While its popularity is spreading, to many Australians the concept of hydronic heating is quite novel. And while it may sound a little complicated to the uninitiated, it is actually quite a simple but highlyefficient form of heating that has been around for many decades.
Beautiful in its Simplicity
Unlike many heating systems that rely on blowing hot air throughout your house, the key to hydronic heating is water, which is excellent at retaining and moving heat to different rooms.
The system works using a gas boiler, electric heat pump, solid fuel boiler or electric boiler to heat water, which is then moved silently through a closed loop network of pipes and used to heat a physical ‘mass’. This mass could take the form of wall-mounted steel, cast iron or aluminium radiators located throughout your premises, or a concrete floor. It can also be used to heat the towel rails in your bathroom.
A constant flow of water is circulated through the pipe network, discharging heat through the radiator or floor, before circulating through the boiler / heat pump to be reheated or topped up. This results in what is both an eco-friendly and cost-effective heating solution for your whole house.
When compared to air, water, metal and concrete are physical masses which are far superior in transferring heat. Therefore, hydronic heating systems engage one of the simplest forms of heat transfer: conduction. Now that may be a term you haven’t heard since school science class, but it basically means the transfer of heat between touching objects, e.g. when your feet become warm from walking on hot sand, or a spoon sitting in hot coffee heats up.
Hydronic systems transfer heat from the surface of pipes filled with hot water to the surfaces in your home or commercial premises. Radiators, in-slab pipework, trench convectors and heated towel rails act as heat emitters that transfer the heat from the pipes to a mass and then onto the room.
As a result, your home is heated to a consistent and comfortable temperature. Because there are no fans, ducts or vents, you don’t get the cold spots or fluctuations common with forced air type heating options.
The Major Components of Hydronic Heating
- Boilers: These can be gas, solid fuel or electric boilers. They can be installed either internally or externally, depending on your layout and needs. Solid fuel boilers are generally installed outdoors in a separate building. Heat pumpsthat draw heat from the externalair are another energy efficient option.
- Piping: Pipes may be made of copper or PEX (cross-linked polyethylene) and carry the heated water from the boiler to the radiators, convectors or underfloor heating loops (in either a spiral or serpentine pattern), and back again for reheating.
- Partage control box: This allows heat at a variety of temperatures to be directed to a combinationof slab heating, radiator panels and towel rails across different living zones, e.g. underfloor heating on the bottom storeyand radiators in upstairs rooms.
- Wall mounted radiant and convection panels: Available in a huge range of modern designs, shapes and colours for efficient delivery of heat.
- Underfloor heating: Underfloor hydronic slab heating transforms into a slow-release radiant heat bank providing a uniform temperature throughout your home.
- Towel warmers: Available in modern and traditional designs, these integrate into any bathroom style.
- Controllers/Thermostats: The brains behind the system, these are used to direct certain temperatures at certain times of the day to different heating zones. They will also detect and adjust any fall in temperature.
- Control valves: Control valves on radiator panels allow the temperature of each room to be individually controlled, and may be programmed to turn on and off at certain times. Available in many contemporary and classic designs.
Versatility and Precision
The latest technology, and innovative construction and architectural processes are allowing us todeliver hydronic heat precisely where it is needed and in a variety of ways including to heat swimming pools or integrated into domestic hot water systems. We are also seeing heat pumps used to passively cool our homes.
If you would like to know more about the versatility of hydronic heating and the latest innovations available, contact Brinlex Heat or visit our Sydney showroom, which has a large range of product options on display.