For a general run down on hydronic heating and how it compares to other types of heating systems, please see FAQ “What is the best type of heating for a new house?”
Hydronic heating is my favourite type of heating, so I recently asked Jake Williams, a director of Nissl Eichert Hydronic Heating a series of questions about why hydronic heating has become so popular?
Here are my questions and Jake’s informative answers.
1. What are the advantages of hydronic heating?
Hydronic heating systems are clean, silent, reliable and safe. Hydronic heating is one of the most efficient ways to heat your home. Considered clean, being that there is absolutely no fan forced air blowing around carrying dust or any other allergens around your house. Hydronic heating heats by using natural convection and radiation. Hydronic heating systems are fully programmable and can even be controlled via an app on your phone.
2. Can you have timber flooring on a heated slab?
Slab heating is a popular form of hydronic heating; a lot of customers are under the impression that you cannot have slab heating with floorboards. However, this is not the case; there are a number of flooring companies that provide a warranty with the floor heating under it. Also, nearly all engineered timber boards are compatible with underfloor heating. There will be some manufacturers who state that they don’t want the underside of the board to exceed a temperature, typically around 28C, when this is stated we install a probe that will measure the underside temperature and cuts the system in and out as the temperature rises and cools. However, it can limit the use of some boards, typically solid timber that has high moisture content. We have found that the oily timbers like Spotted Gum are best not to use with under floor heating unless it is an engineered board.
3. Trench convectors, what are they and why use them?
Trench convectors are exactly as they state, they are a convector grill recessed into the floor in an insulated box with a choice of grills to match flooring or a range of aluminum grills. All grilles can be easily removed for cleaning and any maintenance and can be walked on. Trench convectors are typically used in situations where there is insufficient wall space to locate a radiator panel. The primary advantage of a trench convector is that they are generally anonymous within the setup of a room.
4. Panel radiators and heated towel rails?
Radiator panels would be the most common form of hydronic heating in Melbourne. Radiators come in a range of different styles and sizes with varying KW outputs. They are more widely used as they can be retrofit to existing homes as well as new homes. Towel rails work on the same principle as radiators; they also allow you to hang towels and washing on to dry. They are aesthetically very pleasing. Both radiators and towel rails are the ultimate in form and function.
5. Condensing boilers, what are they and are they worth the extra cost?
A condensing boiler is a boiler that uses more of the burnt gas (around 95%) that’s basically just makes it a more efficient boiler than a standard efficiency boiler. They are called condensing as they take so much heat out of the gas water vapour starts to form in the heat exchanger. When running they can condensate up to 1 litre an hour. In my opinion they are worth the extra cost, typically around $500-$1,000 more depending on the size of the boiler, they will pay this initial investment back over a period of time, typically 10% less running costs than a standard efficiency boiler.