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Options for Hydronic Heating Systems

People have kept themselves warm with hot water for a millennia, but it wasn’t until about a 100 years ago that use of hot water was harnessed to heat entire homes. What are we talking about? Hydronic heating systems: systems that use hot water, or its byproduct, steam, to heat your home. Lots of innovations have happened over the last century in the heating industry, giving homeowners lots of choices when it comes to home heating.

If you’ve decided that hot water is the way you’d like to heat your home, you have a few choices for outlets:


Radiators have been the staple outlet for hydronic systems since boilers were first produced. Radiators are still great for providing heat, and these days you can choose from a wide variety of styles to fit just about any home. Conventional radiators are the types with “ribs” – tubes that carry the hot water or steam through the radiator and release the heat. Radiators heat effectively and do so gently. Air bubbles can develop in radiator so it’s important to release the air once a year to ensure air lock doesn’t occur.

Baseboard Heating

Baseboard heating works similarly to radiators, but the configuration of the outlet itself is different from a standing radiator. As the name suggests, baseboard heaters are placed on the floor and are part of the baseboard of the room it’s placed in. The piping has fins attached so that when the hot water or steam flows through the pipe, the fins can radiate heat along with the pipe, similar to the ribs of a conventional radiator. The piping and fins are covered, and there are many types of baseboard covers available to complement your décor.

Radiant Heating

Hot water or steam can also be used in radiant heating. With radiant heating, flexible PEX tubing is installed onto subflooring and the hot water or steam flows through, heating the floor above it. Radiant panels for walls and ceilings can also be hydronic, but electricity is preferred. As with radiators and baseboard heating, circulating pumps push the water through the system.

Hydronic systems offer a gentle, comfortable heat for your home. If you think a hydronic heating system is a fit for your home, call Sound Heating today and schedule your heating installation in Tacoma with one of our HVAC experts!

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