What Is a Hydronic Heating System?

A hydronic heating system is a broad term for any system that uses water to heat a home instead of air. Radiant heating systems are the most common form of hydronic heating. In this post, we’ll discuss the various unique qualities of the radiant heating system, and the advantages it provides.

What is Radiant Heating?

Radiant heating systems begin by installing water pipes in each of the rooms to be heated. Normally, these pipes are installed in the walls or subfloor of a room. Occasionally, you’ll see these pipes terminate in a terminal like a baseboard heater or iron radiator. These terminals are becoming less and less common in the U.S., though.

Once these pipes are installed, they all are linked back to a central boiler. The boiler heats water and pumps it through these pipes throughout the house. As the water flows through the pipes, it transfers its heat to the pipes, then the wall or floor, and from there into the room. This is why the system is called “radiant heating,” because the heat radiates through solid objects. The heat then moves from object to object in the room, transferred by two objects touching each other, until the room is evenly heated.

Why Choose Radiant Heating?

In order to understand the benefits of radiant heating, you first need to understand the difference between water and air as thermal mediums. Water is a much better conductor of thermal energy than air is. This makes water a much more energy efficient way to transport heat. Radiant heating systems tend to warm a room faster, and keep it warm longer, with less effort than a forced air system. The delivery system is also part of this.

In forced air systems, warm air is blown through the ducts and into the room to heat it. The problem is that warm air naturally rises to the top of the room, only sinking as it cools. This defeats the purpose of heating the room in the first place. Radiant heating transmits thermal energy through objects instead of the air, avoiding this issue by keeping the heat closer to ground level where it can be appreciated.

If you’d like to know more about radiant heating, call Sound Heating. We install heating systems throughout the Tacoma area.

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