The Unsurpassed Comfort of Hydronic Heating
In recent posts we have taken a close look at Hydronic heating, how it work and the benefits it provides. In this blog we look at how hydronic heating can provide great comfort for those individuals who have it installed in their homes or office buildings.
Providing comfort should be the primary objective of any heating system designer or installer. Unfortunately, this objective is too often compromised by other factors, the most common of which is cost. Even small residential heating systems effect the health, productivity, and general contentment of several people for many years. It only makes sense to plan and install them accordingly.
The average building owner doesn’t spend much time thinking about the consequences of the heating system they select. Many view such systems as a necessary but uninteresting part of a building. When construction budgets are tightened, it’s often the heating system that’s compromised to save money for other, more impressive amenities.
Heating professionals should take the time to discuss comfort as well as price with their clients before decisions on system type are made. Often people who have lived with uncomfortable heating systems simply don’t realize what they have been missing. In retrospect, many would welcome the opportunity to have truly comfortable buildings, and would willingly spend more money (if necessary), to achieve it.
Maintaining comfort is not a matter of supplying heat to the body. Instead, it’s a matter of controlling how the body loses heat. When interior conditions allows heat to leave a person’s body at the same rate it is generated, that person feels comfortable. If heat is released faster or slower than the rate it’s produced, some degree of discomfort is felt.
The interior environment significantly effects the processes by which the body loses heat. For example, most people will not be comfortable in a room containing many cool surfaces such as large windows, even if the room’s air temperature is 70 ºF. For optimum comfort, the interior environment must provide the proper balance of air temperature, average surface temperature, and relative humidity to accommodate the various processes through which the body releases heat.
Properly designed hydronic systems control both the air temperature and surface temperatures of rooms to maintain optimal comfort. Hydronic heat emitters such as radiant floors or ceilings raise the average surface temperature of rooms. Since the human body is especially responsive to radiant heat loss, these heat emitters significantly enhance comfort. Comfortable humidity levels are also easier to maintain in hydronically-heated buildings.
Several factors such as activity level, age, and general health determine what is a comfortable environment for a given individual. When several people are living or working in a common environment, any one of them might feel too hot, too cold, or just right. Heating systems that allow various “zones” of a building to be maintained at different temperatures can adapt to the comfort needs of several individuals. Hydronic heating systems can be zoned, in a much simpler and easier to control way over forced air.