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The Cost of Running a Hydronic Heating System

Last Updated May 19, 2015 · Written by Jaclyn Fitzgerald

If you're building or doing extensive renovations, you'll need to consider the type of heating system you intend to install. If you live in a warm to hot climate, you may not need a sophisticated heating system, but if the temperature dips in winter, you will need a whole-house system that does not cost too much to run. A hydronic heating system might be the ideal solution for you.

What is a Hydronic Heating System?

Basically, a hydronic heating system uses hot water to provide heating. Hydronic heating systems can be installed under the floor or in wall-mounted radiators. At the heart of the system is the boiler. From the boiler, the hot water is sent through pipes to the heating coils under the floor or in the heat radiating panels. Aside from offering a gentle warmth, hydronic heaters do not blow air into the home. This makes them a healthier heating choice for allergy sufferers.

How Muchs Does Hydronic Heating Cost to Run?

Running costs of hydronic heating can be very low compared to other types of heating. If you have a gas boiler, the water used for heating is recycled through the boiler. Because it is still warm when it reaches the boiler, less gas is required to reheat it. This helps make the running cost of a gas hydronic heater about 20 to 30 percent lower than a conventional ducted gas heating system.

A solar hydronic heating system costs even less to run. You may need gas for backup, but even if you do, you can expect to save 50 percent or more over the running costs of a gas-only hydronic heating system.

Tips for Reducing the Running Costs of Your Hydronic Heating

There are several things you can do to reduce the running costs of a hydronic heating system even further:

  1. Choose a high-efficiency system designed for the area you need to heat
  2. Lower the thermostat just one degree and save up to 10 percent on your running costs
  3. Install a zone system so you can heat only the areas of your house that need heating
  4. Have your heating service annually to maintain top efficiency and ensure your system lasts longer
A higher efficiency system will include things like insulated pipes to reduce heat loss. The boiler, too, will be well insulated to minimise heat loss. The warranty period for a boiler is usually only about 2 years (parts and labour). This is because some small parts may need replacing within a few years. The boiler may keep working, but the system won't be as efficient. Scheduling annual service calls won't cost much and any parts that need replacing should be inexpensive. Radiators, coils and pipes are usually warrantied for up to 25 years and rarely need servicing.

*Cost and prices in this article are indicative and should only be used as a guide. They also vary locally and are subject to market forces. This article was updated 14 May 2015 to reflect current market pricing.
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