Types of Hydronic Heating
September 12, 2014
Hydronic heating is one of the most efficient and comfortable forms of heating but what exactly is available? Here we outline the options that you have so that you are informed when you make your choice.
Options in Hydronic Heating
One type of hydronic heating is hydronic floor heating. This works by heating water in a boiler and then running the hot water through pipes embedded in the floor. The heat from the water then penetrates through the slab and the floor coverings and warms the room. Hydronic floor heating can be in slab, in screed, or under battened timber. The other type also involves heating water in a boiler but the water is run through pipes to radiator panels that are found throughout the home. The heat passes through the panels in order to warm the rooms.
How the Water Is Heated
The key to any hydronic heating system is the water, as the water must be heated by a boiler before it is run through the pipes. While the boiler must be used to heat the water, you have a choice in how the boiler is powered. The most common option in Australia today is a gas powered boiler (either standard or high efficiency) but the boiler can also be powered by an electric heat pump, a geothermal heat pump or even by solar energy. Each of these options is both energy efficient and environmentally friendly.
Choosing a Hydronic Heating System
The hydronic heating system that you choose will depend on a number of factors. Chief amongst these should be how the boiler is powered. Consider the running costs of the various methods – solar may be the cheapest option but you may need to provide a gas backup for those cloudy or rainy days. Gas is relatively cost efficient and you can choose between natural gas or LPG but will the cost of gas rise over time? Heat pumps require electricity to operate and they can struggle if the outside temperature gets too low.
Also consider the look that you are after. Hydronic floor heating is totally invisible so you won’t see a trace of it after it has been installed, which is perfect if you are after an unobtrusive heating system. Radiator panels need to be placed within the room so they are visible but you have a huge range of styles to choose from, so they can be a feature, rather than something to be hidden.