Are you thinking of making the switch to hydronic heating this winter? It’s a great option for those looking to reduce their carbon footprint while still enjoying a luxurious level of heating throughout the home. Today you’ll learn exactly what’s involved in making the transition to hydronic heating for your home.
But first, you’ll have to decide on the hydronic heating system you want for your home. Let’s take a look at some different installation options.
The process of wet installation involves placing the tubing for the heating system into a bed of concrete. The concrete is wet at the time of placement, hence the name. This method is effective because the concrete acts as a strong protection for the tubing required to heat your home. Additionally, the concrete provides a thermal mass that absorbs the heat and can radiate warmth evenly throughout the room.
There are actually two different types of wet installation. “Slab on grade foundations” is the name of one process, and it involves securing the tubing to the rebar or reinforcing the structure within the slab prior to pouring the wet concrete on the foundation. The other process is called “thin slab” and it involves attaching the tubing for the heating system to the subfloor and then adding a thin layer of concrete over the top. This is the preferred option if you’re working with an existing subfloor system. It should be noted that this method will add anywhere from half-an-inch to an inch-and-a-half to the floor height since you are adding another layer. Additionally, you’ll need to make sure the design of the home can support the extra weight from the concrete layer. The major advantage of this method is that you can install heating to second-floor rooms and areas above basements or crawl spaces.
Dry installation processes are often referred to in the industry as “plate systems.” The reason for the name is the use of prebuilt panels with existing tracks for the heating tubing within their design. This simple step makes it easy for the installation team to loop the tubes as needed before putting the covering on the material. As there’s no concrete with this method to provide thermal mass, heat reflectors have to be carefully positioned. These reflectors help separate the heating zones and direct the heat to where you want it in your home.
If these options seemed a little invasive for your liking, the next one may be right for your home. This method of heating can also be installed through radiators and baseboard installation and is much simpler because you don’t have to install as much piping. The pipe will be placed in different zones within the wall or floor joists and then be connected to the specified units. This method will also require careful placement because it shouldn’t be blocked by furniture. This is a limitation of this method, since some people like to have the flexibility to rearrange the furniture. And a final point on this dry installation method, the plumbing lines for the heated and returning water need to be insulated for minimal water loss as the water is moved to the heating units. This also ensures that as much heat is recovered as possible when it is returned to the boiler.
Tips for Success
When setting up a radiant heating system, there are a few things you can do to set yourself up for long-term success. The first tip is to make sure you’re pumping away from the expansion tank. This method makes the air vents work better, the circulator quieter, and usually “cures” the systems that have had chronic air problems in the past.
Another great tip to help with the implementation of the radiant heating system is to suppress ‘gravity-flow’. Any piping loop connected to a source of warm water that has vertical displacement has the potential to have gravity-flow. There are a few steps you can take to suppress the gravity flow in your system. First, as you’re installing the system, go ahead and add a flow-check valve near the outlet of the heat source. Note that a swing check won’t work for the same purpose as it does not offer resistance to forward flow.
The last tip that will help with your hydronic heating system is to install controls to protect conventional boilers from condensation. Condensation is bound to happen with a heating unit, so these steps are great for prevention. The best way to monitor condensation is with a device that senses the boiler ‘s return temperature and then will regulate the rate of heat from the boiler based on the temperature. Taking this preventative step during installation can save you a lot of work later.
Give us a call today at Hunt Heating to discuss the perfect heating setup for your home. Our team is eager to meet you and discuss the best options for keeping your home warm in the most eco-friendly and efficient way possible!