The Gas Man
Muskoka & Parry Sound
Important Things You Should Know About Hydronics
As a Hydronic specialist we can give some helpful tips regarding hydronic installation, repair and maintenance.
What is a Hydronics Specialist?
Hydronics specialty is a specialty within the plumbing trades. Just like a medical specialist, they have specific training and knowledge to understand and diagnose problems, or design and install a complete system. Most are also well versed in low voltage electrical wiring and have special tools and diagnostic equipment particular to the specialty.
Radiant Floor Heating vs. Radiators
As you pull yourself out of bed in the morning and walk towards the bathroom, cold air, drafts, and chilly temperatures can be uncomfortable. There are many ways to add heat to your property, such as radiant floor heating and radiators.
Installing radiant floor heating can be expensive. Sometimes, it can’t be installed on existing flooring, which means that your floors would be destroyed and replaced along with installing the radiant heating system. This type of improvement is excellent when you’re remodeling your entire property or building a new one. Retrofitting takes longer than installing tubing over a floor that is clear of existing fixtures.
Radiator units are advised to be installed in the coldest part of a room. Multiple units are likely needed in larger rooms to warm the space more evenly and consistently. It’s also essential to ensure that radiators aren’t placed near drapes or by furniture that could block the heat from radiating.
Radiant floor heating can use both heating coils or plastic Pex tubing carrying heated water to keep your floors warm. The heat generated in the floor radiates into things that are in contact, like tables and chairs, making your space warm. Heat is equally dispersed in each room. Hydronic systems can take a lot of time to warm up. But once the area is heated, the effects will last longer as heat radiates in the entire floor.
Radiators use warm water or steam to heat their coils, which then warms the surrounding space through radiation and convection. To fully warm the space, multiple radiator units are needed for each room. However, these systems can produce heat faster, and each room can be controlled by its thermostat, which can match your heat usage to how often you are in a room.
The radiators are usually installed along the edge of exterior walls, and some heat can be lost to your property’s outdoor space as heat radiates outwards.
While radiant floor heating can be a more expensive option initially, you'll feel the home comfort and financial benefits for decades. Contact us for pricing options and an estimate!
Radiant floor heating is energy-efficient as it is usually zoned and controlled by individual thermostats in each room. This lets you heat only the areas of your home that you’re occupying.
On average, thermostats can be set 4 to 5 degrees lower than other heating systems. Radiators are less effective as the heat they generate is cycled throughout a room using convection.
Radiant floor heating systems are sturdy and can last up to 35 years. Typical radiators and piping systems can be expected to last between 15 to 20 years and will then likely require complete replacement.
Type of Flooring Required
Radiant heat flooring has several considerations and restrictions regarding what type of flooring material you can install over it. While non-insulating, human-made materials like tile and laminate will give you the best, most consistent heat, it’s still possible to use radiant heat with other floors.
Some people consider radiant floor heating a luxury feature in a property and may increase your property’s resale value. In comparison, radiators have no impact on the resale value of your home or office. Proper maintenance and care for all heating systems are considered an essential factor in any property sale.
Regular maintenance of hydronic radiant floor heating is easy. It focuses on the boiler, water heater, and pumps used to move the water throughout the plastic Pex tubes. However, if there is a leak or the tubes need to be repaired, it can be expensive
Maintenance of electric radiant heating is minimal, but if the system requires repair, the entire floor will need to be separated to locate and repair the problem. Radiators and baseboard piping require more ongoing maintenance, including annual “bleeding,” which means releasing any air built up in the system.
Which Is Better, Forced-Air or Radiant Heat?
If you’re planning to purchase a new heating system, consider radiant heat's benefits over forced air. The radiant heat is 30 percent more efficient, and it also provides a more even, continuous level of warmth.
When it comes to radiant floor vs. forced-air heating, the radiant floor always wins because it provides a pleasant, even heat and eliminates the allergy problems that can often be associated with heating ducts. Another reason is that it is simply more efficient.
The Problem with Forced-Air
Anyone who has lived with a forced hot air system is familiar with the challenges of this type of heat. It warms your home with duct work and a series of hot-air distribution grills mounted in the ceiling or floor. The room warms faster but then cools equally fast resulting in a heating pattern that requires you to constantly adjust your thermostat and causing your furnace to turn on and off, wasting energy. Hot air blows through ducts, and some of that heat is absorbed through the walls of the ducts and released into unheated areas of the house, such as crawl spaces.
The Benefits of Radiant Heat
A radiant floor system solves all of the inefficiencies inherent in forced-air systems, with some studies showing that they are as much as 30 percent more efficient. The heating panels are in direct contact with the floor. That’s why there is less parasitic heat loss, as there are no long pathways for the warmth to travel.
Air doesn’t go out of vents in this kind of system, so there are no breezes to contend with, allowing you to keep the thermostat lower. The blower in a forced-air system requires nine times the electricity used by the pumps in radiant systems. The heat is also more consistent with radiant flooring. Instead of getting blasts of warm air that gradually raise the room’s temperature, radiant heat provides a constant level of warmth, which means less fussing with the thermostat.
Hydronic Water Quality is Important
Water Quality Recommendations
Water quality in hydronic systems plays an important role in the life and efficiency of your system. Water of the wrong quality can cause a decrease in heat transfer ability and eat away at the system causing leaks. Ensuring the proper water quality is a key step in the installation and maintenance of your system. Before any water is added to a new system, ensure that the system has been properly treated. All boiler manufacturers recommend the system is tested and treated.
Deviations from these optimal conditions can cause problems with the system and void the warranty of system components and boilers.
The Gas Man offers testing of water quality for hydronics as well as advice on your project. For prices and approved sample bottles, please ask.
If you have any questions regarding the water quality in your system or require assistance please contact us.
Water Quality Recommendations
Water quality in hydronic systems plays an important role in the life and efficiency of your system. Water of the wrong quality can cause a decrease in heat transfer ability and eat away at the system causing leaks. Ensuring the proper water quality is a key step in the installation and maintenance of your system. It is important to understand what each of the following parameters of water quality mean, and how a deviation from the recommended range will cause damage to your system. The Gas Man recommends the following for a low maintenance system:
Hydronic water should be treated before and after boiler installation
What is a boiler?
If you use a furnace to heat your home, chances are you don’t know much about boilers. But if you’re building a new home and have the chance to pick between a furnace or boiler, there are a number of reasons why you should consider the latter of the two. Keep reading to learn the basics of boilers, including the many benefits of hydronic heating systems. The technicians at The Gas Man cover it all in the hope of making your decision an easier one.
Five Things to Know About Boilers Before You Invest
If you want to know more about boilers—or have one installed in your home—just ask us. Not all heating and cooling companies work with these complex systems, but our team takes the guesswork out of them. We can recommend and install a new system, provide routine maintenance, or repair any problems you might have.