Homeowners can find efficient residential heating a challenge, particularly in areas that see their share of cold weather (including, of course, the Denver area). If you want to equip your home with a more efficient and cost-effective heating system than you currently have, you should consider installing hydronic heating.
A basic understanding of how hydronic heating systems work, and why they work as well as they do, can help you decide whether to invest in this radiant heating technology. Check out the answers to these frequently asked questions on the subject.
What Is Hydronic Heating?
Hydronic heating counts as a type of radiant heating, the delivery of thermal energy directly to large interior surfaces such as walls and floors. This heat delivery method sets radiant heating systems apart from furnace-based heating systems, which simply warm the air that circulates through a home or commercial building.
While radiant heating systems can pump heated air or use electricity to warm surfaces, hydronic heating specifically uses hot water pushed through pipes by a boiler. Freestanding radiators also use hydronic heating, but on a smaller and more limited scale. Full-scale hydronic heating systems can serve entire residences.
How Do Different Hydronic Heating Setups Work?
Hydronic floor systems include two primary installation options. A wet installation sends the heating pipes directly through the flooring, while a dry installation runs the pipes through an air space underneath the flooring. Dry installations offer quicker and easier setup, but they require you to maintain higher water temperatures.
In a typical hydronic wall installation, the installer attaches a series of flat aluminum panels to the wall’s structural beams. The heating tubes run through each panel, transferring hot water to each of them in turn. The hot water then returns to the boiler for reheating and recirculation.
Hydronic heating systems don’t just help keep home interiors warm. You also have the option of installing this form of radiant heating under your driveway, sidewalk, or patio to keep those exterior structures from freezing solid in the winter.
What Ambient Temperatures Can You Expect From Hydronic Heating?
Hydronic heating system will always feel warmer close to the surface receiving the heat. In a concrete floor setup, for example, this may mean that a temperature of 75 degrees Fahrenheit at the floor will drop to 68 degrees Fahrenheit at eye level, with the ceiling level of the room registering only 61 degrees Fahrenheit.
How Does Hydronic Heating Save You Money?
Hydronic heating keeps the inhabited spaces of a room within a consistently neutral temperature range. The heat transfer to your feet and household furnishings allows you to feel comfortable at a lower overall setting than you’d require from a furnace, which would cycle on and off to provide only intermittent warmth.
Hydronic heating systems have another money-saving advantage over furnace heating systems: zone control. You can install a hydronic heating system with a control system that enables you to heat specific areas of the home at different times of day, on an as-needed basis, instead of always heating the whole house.
Why Do You Need a Separate System for Cooling Your Home?
Hydronic systems don’t cool as effectively as they heat, mainly because they can’t pull moisture out of the air like a traditional HVAC system can. If anything, they can make your humidity problem even worse by causing water vapor to condense, leaving you with a slick, damp floor without improving your comfort.
If you already have an HVAC system in your home, you’ll want to use your air conditioner as you always do whenever you need to cool and dry your household air, running the hydronic heating system only when temperatures warrant it. (You also have the option of supplementing one heating system with the other.)
Steele Bros Heating, Inc., proudly offers hydronic heating installation and service for homeowners looking for finer climate control and a higher standard of comfort. Contact us today for more information.