How It Works
The field of hydronic heating uses water circulated throughout to heat the
home. The water is actually recycled and therefore is considered green energy, leaving a smaller carbon footprint
in its wake. Whether you live in an older home or a new building, hydronics can be used for your heating
Hydrionic heating is one of the most common forms of radiant heating that you will find in the
marketplace to install at home. Your existing boiler or furnace can provide the heating element to warm the
The water is then forced out into the home by way of coils or piping. Radiators, floor vents or
under floor heating warms the home. Existing ductwork can be used as well.
There are four types of hydronic system that can work through using this technology: wet
(water) based, dry (forced air), radiant (under floor) and electric storage.
The latter type is exactly what it sounds like: the heat is stored at the lower cost
nighttime rates for a slow release during the daytime. Central heating is when a heat generator, such as a boiler
or a furnace, is used to control and heat the water for circulation throughout the home through pipes and emitters
to heat the rooms required.
A pumped central heating system will use hydronic heating by pumping water from a boiler by a
circulator through coils to radiators. Any of these heat supply methods can be used as standalone systems or in
conjunction with one another.
When a boiler is used for hydronic floor heating it is
considered a mains fed device where a high pressure system internally houses components such as the circulator
pump, diverter and bypass valves, expansion vessel and filling loop that are housed outside the unit in a central
A boiler offers the added benefit of heating water (commonly done by a water heater) as well as
heating the home. When a low pressure boiler is chosen, you will find that the hydronic hot water heating is
gravity-fed from a storage tank mounted in a higher position than the boiler itself. You can also find on market a
condensing boiler that will recapture the vapor that is produced by the heat and reuse for the hydronics.
Depending on the floor heating systems used,
the heat is delivered within a hydronic heating system in different manners. Baseboards are commonly used along the
floor with a release usually within the corner areas of the room. There are openings at the top and bottom for
convection. Radiators can continue to heat rooms even after a boiler has turned itself off.
Radiant heating will offer heat through tubing in the foundation slab or sandwiched between the
subfloor and basement. Concrete and ceramic tile are two of the best convection products, making the home warmer
than the use of carpet or wood flooring would.
Also based on the piping arrangements, hydronic systems are classified into single pipe, two
pipe steam, three pipe, four pipe and series loop. This is a more technical aspect, however, that will be
discussed in an article of its own. It is suffice to know that the more modern heating systems use hot water
instead of steam for getting the home heated.
When it comes to larger buildings, the two pipe reverse return system is using steam to reheat
the entire floor of that building instead of using individual radiators to heat up the place one by one.
Hydronic heating is flexible enough that you can use it to heat your home or office, swimming
pool or spa, towel racks, and driveways or sidewalks. Benefits can seem limitless when dealing with hydronics. Your
home will be evenly heated, so you are comfortable wherever you are in the building.
The efficiency of this method of heating is unsurpassed as you save on heat leakage, energy
bills and it is safe around everyone and everything. No fans, no drafts, and no allergies make this a healthy
choice as well. Multiple fuels can be used including natural gas, propane, fuel oil, and solar energy so your home
is quite environmentally friendly.
No matter what choice you make with the hydronic heating for the home, you won't regret it!