How to Use a Water Heater for Radiant Heat?


Don’t be surprised when I say that your neighbors are using regular water heaters instead of using a boiler. I know you’ve been wondering how come they got those expensive boilers with such low pays they get at the end of the month.

Basically, a lot of people use regular water-heaters as an alternative to boilers. Why? They do the exact same job the boiler does, but they COST LESS.

If you don’t have any idea about the price of a radiant boiler, you might want to check its price. It will cost you a great fortune. Therefore, if you can get your hands on a high-quality water heater instead, you’re going to win.

Why will you use water heaters? I’m about to tell you why using a water heater for radiant heat is better for you.

Also read: Best Boiler for Radiant Floor Heat: Top 5 Picks and Reviews

Why Choose Water Heaters over Boilers?

Cut the money you need to buy the boiler in half. You’ll get a high-quality water-heater with it. If you use it, you’ll see that water-heaters actually have more energy regardless of those myths you hear; ‘No, don’t go for a water heater!’ I feel bad for these people.

You’ll find water heaters with a plastic body, but the stainless-steel ones are better in functionality. They give you trouble-free service and boasts amazing durability.

If you do your homework, you’ll know that you need warm water to heat your radiant floors. Boilers are made in such a way so that they can provide you with very hot water.

However, there are lots of boilers which will turn you down even though you’ve bought it at a handsome price. It often happens when you run the boilers at a lower temperature.

So, you are spending on the boiler, and you got to spend your money buying expensive components that you need for heating up your space. If you don’t do it, you can say goodbye to your boiler. Altogether, THAT’S A LOTTA MONEY!

Water heaters, from the very beginning, are engineered in such a way that you can use them at a lower temperature. You won’t face any problem at all with its functionality and efficiency.

They use a very simple yet effective non-mechanical way to make the flue gases condensed right down to the water. This also helps them to work at low temperatures. So, no more additional cost and no more buying those expensive boilers.

How Big Water Heater Do I need for Radiant Heat?

Both the boilers and water heaters are sized according to their INPUT rating. Which means it’s all about how much fuel you’re using to heat the water, not how much heat it’s putting out.

Most tanks have got burners ranging from 30,000 to 40,000 BTU/hr. INPUT.

If your house has got a wide number of high ceilings, windows, fireplaces, doors, etc., you should be able to approximate the higher value.

Got many load factors in your space? It’s better for you if you approximate at the next higher load-level.  However, do know that this is just an approximation. You should have a load calculation before you buy the heat source.

Count your load factors and multiply them by the area you want to get heated. As a result, you’ll get the heat load on your space.

For example, Basement at 12 BTU/hr./sqft multiplied by 1000 sqft is 12,000 BTU/hr.

To get the total approximated load, you need to add up all the spaces.

Basement = 10 BTU/hr./sqft X 1000sqft = 10,000 BTU/hr.
First Floor = 17 BTU/hr./sqft X 1000sqft = 17,000 BTU/hr.
Garage = 8 BTU/hr./sqft X 250 sqft = 2,000 BTU/hr.
Total = 29,000 BTU/hr.

Final Words

Well, now that you know why using a water heater for radiant heat is better for you, it’s better for you if you don’t wait a bit and get yourself a water heater.

You can find the best water heaters available in the marketplace here. Choose wisely and get yourself a high-quality heater. With a good water heater around, you’ll not feel the need for a boiler ever again.