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Radiant wall vs panel radiators

dave123dave123 Member Posts: 20
For a new radiant installation done as part of a remodel, would more people prefer to install a radiant wall, or a panel radiator? I know most will say the radiant wall will create more comfort at a lower temperature than a panel radiator, but it also seems like quite a bit more work in the end, and runs the ongoing risk of nails/screws etc.

I lived with steam radiators for many years in the 1990s, and really liked them. They seemed fine to me as a heat source. I was thinking that hot water radiators would be about the same as they were, so I was wondering if there's enough of an improvement, in the opinion of those who've had them, to make the wall installations worth the extra work.

Appreciate any opinions.


  • I like the radiant wall, just keep the tubing above nail height.
    Often wrong, never in doubt.

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  • dave123dave123 Member Posts: 20
    Above nail height? I thought it was to stay below nail height.
  • Solid_Fuel_ManSolid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 1,964
    He means above where baseboard will be installed.
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
  • What about driving nails for framed pictures? I'd keep the tubing above six feet.

    Or put or wherever you want to and get an infrared camera.

    Often wrong, never in doubt.

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  • hot_rodhot_rod Member Posts: 13,204
    I like the bottom 4 feet or less and put a wood wainscot over it to avoid any nailing.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    The magic is in hydronics, and hydronics is in me
  • Larry WeingartenLarry Weingarten Member Posts: 1,778
    Hello, I put radiant tubes vertically in my walls and just put a dark plug top and bottom, in the wood trim so I'd know where not to pound nails. This may not work so well using a serpentine shape for the tubing. :p

    Yours, Larry
  • dave123dave123 Member Posts: 20
    I appreciate the answers, but I'm still not sure if there's enough of a difference between panel rads and a radiant wall to make it worth the extra trouble. Can anyone speak to that?
  • psb75psb75 Member Posts: 206
    You can run lower temp. water through the radiant wall tubing than the panel rads for the same comfort and better efficiency. And you won't have the panel rads in the room as obstructions for a cleaner, more spacious feeling. Its probably easier to put a couple panel rads in (labor-wise) than the equivalent amount of radiant tubing. If it was a "finished" remodel--def. panel rads. For a "new" remodel, I'd do radiant walls.
  • hot_rodhot_rod Member Posts: 13,204
    It depends on how much you need to do to the wall to install the radiant and finish it.

    Typically a layer of insulation board over the wall, transfer plates and tube, fur strips, re-sheetrock. Or use a wood finish over the radiant.

    The panel rads involve mounting brackets and running pex to the locations.

    Is it work would be doing yourself? To hire it out, certainly the radiant walls involve more trades and $$.

    If you like the looks of the panel radiators, that would be quicker and less $$.

    They can powder coat panel rads too any color of finish you chose, also. At the EEE show, QHT inc.had some nice looking red ones on display.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    The magic is in hydronics, and hydronics is in me
  • Steve MinnichSteve Minnich Member Posts: 2,538
    edited July 2019
    I love radiant walls, ceilings, and floors for their comfort and low supply water temperatures.

    I also love seeing heat emitters; old cast iron radiators being my favorite.

    It really comes down to personal choice based on aesthetics, space, risk, and how efficient you want to be.
    PHC News Columnist
    Minnich Hydronic Consulting & Design, LLC
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