybe now is a good time to start. Whether you are providing heating for a new build or you are retrofitting an older home, a radiant system can still be an attractive option. If you are not sure what kind of heat you want to provide for your home, you should discuss your options with an HVAC professional, such as those found at Vowel Plumbing & Heating.