Hydronic heat is simple to understand. It is a method used to transfer heat via water to heating and cooling systems. It is a common way to heat radiators and steam heating units. Large buildings use it for heat and also for their large-scale air conditioning systems. Things called “chillers” are used to cool the water and “boilers” heat the water in these buildings. Today, hydronics are also used in many homes and small businesses.
Hydronics are used for two primary reasons: to chill or to heat or steam water. These systems are set up in several distinct fashions. They are force or gravity flowed with at least three temperature settings. The pressure is set at either low, medium or high and there are several different piping and pumping configurations. How the system is setup depends on many factors and a thorough evaluation must be done to assure that the correct system is installed.
All hydronic systems come equipped with certain safety features. Anytime there is excessive pressure or heat involved, there is a chance that the system might fail in some way. For this reason, hydronic systems are always fitted with temperature and pressure relief valves to assure that there is no serious breakage within the system. These relief valves prevent piping, radiators and the boiler from bursting. The systems also come equipped with manual devices that can be used to clean out contaminants and to do periodic testing of the system itself.
There is a reliable organization called the Hydronic Heating Association that was established to set up standards for the hydronics industry. It also has put education programs into place so that contractors and the general public are aware of the benefits that come standard with hydronic heat. Many former hydronic systems were poorly installed, making it necessary for this association to take a close look at the latest technology and to make sure that today’s hydronic systems are the best they can be. The Hydronic Heating Association is there to assure that only quality workmanship goes into every hydronic system that is installed into today’s homes and businesses.