Is radiant heating cheaper to operate than forced air?
There are many variables to how efficient a radiant floor heating system is and how it will compare to a forced air heating system. The main thing we need to keep in mind is it takes a certain amount of BTUs to heat a space and how efficiently you can make that BTU will determine the overall efficiency. Large hydronically heated concrete floor slabs maintain an even temperature and can often be operated at lower temperatures and maintain the same comfort as a forced air heating system at a higher temperature because it does not cycle in the same way.
The key ingredient to a comfortable and successful building is insulation and air tightness. Buildings that are insulated and air sealed properly always function more efficiently than a building that is not insulated and air sealed properly. If a hydronically heated floor system is installed in a poorly insulated building, the heating system will not be efficient. If you install a forced air system in a well-insulated building that has the floor slab insulated with rigid foam insulation or INSTA-PANELS®, the building will be comfortable and efficient.
Do not focus on the radiant floor heating system only. Also pay attention to the overall insulation of the entire building. Use higher performance insulation products, such as two pound closed cell spray foam, rigid foam board insulation, and INSTA-PANELS® floor insulation to achieve better results.