Forced Air Heating Panels & Systems: Where Popularity Doesn’t Match Value


Well, we’ve made it to Winter and though our Autumn felt a bit like an Indian Summer for a while, Victoria has now certainly crashed into the cold with a bang … Here’s hoping you’re one of the shrewd residents of Melbourne enjoying hydronic heating at home and in the workplace. Unfortunately, statistically speaking, you’re probably not because, despite the absolute appropriateness of hydronic heating in Melbourne, many house holds and businesses are still using old fashioned forced-air heating, simply because it is the most well-known.

Visit any Australian home built in days gone by and, though you’ll probably see a range of architectural styles, just about all are likely to have a form of forced-air heating, like ducted heating in the floor or ceiling. For decades forced-air was the default choice for home owners. Indeed, many homeowners are so accustomed to forced-air that they mistakenly believe it is the only choice that doesn’t have the mess of a traditional wood-fire.

It’s often the case that when homeowners complain about their heating – it’s hit-and-miss, it’s expensive to run, I can feel draughts – they are, unwittingly, criticising the very nature of the heating they’ve installed. Forced-air might be popular but it has many drawbacks. Dare we say it; the Europeans have got us beat. Over there, radiant or hydronic heating is the system of choice and, given the long, cold Winters they endure, you’d think us Aussies would start taking note.

The bottom line is, an hydronic heating system installed in Melbourne will give at least 25 per-cent more efficiency simply because it is ductless. It’s also quieter AND eliminates the allergy issues commonly associated with heating ducts.

Forced-air heating is akin to warming your home with a series of bathroom hand-dryers mounted in the ceiling or floor. Yes, the room warms quickly but it cools equally fast, forming a yo-yo heating pattern. More often than not, this prompts you, the homeowner, to constantly adjust your thermostat, causing your furnace to turn on and off, on and off, wasting energy and precious dollars.

Uneven heating is possibly the leading problem with forced-air offerings, aside from the economic wastage. In a room with heating ducts, it’s always warmest right near the vent. In fact, it tends to feel a little too warm there, while on the other side of the room, you find yourself reaching for a blanket or woolly jumper to keep warm. Put simply, hot air is difficult to control. It is not evenly distributed and it will always rise to the ceiling.

So, while circulating air plays the central role in a forced-air system, water serves a largely similar function in hydronic heat. In an hydronic system, after water is raised to a target temperature by a boiler, it’s pumped through a network of tubes that are set into Hydronic Heating Panels Melbourne beneath the flooring of the home. The water-fed tubes transfer heat to the panels, which then radiate heat outward to materials and objects in the room—first the floor, and then the furniture and people occupying the living space.

It must be said, the cost of installing hydronic heating in Melbourne can be greater than your average forced-air variety BUT, with every Winter that follows, you’ll more than recover your initial outlay AND you’ll be significantly warmer for it.



Author: nick thorn