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Hydronic Radiant Heat

Hot Water Used to Heat Your Floor

In a hydronic radiant system, closed-loop tubing embedded in the flooring uses water at temperatures of 140 to 180 degrees to conduct heat to the surface of the floor, where it is radiated to the air in your home. PEX tubing, a type of tubing used in the United States since the 1980's is most common today. It's flexible and resistant to cracking. The water is usually heated by a boiler. A separate thermostat regulates each zone of tubing and controls the hot water being pumped to that area. The water itself is usually treated to resist freezing and to keep it from causing corrosion, and is in a closed system, which means that it is used over and over again.

Pros:

  • Best for very large, new houses- Generally, hydronic radiant heating is a better idea for a new house if you want to heat the entire house with radiant heat. There is a higher cost at the beginning than electric because you must purchase a boiler, so the more space you want to heat and the longer you plan to leave the system turned on each day, the better an investment hydronic becomes. Only in very large, new projects will hydronic installation be less expensive than electric.
  • Appearance- Hydronic systems can also look better in large areas than electric because it doesn't involve connections to your electrical system.
  • Low-maintenance pumps- most pumps now use water as a lubricant, making them quiet and virtually maintenance-free.
  • Fuel source- When it comes to the equipment used to heat the water in a hydronic system, there are options. Anything from natural gas heaters to electric boilers to solar power can be used, giving homeowners some flexibility.

Cons:

  • Warm-up time- A hydronic system is set in deeper concrete, so it takes several hours to warm up each time it is turned on, something to consider if you only plan to have your system on part of the day or only on certain days.
  • Maintenance- Hydronic systems can be difficult to repair, and a leak is not always easy to find. Boilers will require some maintenance, depending on the type. The entire system will probably need to be completely emptied and refilled approximately every 6 years. If you have a glycol system, the ph of the water should be checked yearly.

Also check out: Electric Radiant Heat


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