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What Is A Hydronic Heating System?

Written on: October 21, 2019

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Knowing how your home is heated can help give you understand how to keep your heating equipment running well – and to know what kind of heating maintenance and repairs it is likely to need during its lifetime.
When it comes to heating your Pennsylvania home, the two most common categories of heating system are hydronic and forced air. Let’s take a look at how they work and what components make up each system.

Hydronic system basics

A hydronic system uses water or steam, heated by a boiler, to heat your home. Water enters the boiler’s combustion chamber via a circulator; once heated, the water is distributed through pipes to heat baseboards or radiators throughout your home. The water is eventually recycled back to the boiler to be reheated and used again.
Steam systems work similarly except they generate steam, which rises up to radiators (no circulators are needed). An automatic cut-off shuts down the boiler if water levels drop too low to prevent damage to the boiler.
In the case of an indirect water heater, the heat generated by your hydronic system can also be used to heat water in your home, creating an efficient two-in-one home/water heating solution. Heated water is stored in a tank for later use.

Forced air system basics

A forced air system uses air, heated by a furnace, to heat your home. Powered by propane or heating oil, the furnace burner heats a volume of air; a blower then distributes the heated air through a duct system where it is released through vents or registers on floors, walls or ceilings. Air is eventually recycled back to the furnace via return registers for reheating once air temperatures in your home dip below your thermostat setting.
Besides heat, the ductwork in a forced-air system can connect to a central air conditioner, whole-house humidifier, or air filtration system to provide year round home comfort and indoor air quality.
Like any mechanical equipment, boilers and furnaces require regular maintenance to keep them operating at their best. Contact Ace-Robbins today to sign up for a high-value Service Plan for your propane or heating oil-fired equipment – or to get a FREE estimate on a new, high efficiency model for your Tunkhannock, PA-area home!