Comfort and Health: Hot water and steam heat systems rely on natural convective air currents and radiation of heat. Forced air movement is good for cooling, but poor for heating for drafts have a cooling effect on your body (that is why fans are used on hot days). Ducted air systems also tend to be dirty while the gentle convective air movement in hydronic heating systems does not “stir” the dirt, hydronic heat is cleaner and healthy. Many people have converted their warm air heating system to hydronic heat due to dust allergies.
Efficient: Hydronic heat uses small pipes to transport heat to heated areas. Heat lost through these pipes is minimal. Forced air uses large ducts, large ducts lead to air leaks with large heat losses. Moving hot water throughout a typical house requires a circulator pump that uses a lot less than 100 Watts and it budget figure is around $25.00 of electricity per year. A typical forced air heating system’s blower uses more than 500 Watts and it costs approximately $200.00 of electricity per year to move the warm air throughout the house. A hot water boiler and warm air furnace A.F.U.E. range is generally from 82% to 95%, so that is similar. However it does cost a lot more to distribute heated air throughout a house than it does to circulate hot water throughout the house.
Quite: Hydronic heating systems are generally quieter than a warm air system. With hydronic heat the hot water is gently circulated through small pipes. With warm air is forced through the ducts and discharged into a room with fast enough air flow often creating a “whooshing” noise.
Bottom line is hydronic heating systems are:
- More Comfortable
- More efficient
The one drawback is a forced air system is cheaper to buy.
But do you live in the cheapest house or drive the cheapest car?