Radiant hydronic heating, or floor heating as it’s more commonly known, is a pretty popular trend in home heating systems nowadays. People are replacing their old and outdated forced air heating systems and incorporating hydronic heating more than ever. It’s no wonder, considering the level of comfort and convenience that floor heating provides. However, some homeowners are still on the fence when it comes to hydronic heating due to its price and installation process. To clear up any misconceptions about hydronic heating, here’s everything you should know about this type of heating for your home.
Installing hydronic heating
The installation process for hydronic heating is pretty straightforward. The radiator panels are placed in the subfloor level and connected with pipework. Boards and flooring won’t be affected, except for areas where the pipes become difficult or panels terminate. Resurfacing the floors after installation should be easy.
The boiler should be placed in a well-ventilated area, preferably outdoors. Here you will also attach a pump which will circulate water through the system. Ask your plumber how to place the boiler to comply with local regulations.
You can install one or more thermostat panels all throughout your home. The great thing about these controls is that they can change the temperature of individual rooms. The expert that handles your installation will set the temperature to a comfortable level for the whole home, so you won’t have to make any drastic adjustments, but the option is still there.
It’s pretty uniform
One of the more noticeable drawbacks of forced air heating is that it doesn’t keep your whole home warm to the same degree. No matter how well you seal your doors and windows, certain rooms will leak heat and feel colder, while other rooms will stay stuffy and hot. The shift from hot to cold becomes noticeable when you move from room to room and it’s not exactly comfortable.
Hydronic heating doesn’t have this problem. The heat panels installed under the floor are spread out evenly throughout the home. Virtually every square inch of the floor is warmed to your taste, and it keeps the rooms uniformly warm. Concentrating heat on the floor makes hydronic heating more comfortable and practical for keeping the temperature up.
Retrofitting is a challenge
Every home is built with a certain kind of heating system in mind. It’s an integral part of the home’s infrastructure. Because of this, it’s not very easy to retrofit applications into a home, especially if they’re related to the heating.
When it comes to forced-air heating, installing air ducts is the biggest challenge. Creating a complex web of air ducts to keep the heat flowing properly requires a home that is designed to fit them. Radiant heating is just as challenging, as it requires that you remove floorboards to install panels. If you’re particularly fond of your flooring and don’t want to have to redo it, radiant heating installation is going to be tough.
If you’re interested in hydronic radiant heating, you would either have to start with a blank slate of a home or use a convenient form of installation during a renovation. Many manufacturers offer ultra-thin heating panels that are somewhat easier to fit in existing homes. This can be a saving grace for those who want radiant heating, but don’t want to do too much damage to their floors.
It’s the quiet option
If you’re not a fan of noisy home systems, forced-air heating might not be the most ideal choice for you. It’s a system that announces its presence one way or another. When you walk in a home with this type of heating, you’ll quickly take note of the vents.
Hydronic heating is, without a doubt, the quieter installation option. The panels are beneath the floor and slotted out, which keeps them out of the way. They stay out of sight and don’t produce any moving air, which means there’s no noise while they work.
It requires a boiler
As previously mentioned, this type of heating requires a boiler to function. Most homes will already have a boiler, but it’s unlikely that it can satisfy the needs of the heating system and general hygiene needs at the same time. This is why installing a second boiler just for the radiant heating system is recommended.
Adding another boiler will contribute to the final project cost, but it’s still an investment worth making. Even with the additional cost of the boiler, the overall cost of installing hydronic heating is still relatively low. Not to mention, it also comes with very low maintenance and running costs. The efficiency of this heating system is unparalleled, which is why so many households are installing radiant hydronic heating despite the initial costs.
It takes up very little space
Since most of the installations for floor heating are located in the subfloor, you don’t actually have any heating elements in your room. There are no radiators placed around your home and no ducts or pipes in the ceiling. This gives you more space and design freedom for all the rooms throughout your home.
Many modern home designs are incorporating radiant heating simply because of this convenience. Without the radiators taking up space and adding clutter to a room, you are better able to design a minimalistic room with as few elements as possible. This also allows you to place more of your desired items if you’re aiming for a warm and chic design. Either way, there’s a lot more freedom for your home’s décor.
There’s a reason why so many homeowners are opting for hydronic heating nowadays. It’s a convenient and practical solution that wastes very little energy in day to day usage. Because of all the benefits that come with hydronic radiant heating, more and more homes are being equipped with this system. If you’re looking for an efficient and quiet heating system for your home, this might just be the right one for you.
Guest author, Ron Wolf is a hobby designer and a DIY enthusiast, and, above all, a very blessed father of two. Besides that, he has a strong passion for writing. He is a featured blogger at various blogs and magazines in which he shared his research and experience with the vast online community. If he is not working he enjoys being outside with his family. Hiking, bike riding, and BBQing are always a thing for him. In the evening, he likes to watch documentaries or build something with kids in their lego corner.