What are hydronic baseboard & wall heating systems? Here are the pros.

There are things that aren’t very fun, like when it’s 100 degrees outside, and your AC won’t turn on. You’re walking around the home in your underwear because it’s frankly too warm for anything else. 

However, it’s not nearly as bad as when you’re getting chilled to the bone. A warm home is a cozy home. To keep all family members happy, the temperature mustn’t drop too low, or there will be trouble. 

hydronic baseboard

If you’re like most, you do not want to overspend on heating your mansion up either. It needs to be done efficiently and effectively. With an efficient heating system, you’re able to maintain exactly the temperature you want. 

Everyone stays happy as a consequence. 

However, you’re not quite sure which system to choose. You recently heard your colleagues talk about something that they called a hydronic heater. Now it begs the question: 

What is a hydronic heater?

hydronic heating system

How can you choose a system if you don’t know what it does? The reality is that you can’t. 

It’s your lucky day. We’re here to explore everything there is to know about this system.

We’ll walk you through their pros and cons. We’ll even go over some models you should consider, which are great models.

The most common way of heating a house is through the use of air ducts which hot air passes through. It is then spread throughout the house through registers. 

However, air ducts are not the only ammo you can use on your mission to stay warm. Hydronic heating provides an energy-efficient alternative that we’re sure you’ll love. Hydronic heating systems heat liquid that is then sent out through a web of piping. 

Hydronic heating can be installed in various forms, including baseboard, radiant kitchen floors, and wall heaters. It’s great at distributing the heat evenly and can be installed either in a concrete foundation or on top of existing flooring. Prefabricated panels can also be used, which makes installation easy.

Benefits of this system

We’re sure you’ll love this alternative, energy-efficient way to warm your home. It provides warm, comfortable heat that doesn’t dry out the air.

If you’ve ever been to Europe, there’s a chance you’ve experienced this system. It’s because it’s much more prevalent there than it is in the United States. 

You may have even asked yourself why this incredible invention hasn’t caught on more than it has here. We personally believe it should be much more popular than it is! 

Hydronic heating vs. forced air

It offers so many benefits that we had to create a section where we compare hydronic heating to forced air and explore their differences. 

Pros

Here’s a quick rundown.

Easy to create different zones

Forced air doesn’t make it very easy to divide your home into different zones with different temperatures. Sure, you can close the registers so that there’s a limited amount of air that will flow into that room. 

However, it just isn’t very good for more advanced heat zones. You may have two children with very different preferences for how hot it needs to be as they sleep. 

One child wants it to be very hot, whereas another could sleep on top of an ice cube and be fine. It’s an advantage when each child can get it the way they want. Different people have very big preferences regarding bedtime and how they like to keep the place. 

Keep it too warm, and someone may not be able to sleep. I know that I personally fall asleep extremely fast when I sit in the passenger seat, and it’s warm in a car. I also know that I am probably one of the few who feel that way. 

Did you know that forced air systems have both a supply register and one that draws air out again to the AC system? It means a cycle of warm air gets pushed out, and old air is drawn in. 

Hydronic systems do not have this, and temperature variations are not as normal if you choose hydronic heating.

Temperature variations will not occur; you can freely open or close the doors. It does not matter.

Better humidity levels

I struggle with all sorts of issues as soon as the air starts drying out. It’s not fun. When the fall hits, the difficult season starts for me.

With the forced air that many places have, my skin starts doing all sorts of funny things. It’s almost to a point where I need to take a bath in lotion to keep it from cracking up. 

Radiant heat does not have that side effect. It took me a winter to discover why my skin was so dry. 

I grew up in Europe before moving to the United States. We always had a radiant floor system, and the winter air wasn’t dry. 

Trust me, getting a system that doesn’t draw moisture out of the air can help balance humidity levels

What would you rather have? Would you rather have dry skin or beautiful skin all year round? 

The water in a radiant system is in a closed system, which means it won’t affect what’s happening in the rest of the house. The tubes that it travels in are closed. 

Warm floors

If there’s one thing on my body that struggles to stay warm, it’s my feet. I’ve been blessed with notoriously cold ones, and it’s not fun. 

What’s great about radiant floor heating is that it heats up the floors and makes them nice and warm to walk on. My feet are happy. 

Crisp, cold mornings will never be the same. You will now be able to get out of bed and get started. The tile floor will not have that same unbearably cold feel to it. 

The warmth is spread across the house, and the floor works as a conductor. You won’t even need to wear shoes inside anymore. 

It’s so quiet

Another thing that caught me by surprise when I moved over here is how loud some forced air systems are. I was sitting in the office, and their commercial unit was running. 

It was not quiet, I can tell you that much. 

Hydronic heating is great because of how quiet it is. Hot or cold, I always felt like the constant white noise from the HVAC system was more a pain than anything else. 

Install a floor heating system with warm tubes, and you’ll notice how your home feels more relaxing to be in. At least, it’s the case for me. 

