For The Love Of Radiant…

Here’s another outta-nowhere blast from the British Invasion

Chad and Jeremy (not to be confused with Peter and Gordon) from 1964 with “Yesterday’s Gone.”

Think people are “finding their dream come true” with radiant floor heat? Maybe we should rethink.

And ask a question.

Why do people buy radiant floor  heat?

Mostly it’s the promise of room-by-room comfort that’ll make you feel all soft and gooey inside, plus freakishly high economy of operation.

Pretty straightforward, no?  Ever wonder how well we’re delivering on those promises?

A company in Dallas, TX called Decision Analyst wondered, and set out to find the answer.

Decision Analyst is one of those nosy companies that does market research.  They’ve been surveying people nationwide for years about their home comfort systems.  They learn very interesting stuff.

For years they’ve been asking people with forced-air/AC systems one basic question: Are you happy/satisfied with the performance of your home comfort system? Every time they do the survey the numbers are about the same –  48 to 52% of those surveyed say yes, they are happy and satisfied with the performance of their systems (Here’s a look at some 2010 results).

That means 52 to 48% of the people surveyed are LESS than happy!

Folks, no matter what curve you grade on, that’s an “F.”

One of the biggest complaints? Inconsistent room-by-room comfort.


A more recent survey included homeowners with radiant floor heating systems.  Any guesses on the satisfaction rate for radiant?

80%?  90%?

Try 40%.

Yep, you read that right.  Only 40% of the people surveyed said that were happy and satisfied with the performance of their radiant floor heating system.

Another 40% said their systems were okay, but not quite what they had hoped.  Worse yet, they said they probably wouldn’t spend the money to get radiant again.

The last 20%? They were either demonstrably unhappy – meaning their systems were FUBAR’ed from the get-go – or didn’t know if they were happy or not.

I want to party with those people…

What was the biggest complaint?

Inconsistent room temperatures.  Some rooms were too hot, some rooms were too cold, and some rooms were just right.  Pretty much the same story as people with forced air systems.

If the 48-to-52% scored by forced air systems is an “F,’” then what we’re seeing with radiant is an “F-Minus.”

What gives?

I have a theory.

The last few blog posts we’ve been discussing aggressive zoning strategies for radiant floor heating (Click herehere and here to review).  Now you know why.

We outlined the criteria for grouping rooms together in zones.  If any one of the three criteria isn’t met, then those rooms shouldn’t be zoned together. If they are zoned together, comfort will be all over the map.  One room will be too warm, one too cold, and one (maybe) just right.

We call this “The Goldilocks Syndrome.”

Not quite what the people buying radiant are expecting.

The folks who buy radiant heat expect room-by-room comfort that makes you feel all soft and gooey inside.  They’re knowingly and willingly paying a premium price to get that soft and gooey feeling.  As a result, they justifiably have a higher set of expectations.  And if they don’t get that soft and gooey feeling, their expectations aren’t met.

And when expectations are met, Mr. Bigglesworth gets upset.  And when Mr. Bigglesworth gets upset, people DIE!

(Sorry, Austin Powers/Dr. Evil flashback…)

When expectations aren’t met, folks aren’t happy with their “premium” system. Then they tell Decision Analyst – and anyone else with ears – all about it.  Doesn’t matter if they pressured the contractor to cut the price (and gutting some of the “niceties” from the system in the process),  in the customer’s mind it’s still a premium system because it was more expensive than the alternatives.

Lots more to discuss on this topic.  We’ll tackle it next time.

Chad and Jeremy had a big year in ’64, spoofing Beatlemania in this classic episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show

Oh, Rob…

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