Hydronic heating systems are automatically and closely controlled to match every variation in the weather. The average temperature of water circulating through the system is raised or lowered as the outdoor temperature becomes colder or warmer, and when the thermostat is satisfied, the water in the baseboards or radiant tubing retain heat longer, thus creating a consistent comfortable feeling.
Typical warm air heating systems are often “on-off” systems that cannot modulate heat to outside conditions, and are prone to operating in short bursts on milder days.
In addition, hydronic heat balances the heat that your body is continually giving off by filling the room with two kinds of heat: radiant and convected.
Convected heat provides gently rising currents to block out cold and prevent drafts. Radiant heat provides uniform temperature from floor to ceiling. This is particularly key when small children are present. Because small children live in a different area than adults, it is important that the temperature at the floor be nearly the same as it is at the thermostat, which is usually about five feet above the floor.
Warm air systems provide only convected heat through forced air movement and no radiation, even if the blower fan operates continuously. It supplies heat in bursts rather than in a sustained flow, and the temperature continually varies up and down several degrees. Rooms are heated unevenly…floors are often cold…ceilings are often hot.
Zoning Your Home for Maximum Comfort
There is no one temperature that is comfortable at all times. A hydronic system can be installed with independent temperature controls known as zones for any area of your home, or specific rooms that work automatically. Zone heating is an important economical consideration because it eliminates wasteful heating in seldom-used areas – bedrooms can be kept cool for a restful sleep, while bathrooms are warm for a comfortable morning shower.
A warm air system can be zoned, but it is very expensive and affects the balance, or comfort level, of the entire system.