You’ll realize that the creaks and groans that come from a traditional furnace are something that should be kept in the past. A rush of air through the ducts is not a sound you will miss.

No ducts

Air ducts and return air systems will be a thing of the past. Thank me later. 

They’re big monstrosities that need to be installed somewhere to provide their function. Valuable real estate is being used that could be used for something else. 

Maybe you moved into a home that doesn’t already have ducts. Putting them in afterward can be a pain. Retrofitting is expensive. 

With hydronic systems, floor joists can easily have the necessary pipes attached to them. They can go into the walls where they’re hidden, and they won’t be an eye sore. 

Do you suffer from allergies? We have good news.

Forced air systems are really bad when it comes to allergens. A lot of families don’t change the air filters like they’re supposed to, and it doesn’t make you less prone to allergies. 

Hydronic heaters improve the air quality by being cleaner. If air is being pushed through the house, it’ll pick up whatever’s in the carpet on the way. It will stir up dust, allergens, and other things. You don’t want to be breathing those in. 

Dirty ducts make everything worse. They need to be cleaned regularly so you can keep your family’s allergens at bay. Pet dander and pollen are two other pollution sources that can make the air less enjoyable to be breathing. 

Even if you’re putting a filter on your system, it doesn’t mean it will catch all of them. There are various ratings for the different types of filters depending on how much you are willing to spend. 

Is hydronic heating efficient?

Yes, it is. We all love to save on our electricity bills. 

However, it is surely not getting easier to lower it. Hydronic systems have the advantage that they’re more energy-efficient than their alternatives. 

Air is a bad heat conductor. If you can avoid it, you don’t want to push it around the house artificially. It will travel around, and a lot of energy is lost. Leaks in gaps will let it seep out. 

Heating water and transferring it around is a more energy-efficient process. Retaining heat is much easier when it’s done in water. 

How would you like to save 20-40% on your bill? Hydronic systems can do this for you compared to other methods. When you have a furnace, you have to turn it on several times if temperature fluctuations become too big. It’s not an efficient way of operating. 

The heat does not rise.

When air is being forced out, the warmer parts will seek towards the ceiling. It is what it does. With radiant flooring, you’re getting the heat source near the floor where you probably need it most. 

With wall heaters, you’re not just letting all the warm is seek upward. Whether sitting or standing up, you’ll be closer to the warmer parts of the room. 

Drafts and breezes are things you will not experience with hydronic systems. I know that I appreciate a more constant temperature rather than a constant breeze.

How does a hydronic system work?

With the help of a boiler, the liquid is heated up inside the unit. It uses the method of conduction to do it.  When the water is heated up, it is circulated throughout the house with the use of pipes. If it’s exposed, you will not want to touch it with your bare hands.

It could leave some serious injuries because of the temperature. 

The hot liquid may also be circulated in radiators or hydronic baseboard heaters. It radiates and keeps everyone in the family nice and toasty. 

How is it installed?

These floor systems can be installed in different ways. Wet installation is great when you have the option. Pipes are laid inside the concrete as it’s being poured. It can also be poured on top of an existing surface in a thin layer. 

Prefab panels are also available. It is called dry installation.

It’s an easy system to hide in either walls or floor joists. You will want to speak with a professional company to find out the cost, as circumstances could make it easier or harder to install. 

Did you know that Ancient Rome was the first place where radiant heating was a thing? It was later introduced by the famous American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. With its continuous improvement in technology, it’s now become a superior type of heat. 

Although it’s been in the making for a few thousand years, it’s not an outdated technology. The great thing is that you can now use the technology with many different materials. It used to be that installers would caution you against using it with some materials. 

Those days are more or less gone. You can now use it with practically any flooring material. 

Best hydronic baseboard heater

When it comes to these baseboards, the absolute best is the Fahrenheat plf1004 hydronic baseboard heaters. It has many things going for it, including its impressive efficiency and convenient design. 

You can place it in various rooms, perfect for the bathroom and the living room. It’s not just safe, but it’s also easy to install. You mount it on the wall and ensure it has the liquid heat supply. It’s great how it even allows for it to be installed around carpet. 

FAQ

Is hydronic heating more efficient than forced-air?

Yes, it’s 20-40% more efficient. Are you ready to save money on your electrical bill? 

How much do radiant heated floors cost?

Installing radiant floors will usually cost between $1,500 and $6,000. The access to labor and which part of the country you’re in can influence the price you pay. The best option is to get quotes from competing companies when considering installing such a system.

Hydronic systems are only one way you can warm your floors up.
radiant floor heating

Are hydronic baseboard heaters better?

If you suffer from allergies, there’s no doubt that hydronic baseboards are better. You will thank us when you try it out. You can travel to Europe in the winter and experience the difference if you need convincing. 

Do hydronic baseboard heaters need plumbing?

Yes, it will require some plumbing to get installed. It’s no different from a forced-air system requiring ducts. The heat source must come from somewhere. In this case, it comes from the tubes and plumbing that goes back and forth from the boiler.