In a dry climate like ours here in Greeley and Northern Colorado, hydronic heating can not only heat a building effectively and comfortably, it can help keep humidity at a comfortable level during the winter months.
Simply put, hydronic heating uses hot water boilers to distribute heat through small hot water pipes. A pump sends the hot water -- and thus the heat -- to baseboard or radiant flooring systems.
The water itself is not the source or the destination…it’s the carrier of the heat. Heat is absorbed by the water at a heat source, conveyed by it, then release into a room. Water carries far more heat by volume than air does, providing more fuel efficiency than a traditional hot air furnace system.
Custom Designed for Each Location
The configurations of a hydronic system are nearly limitless and can be custom designed for each homeowner. For example, a tank-type water heater can be connected to flexible plastic tubing that runs beneath a bathroom floor to warm it. Another system might use two or more boilers operating in stages to release heat through an assortment of heat emitters, and even provide hot water for the premises. You can use even hydronic heating to heat a swimming pool, or melt snow as it falls on the driveway.
The hydronic system allows for “zone” heating – controlling the temperature of each room for maximum comfort of the occupants. While forced-air systems can also be zoned, hydronic heating systems are simpler and easier to control.
And hydronic heating is ultimately more economical: A single system can supply space heating, domestic hot water, and handle extra loads, such as swimming pools. Redundant elements like exhaust systems, electrical hookups and multiple heat sources, among others, are all eliminated.
Clean, Quiet Operation
Force-air heating moves dust and other airborne pollutants through a building, not only creating somewhat dirty air, but requiring duct cleaning every few years. Hydronic systems, however, generally don’t involve forced-air circulation; when they do, they use room air circulation, rather than building air circulation. This reduces airborne particle dispersal. The system also operates virtually silently in the rooms of the home.
Maintenance Is Crucial
Of course, if your hydronic system is not properly maintained, it is as susceptible to damage and wear as any other heating system.
Checking an older system annually will tell you if old pipes need replacement, or if there are potential failures in the boiler itself. Baseboard heaters should be checked periodically to be sure they are not leaking, are retaining heat properly, and are distributing the hot water effectively.
Unfortunately, some new systems may not have been properly installed or maintained. Radiant floor heating systems should be inspected every year, and if you notice a sudden drop in hot water supply, any noises in the floor pipes or uneven heating in the home, you’ll want a maintenance inspection to be sure the system is still sound.
Troudt Plumbing and Heating of Greeley installs and maintains hydronic heating systems. Contact us today for more information, or to have us inspect your current system.