The Advantages of Hydronic Heating
Keeping your basement well-heated can be a challenge for many homeowners. Basements are located below ground level and contain plenty of concrete, which contributes to higher humidity levels in the cellar than the rest of the house. Water vapour tends to penetrate the porous concrete slabs and walls, making the environment more damp and humid. Some methods (e.g. sump pumps and waterproofing your basement) can help with water seepage and flooding when they happen, but they aren’t much help against groundwater.
No worries, though; it’s possible to install heating to make the basement more comfortable. One new trend in housing is hydronic heating.
Advantages Of Hydronic Heating
Compared to traditional heating methods, it provides several advantages that can make heating the basement much easier. Not many homeowners are aware of the benefits of using hydronic heating.
Here are some advantages that can make your basement a bit more snug, just in case you wanted to find more uses for it.
*It’s energy-efficient – More and more homeowners are concerned with more energy-efficient heating systems that are great for the planet and your wallet. In a hydronic system, hot water runs through pipes installed in your floors, radiating heat up into the basement. Water is generally better at conducting heat than air, allowing heat to transfer more easily.
In forced-air systems, the increased air pressure can also push heated air out through gaps in the insulation. In contrast, a hydronic system doesn’t raise the air pressure, allowing warm air to push out toward every nook and cranny in the room. Hydronic heaters also run at lower temperatures than radiators (around 29 degrees or even less), letting you use less power when heating the basement.
*It balances humidity – Basements are often damp places, which can be bad for your health. One disadvantage of traditional forced-air systems is that they affect the humidity of rooms, especially in winter. Cold days can do a good job of drying out your skin on their own; a forced-air system removes even more moisture while heating the air. Radiant hydronic heating doesn’t affect humidity like traditional heating systems, allowing you to maintain balanced moisture levels indoors. This prevents your skin, hair, and sinuses from drying out, helping protect you from germs.
*It provides uniform heating – Most heating systems tend to deliver heat into rooms from one focused point (e.g. steam radiators or forced air vents). The vicinity around that point is usually the warmest place in the room. As the air travels, however, it loses some of the heat and becomes noticeably colder away from the point.
A hydronic system heats from the floor or wall surfaces. These surfaces heat the room at a more consistent rate and for a more ambient temperature around your body. You’ll find less noticeable temperature contrasts in the room, making your basement a more comfortable place overall.
*Your floors are warmer – A basement is already a pretty cold place, and concrete can get pretty cold, especially during the winter. These factors can make it difficult to walk on if you’re using the basement as an extra room. Installing hydronic heating in the floor infuses it with heat when you turn it on. This means your floor is where the heat comes from, making it more comfortable to walk on for you and your pets at any time of the day.
*It’s so quiet, you’ll forget that it’s there – Hydronic heating typically works in silence. Unlike in forced-air systems, a hydronic system doesn’t have a loud furnace or heating unit that makes noise, especially at night. Heat radiates into the room unobtrusively. The only things you’ll notice are the steady heat and comfortable temperatures.
*You get some floorspace back – Hydronic heating is an excellent investment if you’re looking to use all the available space in your basement. A hydronic heating system doesn’t use the same parts as other heat distribution systems. That means no more need for visible components like vents, radiators, and baseboards that could take up space on your walls and floor. This gives you more space in the basement for your needs. Need to use it for storage space, or thinking of turning it into another room? Well, now you’ve got the extra space to pull off whatever you had in mind.
*It’s safer than traditional heating methods – Installing underfloor heating can make the basement a safer place for your little ones. Using traditional heating systems can include sharp edges and hot surfaces (on a radiator, to name one example). With hydronic heating, the system is tucked out of the way from where anyone can touch it.
*You can have multi-zone heating – A forced-air system generally leaves you at the mercy of the air currents, making it difficult to control the heat consistently. With hydronic heating, you have the option of zoning temperatures throughout the house. Zone heating has certain benefits over non-zoned heating, like being able to control individual zones. For example, you can use this feature to keep the basement and kitchen at a comfortable level, while everyone can also set the temperatures in their rooms to their tastes. Unlike other systems, radiant heat isn’t subject to bursts of air that can push warmth to cooler areas.
*It’s dust-free – In traditional heating systems, dust and allergens can circulate throughout the house as the system distributes heat. These systems push air around the house, which can blow particles around and cause sneezing. That’s also why you need filters to trap dust and keep from spreading it around. Hydronic systems don’t require any movement of air and avoid disturbing the dust in your home at all. Using a radiant system also keeps the dust from circulating and improves air quality in the basement.
*No more ductwork – Forced air systems need ducts to let warm circulate through the house properly. Maintaining ductworks can be costly, especially since you need it done for the system to work correctly. Using radiant heating allows you to cut the need for ducts entirely. All your heat comes from the warm water circulating through your walls and floor instead of air ducts. With hydronic heating, you can save on maintenance costs and avoid worrying about upkeep for the system.
Caring for your basement is a big job, and sometimes you could use some help. At Plumbing Authority Inc., we offer a wide range of services to help with common plumbing problems around the house. From excavating and grading to waterproofing your home, we do it all. Drop us a line at (647) 992-7473 or visit our contact page to get in touch with us.