Is your existing heating system too expensive to operate, or it is old and breaks too often, costing you too much for frequent repairs? Are you planning to switch from the electric or oil powered system to a more affordable and reliable gas heating? No matter if your home size and number of family members, a hydronic heating system might be a solution you are looking for. Here you will find some useful tips either you are building a new house, upgrading an existing system, or simply replacing it.
Choosing or changing the heating system could be a decision that will make a significant relief on your household budget and enhance your comfort. More than 60% of the annual energy is required to operate home heating, so choosing wisely can get you great cost reduction, long-term and comfortable solution.
Also, about 20% of the energy is required for water heating, which is the second-largest energy consumer in one’s home. So, combining home and water heating into one system with the installation of a tankless combi heater might be one of the cost-effective solutions for you.
Whatever change you make your investment should be effective, bring you a decent return, and worry-free use.
The right heating system is the efficient one, lasts for a long time, is affordable, has low operating costs, and is clean (it does not emit various pollutants into the atmosphere).
When it comes to pollution, every heating device is directly or indirectly involved in pollution. Gas furnaces would emit pollutants at the point of use, while electrical units where the energy is generated.
For me, hydronic heating, powered by natural gas is the way to go. It provides clean and low-cost heating.
There are several types of heating systems available, and based on the fuel source, you can buy units running on electricity, oil, wood, gas, and solar energy, including a combination of different energy sources. Plus, there is a variety of equipment and many manufacturers, so it is harder to decide which one to buy.
The most common heating equipment used in North America are:
Two systems are the most present in central home heating: forced air and hydronic (hot water systems).
Forced air heating systems use warm air to heat. These systems are equipped with the furnace as the heat source, ducts, registers, and controllers, all working together to produce and distribute the heated air throughout your home.
Hydronic systems use warm or hot water to distribute heat. Warm water is used in radiant floor heating while hot water in radiator systems.
Hydronic radiant floor systems use warm water with temperatures of around 70 F, running through the pipes that are installed below the flooring. The floor acts as one big radiator. Floor heating is ideal for heating large areas in homes and buildings, and it works well with almost any floor covering. The main advantages are even heat distribution, efficient use of space, and no maintenance required.
In hydronic systems that use radiators, hot water is prepared inside the boiler, circulating through the pipes using the circulation pumps. Hot water is delivered to the baseboards and radiators, where it transfers the heat to the surrounding room air. While circulating through the house, hot water delivers heat and then returns to the boiler for reheating. These systems also have controllers such as thermostats and valves that are installed to regulate the process.
Hydronic systems that use radiators are often found in European homes and buildings, and since they are installed above the floor and on the wall, they occupy living space and sometimes are not much visually appealing. Unless you have vintage radiators. The hydronic system typically produces and circulates water in a closed system where the temperature of hot water is around 80 F. Older homes have wrought-iron pipes and cast-iron radiators, and modern homes have mostly copper or plastic pipes, and aluminum radiators or panels installed. Radiators or panels are installed in each room of your home while in bathrooms, you can also include towel warmers.
Radiators use convection to heat the air inside a room. When they heat the air, the air rises toward the ceiling, then it cools down and falls to the ground where it is heated again. This creates a non-stop circulation of hot and cold air. Keep in mind if the system is not designed correctly, you might end up with many cold and hot spots, which will reduce your comfort.
Radiators are usually installed below windows and by the doors. The cold air from outside drops on the radiator or baseboards where it gets heated, thus eliminating the effect of cold windows, open windows, and doors.
A typical piping arrangement in residential homes is one or two pipes system.
Except for indoor heating as described above, hydronic heating systems can also be used in outdoor applications such as melting the snow on a driveway or heating the pool.
Depending on the energy source, hydronic heating systems contain more or fewer components.
The main components are:
The most significant advantage of the hydronic heating systems is that they can use a variety of energy sources for central heating of a whole house, even a portion of it. No matter if you are using natural or propane gas, electric, oil, solar, geothermal, wood, or a combination of these sources, your comfort is guaranteed.
The article should help anyone make an informed choice when planning to install a hydronic heating system in his home.