top of page

Propane/Gas Boilers for
Radiant Heat Vs. Electric

concrete floor radiant heat.png

Introduction to Radiant Heat Systems

Radiant heating systems provide warmth by heating surfaces, typically floors or walls, which then radiate heat into a room. Unlike traditional heating methods that rely on convective heat transfer (heating the air), radiant heat directly warms objects and people, offering a more efficient and comfortable heating experience. Two primary types of boilers power these systems: propane/gas boilers and electric boilers. Understanding the differences between these options is crucial for making an informed decision that suits your heating needs and preferences.


Propane/Gas Boilers for Radiant Heat


Propane and gas boilers are commonly used in radiant heat systems due to their high efficiency and reliability. These boilers burn propane or natural gas to heat water, which is then circulated through a network of pipes embedded in floors or walls.


Efficiency and Performance

Propane and gas boilers are known for their high efficiency ratings, often reaching up to 98%. Modern condensing boilers utilize the latent heat of water vapor to achieve maximum efficiency. This means more heat from the fuel is used, reducing waste and lowering energy costs.


Cost Considerations

  • Installation Costs: Installing a propane or gas boiler can be more expensive initially due to the need for gas lines, venting systems, and potentially a storage tank for propane.

  • Operating Costs: Propane and natural gas are generally more affordable than electricity in many regions. However, prices can fluctuate based on market conditions.


Environmental Impact

While propane and natural gas are fossil fuels, they burn cleaner than other hydrocarbons, producing fewer pollutants. Propane, in particular, is noted for its lower carbon footprint compared to coal or oil.


Reliability and Maintenance

Propane/gas boilers are durable and known for their long service life. Regular maintenance, such as annual inspections and occasional part replacements, ensures optimal performance and longevity.


Electric Boilers for Radiant Heat


Electric boilers heat water using electrical resistance. They are often favored in areas where electricity is inexpensive or where installing gas lines is impractical.


Efficiency and Performance

Electric boilers boast near 100% efficiency because all the electricity used converts into heat. There is no need for flue gases or venting, meaning virtually no heat is lost during operation.


Cost Considerations

  • Installation Costs: Electric boilers tend to have lower installation costs since they don't require gas lines or venting systems.

  • Operating Costs: The operating cost of electric boilers can be higher compared to gas boilers, especially in regions with high electricity rates.


Environmental Impact

Electric boilers can be environmentally friendly, especially when powered by renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, or hydroelectric power. However, their overall environmental impact depends on the electricity generation mix of the area.


Reliability and Maintenance

Electric boilers are simpler than gas boilers, with fewer moving parts, leading to potentially lower maintenance requirements. They also have a long service life and are less prone to failures related to combustion.


Comparative Analysis: Propane/Gas vs. Electric Boilers


  • Gas Boilers: High efficiency, especially with condensing models, but some heat loss through venting.

  • Electric Boilers: Nearly 100% efficient with no heat loss through venting.


Installation and Operating Costs

  • Gas Boilers: Higher installation costs due to infrastructure needs, but potentially lower operating costs depending on fuel prices.

  • Electric Boilers: Lower installation costs, but higher operating costs in regions with expensive electricity.


Environmental Impact

  • Gas Boilers: Lower carbon footprint than oil or coal, but still reliant on fossil fuels.

  • Electric Boilers: Can be very eco-friendly if powered by renewable energy, but this depends on the local energy grid.


Reliability and Maintenance

  • Gas Boilers: Durable with regular maintenance, more complex systems may require more upkeep.

  • Electric Boilers: Simplified systems with fewer maintenance needs, highly reliable with a long lifespan.

Choosing between propane/gas boilers and electric boilers for radiant heat systems involves considering several factors, including efficiency, cost, environmental impact, and reliability. Gas boilers offer high efficiency and potentially lower operating costs but come with higher installation expenses and reliance on fossil fuels. Electric boilers provide nearly 100% efficiency, lower installation costs, and can be very eco-friendly if powered by renewable sources, though they may result in higher operating costs.


Each option has its advantages and trade-offs, making it essential to evaluate your specific needs, local fuel costs, and environmental priorities. By carefully considering these factors, you can select the best boiler type to ensure an efficient, reliable, and sustainable radiant heating system for your home.

What is Radiant Made Simple?
Radiant Made Simple (RMS) offers a user-friendly and affordable way to enjoy radiant floor heating comfort in your home. The system is ideal for new construction or remodeling projects, particularly in spaces like bathrooms, basements, studios, shops, or garages.

Here's what makes RMS stand out:
Pre-assembled panel: Forget complicated setups. The RMS system comes as a complete panel, ready to connect to your existing in-floor tubing.
DIY friendly: The all-in-one design allows for easy installation by yourself or a contractor. Simply mount the panel, connect it to your piping, and plug it in for radiant warmth.
Cost-effective: The RMS system is designed to be more economical than traditional radiant heating solutions from big-box stores that require multiple components.
Scalable coverage: Whether you're heating a small bathroom or a larger multi-zone area, RMS panels can be configured to handle spaces from 300 square feet up to 4,100 square feet.


For more information and expert guidance on choosing the right boiler for your radiant heat system, visit Radiant Made Simple or contact our team of specialists.

Contact us today for a free quote for the system that is perfect for you.

Efficient Radiant Floor Heat Systems

bottom of page