Terms of the Trade: What is Hydronic Heating?

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Hydronic heating is a process that uses water to heat the home. These systems provides a green method of heating as it recycles water and uses heat already present in the home. Another benefit is that is saves the homeowner money on heating and cooling costs. Hydronic heating systems can be installed in an old home or a new build. One of the more popular types of hydronic heating is using it as radiant heat as the sub-floor. Read on to learn more about how hydronic heating works and why it is an economical heating solution.

The Heating Element

Hydronic heating works on the premise that it recycles heat and water, which are both abundant in your home. The heating element is either your boiler or furnace, which heats the water, but then pushes it out to the rest of the home. The heating elements you use in the home can vary and can be used with each other, depending on your needs. The most common heating element found with a hydronic heating system is the radiator. Other forms include floors vents as well as under floor heating.

Types of Hydronic Heating

A hydronic heating system can consist of several ways to transport the heat. The word "hydronic" means water, and one of the types is a water-based system, found in radiators as well as under the floor. You can also have a dry hydronic system where warm air is forced through the vents. The hot air is created by the heating of water. Radiant heat is the process of heating water that is present in tubes under a floor. A hydronic heating system can also use electric storage, which stores the energy at night for a slow release during the day.

The Process of Hydronic Heating

Hydronic heating is an easy way to heat the home. It can use existing duct work from a forced air heating system or you can renovate the home with hydronic heating in mind. Unlike other types of home heating the hydronic heating system doesn't produce gaps in heating. In other types of heating systems the hot air is blow out a vent with no direction. This means that the room will be unevenly heated and drafts and cold spots will be present. Hydronic heating uses radiant heat to warm a room.

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The best hydronic system is one that works as the sub-floor of the home. It is aluminum covered foam board with grooves carved out of it. They are placed on the floor in a manner that resembles a snaking pattern. PEX hose is then placed inside the grooves with the termination point leading down to the furnace or the boiler. As the boiler heats the water it is pushed through the hose.

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