Hydro heat, what's that?

By
Home Inspector with Domicile Analysis of Texas

What is the difference between a forced air heating unit and a hydronic heating system. A forced air system has a burner compartment supplied by either natural or propane gas, transferring the heating through a heat exchanger with a flue vent.  The warm air is forced through supply ducts by a blower distributing it out at a register or diffusers.      

 

                           

A hydro heat system uses a natural hot heater to provide space heating as well as domestic hot water in household usage.

 

                       

 

Hydro heat is a very efficient form of heating. This type of system is similar to a forced air system, the difference is the burner in the furnace is replaced with a finned tube heat exchanger ( its look similar to a car radiator ). A simple loop circulates hot water through the heater exchanger in an air handler furnishing warmed air to the space.

 

                 

Unlike a furnace, hydro heat air handler do not require a natural gas connection or a flue vent because it receives its heat from the water heater. Most of this units also include a circulating pump and controls.

One of the common problems with type of units it intermitted leaks and corrosion at the joints.

 

                                                               

 

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Rainmaker
238,110
Angelia Garcia
Pure Realtors

So this is not a better product?

November 06, 2008 11:58 AM
Rainmaker
1,199,485
Tony & Darcy Cannon
The C Team
Keller Williams Legacy

Roy, Great information.  I have not heard of hydro heat, we had a house with radiant floor heating using hot water, but I have not heard of forced air hydro.  Is it more efficient than gas?

November 06, 2008 12:08 PM
Rainmaker
66,806
Kevin Corsa
H.I.S. Home Inspections, Stark & Summit County, OH Home Inspector
H.I.S. Home Inspections (Summit, Stark Counties)

Very good info Roy. Nice drawings and pics too.

November 06, 2008 12:12 PM
Rainer
406,157
Sean Allen
International Financing Solutions
International Financing Solutions

Hey roy,

I don't believe I've ever seen one that uses water before. Is one more efficient than the other?

Sean Allen

November 06, 2008 05:53 PM
Rainer
124,926
Scott Patterson
Home Inspector, Middle TN
Trace Home Inspections

They are good systems.  Also go by the brand name Apollo heating systems.

November 06, 2008 06:06 PM
Rainer
137,570
Roy A. Peterson
P.R.E.I.
Domicile Analysis of Texas

Yes Angelia, it is a better and more efficient system than a gas forced air unit.

 

Tony & Darcy, Yes they are more efficient than a gas unit.

 

Kenvin, Well thank you sir.

 

Sean, Yes sir.

 

Scott,  Thanks for the input, and yes that was a Apollo brand unit.

 

~ Everybody thanks for the comments ~ Roy

November 06, 2008 08:23 PM
Anonymous #7
Anonymous
Anonymous

Roy, how about the cost and durability? Also, how to deal with the leaks and corrosion problem?

November 07, 2008 08:18 PM
Rainer
17,013
Yvette Lopez-Robinson
The Real Estate Power Houses

Interesting info. I personally have never heard of this type of heating system. Thanks for the new information.

November 10, 2008 07:26 PM
Rainer
124,926
Scott Patterson
Home Inspector, Middle TN
Trace Home Inspections

It really is a good heating system. Very few moving parts outside of the pump and they tend to last a long time.  The most common problem I find with this type of heating system is with the water heater.  When the water heaters are replaced, it is very common for the homeowner to put in a common water heater and one that is not designed for  hydro-heating.   The hydro-heat units have a higher btu (heat quicker) and a shorter recovery time.  The burners from what I have been told are built for extended use, like you would need for heating.

This type of heat is no different that what you have in your car, it is just a little larger!

November 10, 2008 08:21 PM
Anonymous #10
Anonymous
Melody

My Apollo furnace heater coil went out and this caused a huge leak and substantial damage to my hardwood floor and when I ordered the part I was told it was not in stock and they couldn't get it in for at least a month!!! So I definately wouldn't reccomend this type of unit. Also I had trouble finding a repairman that could work on it.

January 21, 2010 07:09 PM
Anonymous #11
Anonymous
Chris Willis

I have this heater in my house and it has never worked very well, mostly just blows out cold air. I use my fire place to heat my house but it would be nice if I could use my heater. Any suggestions on what the problem might be?

March 21, 2010 11:25 AM
Anonymous #12
Anonymous
Ginger M

I just purchased a unit apartment building and they have the hydro heat systems.  I'm trying to understand the system a bit better.  What type of hot water heater is required to make the unit efficient?   40-50 gals?  Recovery time?  Etc?

Need some input...

September 23, 2011 12:29 AM
Anonymous
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Rainer
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Roy A. Peterson

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