Energy efficient heating: Go Hydronic

19 July 2021
home heating systems

What is the most energy efficient way to heat a house or unit? Home heating costs more money and uses higher levels of energy than any other residential system, making it an important question to consider. The answer? Hydronic heating.

While initially more expensive to purchase and install, the longer-term energy efficiencies, along with other numerous benefits make hydronic heating well worth the investment. 

First up, it’s important to note that hydronic heating is by no means ‘a new thing’. It has been used for hundreds of years across Europe and is now rapidly gaining in popularity for heating Australian residential and commercial premises, for a number of solid reasons. 

Read on to discover:

  • What is hydronic heating and how does it work?
  • How does hydronic heating efficiency compare to forced air?
  • Other benefits of hydronic home heating
  • Energy efficient products and systems 

hydronic heating, energy efficient heating

What is hydronic heating and how does it work?

Hydronic heating creates a comfortable, evenly distributed warmth throughout the home via an electric heat pump or gas boiler (heat source) and pipe system, creating what is known as ‘radiant heat transfer’. Water is warmed within the heat source and sent through the pipes, which run to one or more of the following systems and products:

-          Underfloor heating

-          Wall heating radiators

-          Heated towel rails


Via the water, heat is supplied directly to the floor, radiator or towel rail.  

Once the product warms up, it releases what is known as ‘radiant heat’. This heat is absorbed by objects within the space, including furniture and people and allows the warmth to remain within the room or home for a lot longer than any heat produced by forced air. Overall, radiant heat is significantly more evenly distributed throughout the home and is a less ‘drying’ heat than that produced by central or ducted systems. It operates silently to add to user comfort and has the ability to be zoned to specific areas of the home via thermostat control. 

How does hydronic heating efficiency compare to forced air?

Ultimately water is a much better heat transfer medium than air. This makes hydronic heating more energy efficient than any system requiring forced air, such as central heating. It literally requires less energy to create the heat using a hydronic system. Energy efficiency also means lower running costs. It has been calculated that hydronic heating systems are up to 35% more cost effective compared to running a ducted system. 

As previously mentioned, the ability to zone the heating to specific areas of the home via thermostat control can also add to the energy efficiency. This can be done with hydronic heating set ups and also with some central systems, but the air circulation fans consume a fair bit of electricity generally. The energy usage of hydronic heating sources can be up to 70% less than other methods including electricity run heating systems. 

It does pay to know that the efficiency of your hydronic water heating set up will be dependent on the heat source you install and the system it is installed within. Ensure that you use a new boiler or heat pump and system for maximum energy efficiency. Checking the general insulation of your home is also a wise move, regardless of the heating system you install. 

Other benefits of hydronic home heating

So it’s clear that hydronic heating delivers on energy efficiency, but there are a number of other benefits too, including:

  • Cheaper running costs off the back of the energy efficiency
  • Lower carbon emissions = better for the environment
  • No fans or ducts = no dust mites and pollens flying around causing respiratory issues for asthma sufferers and anyone with seasonal allergies. This also means the home is cleaner due to less dust flying around!
  • Low radiator surface temperature = safe for everyone in the home, especially young children and pets
  • No exposed electrical connections = zero fire hazard compared to blow heaters, which are still a common cause of home fires in Australian homes 

Energy efficient heating products & systems

You don’t have to be planning a new-build in order to consider energy efficient heating options for your home. There are a number of applications and products that will suit any home type, from small apartments to larger dwellings and methods that will work for a new construction, renovation or older home. 

There are two main system types when it comes to hydronic heating:

Underfloor heating

This energy efficient heating option can be installed within the concrete slab during construction of a new home or extension, but there are also a number of methods to install on top of existing floors. Homeowners can install underfloor heating in just one room, or across the entire property, including bathrooms. Our recent article on the top 3 considerations before installing heated floors will provide you with further insight into how you may be able to install underfloor heating in your home. 

underfloor heating, hydronic heating system

Radiator heating

Available in a wide range of styles, colours and sizes, hydronic heating radiators have come a long way and can be installed into any room in the home. They offer energy efficient heating with flexible options to suit any space and can add a touch of aesthetic appeal. Many radiator options are available in an extensive range of colours to match existing or planned décor. Hunt Heating offer a beautiful range of designer heating radiators to consider for your home. 

heating radiators, hydronic heating cost

Using the same system as the radiator, there is also the option of installing heated towel rails. Apart from warming the bathroom air, they also keep towels and floor mats dry and generally prevent germs and mould from growing. Take a peek at Hunt Heating’s range of heated towel rails here

If you’re ready to see if you can make the most of this energy efficient heating in your home, contact our team to arrange an obligation free quote.