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Hydronic Heating Systems

 

Hydronic heating systems use hot water to heat buildings and spaces.

A hydronic heating system requires a heat source to be connected to heating elements via pipes, valves, fittings, and a circulation pump.

1. Heat Source

 

A key component of a hydronic heating system is the heat source. 

The heat source takes cold (or warm) water and generates hot water.

The most common heat sources used in hydronic heating systems are:

1 - Gas Fired or Electric Boiler: 

The traditional choice in the industry.

2 - Air or Ground Source (Geothermal) Heat Pump:
A newer technology that uses sustainable resources instead of fossil fuels.

 

In H2X's hydronic heating design software, you can select any type of

heat source that your project requires.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Pipe Layout

Hot water is supplied from the heat source, to each heating element, via

a pipe network. The pipes are categorised as 'feed' and 'return':

1 - 'Feed' Pipes (∼ 70 °C):

This pipe supplies water from the heat source to the heating elements.

The water loses heat through the feed pipes and heating element.

2 - 'Return' Pipes (∼ 50 °C):

This pipe supplies water from the heating elements to the heat source.

The return pipes circulate the water back to the heat source to be re-heated. 

 

In H2X's hydronic heating design software, you can draw any pipe layout.

You also choose the pipe material, pipe insulation, and maximum velocity

 

 

 

Underfloor heating

 


 

 

 

2. Heating Elements

 

To heat up a building, you need to transfer energy (heat) from the hot water to the space. The most common heating elements used to do this are:

1 - Radiators:

A cost-effective installation but they have higher running costs due to their inefficiency.

2 - Underfloor Heating Systems:

A more expensive installation with lower running costs due to their efficiency. They also provide more comfort for the end user.

In H2X's hydronic heating design software, you can create any heating element for your design and specify their kW rating.

 

 

 

 

4. Hot Water Circulation Pump

The hot water circulation pump is responsible for moving water from the heat source, to the heating element, and back to the heat source within a set temperature range and at the correct speed.

The duty of the hot water circulation pump is difficult to calculate due to the number of variables involved. A list of the variables are:

Flow Rate:

  • Pipe Sizes - the smaller the pipe, the lower the flow rate

  • Pipe Insulation - the better/thicker the insulation, the lower the flow rate

  • Delta T - the higher the Delta T, the lower the flow rate

  • Heating Elements - the less heating required, the lower the heat loss

  • Ambient Air Temperature - the higher the air temp., the lower the heat loss

  • Air Speed - the slower the air speed, the lower the heat loss

Pressure:

  • Pipes - the longer the pipe layout, the higher the friction loss

  • Fittings - the more fittings there are, the higher the friction loss

  • Valves - the more valves there are, the higher the friction loss

  • Heating Elements - the bigger the element, the higher the friction loss

In H2X's hydronic heating design software, hot water circulation pump duty is automatically calculated based on all of the factors noted above.

Hydronic air and ground heat pump
Hydronic heating feed and return pipework
Hot water circulation pump

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How to Design a Hydronic Heating System Using H2X

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Sanitary Drainage Calculations

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Design Warnings

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