So, are you intrigued by hydronic heating? It seems to be the rage. The industry has definitely seen fantastic growth and new products within the past years. For any number of reasons, there appears to be a renaissance in progress. This rebirth of the industry will enable you to purchase corrosion resistant water tubing, highly efficient boilers, decorative radiators (if you choose to use those), and sophisticated controls that deliver heat to as many zones as you wish to create in your new home.
Hydronic Cooling Too!
Don’t think that hydronic systems are limited to just heating. You can also cool your home if you have access to a lake or river nearby that has some very cold water in it. A loop of tubing is submerged in the lake or river. The water within the loop picks up the heat from your house and transfers it to the lake or river. As it does this, it gets chilled and this cold water is circulated through a coil inside your house. Think of hydronics or hydronic systems as simply water "trolleys" or transportation mechanisms. That is what they do best. They simply move heat from one point to another.
I have told homeowners on more than one occasion that heating and cooling systems used in home construction are one of the most important and complicated aspects of building a home. Heating and cooling systems create and maintain an artificial environment inside your home. If you have weather extremes on the other side of the walls, it is vitally important that your system be designed and installed correctly. If it isn’t, you will be miserable and/or waste significant money in fuel costs.
Modern hydronic systems are some of the most complicated of all! This means that you and your installer must be on your toes. The arrangement and design of separate heating zones is critical. Pumps, controls, friction loss in tubing, boiler sizing, expansion tanks, fittings, etc. are all important. If you have one mistake the entire system will suffer.
I am not trying to scare you away from hydronic systems. On the contrary, I am trying to convince you to do your homework. You must educate yourself on the manner in which a system works so that you can talk intelligently with an installer.
Are you remodeling a bathroom? Do you hate cold, tile floors? Why not put in some electric cables or an electric mat beneath the floor tile? It is possible! You don’t have to convert your entire house.
Are you thinking about adding a neat solarium to your house? Perhaps you have a screened in porch with a concrete floor that is 6 inches or so below your existing house floor? You can install a single zoned hydronic system just for this new room! There is no need for a boiler as a simple hot water heater may do the job. This is one of the interesting things about hydronics. Many systems are adaptable. They allow you to work them into an existing heating design. You can’t say that about a lot of other heating and cooling systems.
Great FREE Information
How would you like some wonderful free information about hydronic heating systems? You are going to get numerous booklets, pamphlets, literature from numerous hydronics manufacturers, and a copy of a very informative hydronics magazine called Radiant Living. Available online at www.radiantlivingmag.com. Does this sound too good to be true? Well, it isn't. All you have to do is contact the Radiant Panel Association. Tell them to send you the "Information Packet" that includes all of the above stated items. They are located in Colorado and can be reached during normal business hours at 800-660-7187 or visit their website at www.radiantpanelassocation.org. A Growing Industry
Radiant heating systems are growing in popularity. Currently, the industry in the United States is only 10 percent of what it is in Europe! Europeans long ago embraced radiant heating.
The biggest hurdle you will have to overcome is the dual system requirement. If you live in Michigan’s upper peninsula, then you have a great need for hydronic heat and little use for air conditioning. This is where hydronic heating shines. However, if you live in Lexington, Kentucky then you have a great need for winter heat but just as great a need for summertime air conditioning. Some hydronic systems can be installed that do this to a degree, however it is the exception, not the rule.
Keep in mind what you need and ask questions right from the beginning as to how you will have a comfortable climate year round. Hopefully you will be able to incorporate hydronics in your home. It is a truly wonderful form of heat. I know because a friend of mine heats this way!