Hydronic Heating for the Home

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Are you looking for a home heating system that is king of energy efficiency? You may want to look into hydronic heating. Hydronic heating is when hot liquid is run through plastic tubing along base boards, beneath the floors, or through radiators to heat your home.

Understanding Hydronic Heating

Hydronic heating in residential homes is a closed loop, plastic tubing system that is installed within your homes floor joists or concrete slab, often referred to as radiant flooring that uses hot water for heating. The system allows heat to evenly radiate across the entire surface of your floors.  The use of radiators and baseboard heating units are also sources of hydronic heating.

Most homes are still using forced air furnaces, which delivers warm air through duct work that runs through ceilings, walls, and floors to vents in rooms throughout your home. The problem with forced air systems is the hot and cold spots found due to poor circulation when the furnace turns on and off.  Another problem with forced air furnaces is the dust and dirt that is transferred in the air flow and collects in the air ducts and the air you and your family breaths.

hydronic-heating-homeUnder floor hydronic systems prevent this from happening as it produces a steady flow of heat, which radiates from the floor throughout your entire room. With the heat warming the floors you and your pets will never have to worry about walking on cold floors ever again. Some homebuilders are beginning to use hydronic heating in bedrooms. It is one of the best ways to create constant uniform heating in a room which makes it perfect for baby nurseries. One of the biggest dangers for babies is overheating. If they sleep under a furnace vent or in a warm sleep sack, the situation can become dangerous pretty quickly. Hydronic heating is the gentlest way to heat a room with no hot spots.

The Basic Equipment Neede

There are six different components to every hydronic heating systems for residential homes.

The following are the basic equipment needed:

  • Boiler – Which heats the liquid
  • A liquid medium – Usually this is water, however, some systems work with water and antifreeze mixes.
  • Manifold – the plumbing manifold is connected to the thermostat, which is the hub for directing the water flow and the room temperatures.
  • Tubing – Plastic tubing known as PEX is universal for all hydronic heating systems, there is little rigid piping or copper used.
  • Heat Exchanger – Transfers the heat in your home through baseboard heater, radiator or floor elements.
  • A Pump – Circulates the heated liquid replenishing the warmth constantly.

Hydronic Heating System Benefits

There are many benefits to using hydronic heating systems compared to traditional blown air systems.

Hydronic heat is:

  • Cleaner and more comfortable with no air pollutants or filters to change, while keeping your home at a regulated warmth.
  • Energy efficient and quieter since there is no blowers in use; you save money and enjoy quieter days and nights, without hearing your heating unit starting up and shutting down.
  • Design flexibility allows you to design your hydronic heating system around your needs and works well with most flooring types, such as, tiles, hardwood floors, vinyl and carpeting.

Hydronic heating systems are becoming more and more popular today and can be installed while remodeling or during a new build. If you are considering using hydronic heating it is best to consult with your building crew to cover the basics of your system, the layout and design of your system so that you can reap the many benefits of a cleaner and more comfortable, alternative heating system for your home and family.

Resources:

http://www.laars.com/hydronic-heating.aspx
http://www.sleepsackstore.com
http://www.homepower.com/articles/solar-water-heating/space-heating/renewable-hydronic-heating