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7 Reasons Why Your Builder May Not Recommend Hydronic Heating Systems
23 Jul 2015

If you are in the process of having a new home designed, you are probably thinking about how you will heat it. As hydronic heating systems are still quite a new phenomenon here in Australia, we would not be surprised if your builder urged you to steer clear of them. Whilst there are certainly some drawbacks to hydronics (as there are with any heating system), many builders have been sorely misinformed. They may try to claim some of the following:

They’re expensive
Whilst it is true that these systems are more expensive initially, it is important to note that they can actually offer cost savings when it comes to running them. The main reason for the high initial cost is that the boilers are often shipped from Europe and that they are quite complex to install. When it comes to operation, however, it can be quite affordable.

They require a lot of adjustment and maintenance
We are not quite sure where this belief first came from, but many builders will claim that this type of heating requires a lot of adjustment, maintenance and expertise. Whilst you certainly need an expert to install the system, they are actually quite low maintenance – simply having an expert inspect them once a year is sufficient.

They are inflexible
This is one claim that is actually quite correct, however, it won’t cause you any problems unless you decide to renovate sometime in the future. Even then, it will really only cause problems if you decide to change the type of flooring in your home. If you have hydronics installed and you wish to renovate, we recommend contacting the original installer.

They are often controlled over large comfort zones
The reality of hydronic heating systems is that they can be controlled over as many zones as you like. Most homeowners prefer to have two or three larger zones (often divided into the living area and the bedrooms), as this makes it easier to regulate the temperature. If you would like to have a lot of smaller zones, however, this is completely possible.

They need wastewater treatment for efficiency
This is another belief whose source we aren’t quite sure of, but it is important to note that there is actually very little wastewater involved with these systems. The water is heated in a boiler, passed through pipes underneath the floor (or in the wall in the case of panel radiators) and sent back to the boiler when it begins to cool – no waste.

They have large losses
This claim generally refers to the loss of water – it is no secret that, when heated to a certain temperature, water turns to steam. Whilst there is certainly a little water loss involved, it is important to note that the water generally doesn’t reach temperatures hot enough to turn it into steam. Plus, once it cools, any steam returns to its liquid state.

They involve several parallel distribution systems
This claim really only applies to larger buildings, such as a commercial office or an apartment complex. In order to effectively heat these buildings, parallel distribution systems are required. In terms of a standard house, however, a single distribution point is more than sufficient for providing warmth.

Whilst some of the above claims are certainly correct, it is important to note that most of them really only cause problems in commercial buildings and development projects. At the end of the day, a hydronic heating system is just as good a solution for your home as any of the other options on the market. If you have your heart set on hydronics, don’t let your builder talk you out of it – just be clear that this is the option you have chosen and they’ll back down.

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