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What is Hydronic Heating?

September 24, 2014

Radiant heating and Runtal baseboard system in Cambridge, MAAs people look for more efficient, gentle ways to heat their home, hydronic heating just keeps popping up more and more.  Have you ever wondered what hydronic heating actually is?  If you have, here’s everything you need to know.

About Hydronic Heating

Simply speaking, hydronic heating is a form of heating that operates by warming water in a boiler. The water then travels through specially pressurised pipes to radiator panels that are strategically installed throughout the home.  The heat is then radiated out into the room.  The cooled water is then returned to the boiler to be reheated.  Alternatively, the pipes can be laid underneath or within the floor, and the warmed water warms the floor, which then radiates the heat into the home.

The boiler that heats the water is perhaps the most important part of the whole system and it can run on electricity, natural gas, LPG, a geothermal heat pump, an electric heat pump, or even using solar power (with a gas booster for cloudy days).  The cost of running hydronic heating will depend almost solely on how the boiler is powered.

Benefits of Hydronic Heating

Hydronic heating is becoming an ever popular option for a number of reasons:

  • Energy efficiency – hydronic heating is actually one of the most efficient forms of heating if it is used correctly.  You can set the temperature to whatever you desire but a slightly lower temperature will increase the energy efficiency of the system without losing any comfort.  You also have the ability to zone the system so you don’t waste energy heating rooms you don’t use.  The method of heating the water will also determine the energy efficiency – solar or heat pumps are the most efficient options but off peak electricity and gas are also cheap.  Your system can cost as little as a few dollars a month to run.
  • Healthy – because there are no fans involved with hydronic heating, it is a very healthy form of heating.  It does not blow up or circulate dust, pollens or other allergens, keeping your indoor air cleaner.  In fact, it’s the perfect type of heating for people that suffer allergies or other respiratory problems.
  • Versatile – if you have hydronic heating running to all the rooms in your house, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to heat all the rooms at once.  You can zone the hydronic heating so that it is only heating the rooms that you are currently using, for example, one zone for bedrooms and another for living areas.
  • Low maintenance and reliable – another benefit of hydronic heating is that it is so low maintenance and reliable.  It has very few moving parts and thus there is very little that can go wrong with the system.  You can run it for years without worrying about something breaking!
  • Safe – hydronic heating systems are also very safe, as the actual panels themselves do not get too warm to touch.  In fact, children and pets can safely touch the panels without risking burns.  In the case of underfloor systems, the floor only gets pleasantly warm.

To learn more about hydronic heating and how it can benefit your home, contact us today!

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