Since 1940, the technology of the hydronic heater has been transformed from a bulky and somewhat noisy heating solution to today’s hydronic baseboard heaters; slim, quiet lower wall hugging, super efficient heating marvels.
The function of hydronic baseboard heaters is very simple; hot water piped in from a boiler heats a small heat exchanger, heating air that is drawn in from the bottom of the unit and sending it out the top heating the room. With the modern design of hydronic heaters instillation is quick and easy, only requiring fastening to the wall and connection to the inlet and return line. Because these modern hydronic heaters operate on lower temperature water they can be installed without fear of damaging the wall or surrounding areas.
A hydronic baseboard heater that is only 3 feet in length can easily heat most rooms more quickly and efficiently than electric space heaters and they also make a wonderful replacement for ceramic space heaters as well. There are also stand alone hydronic heaters that have a fixed water channel or tube connected to an electrical heating element that is wired into a wall thermostat. These types of hydronic heaters are perfect for simple heating solutions for basements or other parts of your home where connection to a central boiler is not possible.
The downside to using fixed water element hydronic heaters is they require periodic refilling and tend to lose their heating efficiency as the electrical elements ware out. They still provide economical heating that can be installed quickly with simple hand tools by just about anyone. In regions that have cold or severe winters, using hydronic baseboard heaters will provide efficient and stable heating throughout a home, and because these units can be connected to separate zones according to placement, they can be adjusted with thermostats that can precisely provide heat as needed or be turned off when no longer needed.
Although hydronic heaters afford efficiency in design and heating potential, they operate separately from a home’s cooling system, where as forced air systems can co-habitat within the same air ducts. If you are planning a home remodel or new construction this would be the perfect time to consider installing radiant barrier insulation behind large baseboard heaters, and insulation of your hot water supply pipes to ensure maximum heating and reduce energy consumption in your furnace or boiler. Providing energy efficient heating with hydronic baseboard heaters is not only a cost effective solution, but when installed correctly you can expect maintenance free operating that will last for years.