What is Hydronic Radiant Heating?
The idea behind radiant heating is simple. Using a boiler, you heat up water or create steam (though it is almost always water). The hot water or steam is then circulated throughout the house in pipes and tubes that go directly to radiators, baseboard heaters, or beneath floorboards, releasing the heat they gathered in the boiler.
Many people prefer radiant heat because it is quieter and more even, allowing for a comfortable heating experience instead of the feeling of stale heated air coming through vents.
What are the benefits of hydronic heating over using a furnace?
With hydronics, you can enjoy a more even heating experience. What that means is it's easier to control the temperature zones between each room in your house, controlling how warm it is from one room to the next. You can also use hydronics to heat the sidewalks or driveways around your home, melting snow and ice during the winter instead of having to manually remove it.
Because there are no vents installed with radiant floor heating, you also have the benefit of being able to move your furniture and appliances anywhere without worrying about blocking a vent or causing a fire hazard.
And because radiant heating has residual effects and rises more slowly than air, you will use less of it to heat a comparably sized room, in effect lowering the operating costs of your heating system.
What kind of air conditioning is best with hydronic heating?
Because your hydronics heating system utilizes below floor tubing, air conditioning must be installed separately, not using the same system parts. To do that, you can choose to use a ductless split air conditioners to pipe in cold air from an outdoor condenser. You can also install a packaged air conditioning system that utilizes ducts, though the additional ductwork installation is best done in conjunction with the installation of your hydronics piping.
Will it cost more to install a hydronics system?
The cost of hydronics installation is slightly higher than furnace air heating. However, because hydronics heating is more efficient in retaining heat in a room, and because of the easy addition of zone controls, money is saved in the long run as your boiler will use far less energy than a traditional gas or electric furnace. On average, a hydronic heating system will deliver energy bills about 1/3 less than a traditional heating bill.
Where is hydronic heating best suited?
Hydronic heating works in almost any building type, though it is best suited for residential buildings and homes. Sometimes, very large homes or complexes will utilize multiple boiler systems to ensure adequate heat throughout the coldest months of winter, but with high efficiency modern boilers, even that may not be necessary.
Do hydronics work well with other types of heating?
Hydronics can be installed in addition to warm air heating as well as a heat pump if you already have another heating system in place. The addition of hydronic piping in the floor and outside is something only this form of heating can provide and makes a great supplement to a traditional heat source from your furnace.