Hydronic Heating – A Cost Effective Heating System

With the costs of living on the rise, making cost effective choices when building or renovating your home is a must. Hydronic heating has fast become a popular option, but is it more cost effective than its ducted counterpart? In this blog, we’ve taken a closer look at the costs involved with a hydronic system and whether it will be the best way to keep your home warm over those long winter months.

Firstly, what is a hydronic system?

This heating is comprised of a boiler, which heats water to the required temperature before sending it out through pipes in either the floors or the walls of the home. When it reaches either the floor coils or the panel radiators (depending on the system you have installed), heat from the water is transmitted out into the room beyond. Most boilers are powered by gas, however, a heat pump (which utilises heat from the air around it) can also be used. As the water cools, it returns to the boiler where it is reheated and sent on its way again.

What is the installation cost?

A completely underfloor system will set you back somewhere between $65m2 and 103m2, but keep in mind that this doesn’t include the cost of the boiler. In a 160m2 home, for example, you should expect to pay more than $10,000 for parts and labour.
If you’ve opted for panel radiators, you should expect to pay between $1300 and $1600 each (including installation). This also includes the pipework required to run hot water to each of the radiators. Most rooms will only require a single panel, but some larger spaces may require multiple.

Do the costs differ between a new and an existing build?

In short, yes. In terms of an underfloor system, it is always cheaper to install in a new build. This is because the floor coils and pipework need to be laid prior to the concrete slab being poured – attempting to do this afterwards will be exorbitantly expensive. If you must retrofit your hydronic heating system, panel radiators are the more affordable option. This is because the radiators can be installed on the wall with ease, and the pipework will be run either underneath the floor or in the walls (whichever is most accessible).

What about the running costs?

Some research has shown that hydronic heating systems can be up to 35% more cost effective to run than their ducted counterparts. This is mostly due to the fact that the boilers used are highly efficient and don’t require as much energy to get the same results.
If you’re home has solar panels, you’ll find that the costs can be slashed even more when you take advantage of the earth’s natural energy. Electricity and gas are slightly more expensive, but the cost will ultimately come down to your provider and their tariffs.

What else could affect the overall cost?

There are a number of other factors that can ultimately have an impact on the cost effectiveness of hydronic heating versus other systems on the market. Firstly, it often comes with a much longer warranty period (up to 25 years in some cases), which gives you peace of mind that you’ve invested in a quality product and that any issues will be dealt with well into the future. Secondly, the lack of forced air means that dust and other particles won’t be blown around your home. This keeps it cleaner for longer and lessens the need for expensive deep cleans.
If you’re building or renovating and are looking for the most effective way of keeping your family warm over the long winter months, we hope that the information provided here has shown you that hydronic heating systems can be a fantastic option. When building, we recommend a full underfloor system; when renovating, panel radiators are the way to go.