Hydronic Heating Systems
A hydronic heating system is a type of heat exchange or steam system for use in heating homes and business offices, in existence since the 1800’s, during the time in history known as the Industrial Age. Along with changes brought about in transportation with the invention of the steam engine, came the idea for steam heat or hydronic heat systems. This type of heating system is made up of three main components; the heating source also known as the boiler, various pipes (to transport the water), and the heat exchanger, used to transfer heat from hot water into the room needed to be heated. These components are necessary for the heating process to take place. Water heated to near boiling or steam, is transported through various pipe arrays into the radiators placed in various rooms of the home or office, at which time heat is slowly released into the room.
There are three different types of fuel sources, used in hydronic heating systems, these sources include; electricity, gas or oil fired boilers. Boilers can be made from cast iron, copper or stainless steel. There are both advantages and disadvantages to the construction and type of boiler. One thing to keep in mind is that although there are differences, each type of boiler is a closed water system used for heating. Therefore, any large loss of water will cause problems with the way the system functions; it is for this reason the piping array is a very important part of the complete system.
The hydronic heat exchanger is classified by the piping array. Piping arrays consist of a single pipe, two pipes, and a series of looped pipes. The one pipe array was the original form of hydronic heating system. In this system, the single pipe carried steam from the boiler to the heaters in each room. The layout of a single pipe is designed so gravity will pull condensed water through the pipeline and back to the boiler tank. The two-pipe array created a system with a return pipe to bring the water back to the holding tank instead of the gravity induced method. Modern steam based heating systems consist of the use of a series of pipes that are looped and act as a conductor of heat. Modern systems with a stainless steel heat transfer unit are much more energy efficient for both heat and water.
As you can see a hydronic heating system is not only more energy efficient than currently used methods, it will also save money on the monthly utility bills and is much friendlier to the environment.
Hydronic Floor Heat
Hydronic (liquid) systems are the most popular and cost-effective radiant heating systems for heating-dominated climates. Hydronic floor heat systems pump heated water from a boiler through tubing laid in a pattern underneath the floor. In some systems, the temperature in each room is controlled by regulating the flow of hot water through each tubing loop. This is done by a system of zoning valves or pumps and thermostats. The cost of installing a hydronic radiant floor varies by location and also depends on the size of the home, the type of installation, the floor covering, remoteness of the site, and the cost of labor.
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