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Hydronic Heating

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 enjoyment.

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 water.

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 air system.

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!