Hydronic Systems

UPDATED on April 18, 2014

Hydronic Systems Circulate Hot Water

Hydronic heating systems are clean and quiet

Hydronic heating systems distribute heat by pumping water or a solution of water and antifreeze through tubing made from copper or a type of plastic called cross-linked polyethylene (PEXCross-linked polyethylene. Specialized type of polyethylene plastic that is strengthened by chemical bonds formed in addition to the usual bonds in the polymerization process. PEX is used primarily as tubing for hot- and cold-water distribution and radiant-floor heating.). Most systems rely on a boiler to heat the fluid. They typically burn fossil fuels, such as natural gas, heating oil, or propane. Dual-fuel boilers can burn either one of two fuels, cordwood or fuel oil, for example.
Because hydronic heat does not rely on the circulation of air, it does not move dust and other contaminants around the house. Most hydronic systems don't use fans, either, so they don't make much noise and they don't create drafts. The pressure imbalances that forced-air systems can inadvertently create are not a problem with hydronic systems.

The big drawback with a hot-water heating system is that ...

Tags: , ,
Aug 27, 2009 12:27 PM ET

P&M Link
by Mike Guertin, GBA Advisor

Gary H's post included an incorrect link. I think it should have been to Plumbing and Mechanical magazine: www.pmmag.com

Aug 3, 2009 3:12 AM ET

Electric or gas hydronic in floor heating
by MIke

I am building a new home on the water about 2800 SQft with 12 ft vaulted cieling over the living and kitchen area. My lower floor area is foam block foundation. I am trying to figure out if gas is better or electric hydronic in floor for heating. I am considering the gas unit that will do both the floor heating and hot water. an un bias opion would be helpful

Aug 1, 2009 3:52 PM ET

How to get ALL the facts about radiant heat and other uesfull

The publication used by the design Engineering HVAC professional WORLD can now be yours FREE.
SO why not get the facts as published around the world rather than listen to billybob?

May 20, 2009 6:13 AM ET

Pump charts
by Michael Chandler, GBA Advisor

I've found the pump charts in the Grainger catalogue to be useful in sizing Taco pumps for these sorts of applications. With 40 feet to the roof you are looking at a Taco 009 or larger. But the floor loops would probably be served by an 006 which would likely be less expensive than the three-way valve you would need to divert the flow from the solar harvesting circuit to the radiant heating circuit, so the savings of using a single pump would likely not materialize.

Recently I've been getting some very energy-efficient French pumps from Solar H2ot in Cary, NC, and they have an engineer there, Dan Gretch, 919-656-9810, who is very helpful on phone support and pump sizing and pipe design.

May 19, 2009 2:19 PM ET

Sizing hydronic circulators
by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor

Here are three resources for sizing hydronic circulators:

1. A good book is:
Modern Hydronic Heating for Residential and Light Commercial Buildings, by John Siegenthaler. Cengage Learning, 2003. ISBN #0766816370.

2. Here's an online guide: "Sizing Circulators for Hot Water Heating Systems."

3. "Hydronic Heating and Hot Water Recirc Systems," a handbook published by Grudfos, a manufacturer of circulators, is available online.

May 19, 2009 10:42 AM ET

Pump selection
by david kurtz

Could someone point me to any literature dealing with selection of pumps? I am specifically trying to find out thoughts on saving money doing one pump instead of two. One larger one that might do double duty circulating water through an open loop solar thermal system(40 feet up to the roof) during the day and then dumping the heat into my pre-plumbed radiant slab (basement(400sf) main floor(1000sf) and master bath(150sf). Water pressure would be enough for preheating for domestic use. Thanks for any help! Great site! Cant wait to keep reading!-dk

Register for a free account and join the conversation

Get a free account and join the conversation!
Become a GBA PRO!