Chances are you might’ve heard about hydronic heating and it’s many benefits. A flexible and sustainable home climate control solution, products include underfloor heating and hydronic wall heaters. A common misconception is that hydronic heating and cooling systems can only be installed in new build homes and developments. Thankfully, this isn’t the case.
Also referred to as ‘retrofitting’, it is entirely possible to install a hydronic home heating system into an existing property. The products you can install will depend on the specifications of your home, but nevertheless, there are solutions for all settings.
In this article we are taking a look at the various hydronic home heating and cooling products on the market and how they can be installed into existing properties.
- Retrofitting Underfloor Heating
- Adding Hydronic Wall Heaters to Your Home
- Installing Heated Towel Rails into Your Bathroom
- Selecting the right boiler for your system
Retrofitting Underfloor Heating
If you are building a new property and want to integrate a hydronic underfloor heating system, it is commonplace to install the system within the slab, or foundation of the home.
Can you add underfloor heating to an existing house?
In the case of an existing property, there are still options to install underfloor heating. Ultimately what you need to be mindful of is keeping the height of the new flooring as minimal as possible – this is because you will be installing it on top of the existing flooring, which will reduce your floor to ceiling height. A lot of the time this isn’t an issue. However, it can impact doorways and how one room flows onto another.
Installing underfloor heating – suspended floors
If your existing flooring is wooden boards and there is enough space under your home to crawl under for installation to take place, there are underfloor heating products which can be installed between the floor joists.
In the event that there is not the crawl space under your existing wooden flooring, then the planks need to be lifted to expose the joists so the pipe work can be installed. The latter is clearly a pricier option, but not impossible.
Can you put underfloor heating on existing concrete floor?
Yes, absolutely. A product such as the Minitec system is perfect for retrofitting into renovation projects where there is an existing concrete floor. With minimal product depth, it is easy to install and has an adhesive layer on the back of the sheet so it can attach securely to the concrete slab. The piping system is within the sheet and in total your floor height will only increase by 15mm.
The Siccus FX is another popular option for underfloor heating and works well on both new builds and retrofit installations. The panels are double the thickness of the Minitec, but depending on your ceiling heights and adjoining rooms, could be another option.
What about retrofitting underfloor heating in bathrooms?
As with any other area of the home, you can install underfloor heating in existing bathrooms, however, you will need to lift the current floor covering to do so. Presuming your bathroom floor is tiled, the tiles will need to be removed, the underfloor heating installed and then the same or new tiling to be laid over the top.
Adding Hydronic Wall Heaters to Your Home
Unlike the foundational work that needs to be done for retrofitting underfloor heating, installing radiators into your home may seem a lot easier. The first consideration is how much wall space you have in the areas where you wish to have radiators. Placement of the products is important as you need to think about where your main furniture items will be located and where in the room the radiator will be best suited. As an example, you won’t want to install them behind doors, or directly opposite a TV cabinet in a smaller room where your couch will likely sit.
In colder climates it is common for radiators to be installed directly underneath windows as the radiant heat can help to block any cold air penetrating the glass.
Many hydronic wall heaters are offered in a range of sizes, which enables options for all living spaces to be accommodated. You can also get the colour of the product changed to suit your interior design, or even select a unit from the designer radiator range if you are after a specific look.
In terms of actual installation, your flooring type will dictate the approach taken. If you have wooden floors, the pipe work can run underneath the boards between the joists and come up through the floor to connect to the radiators. With concrete slab flooring it is also possible, but with the pipework running through the wall cavity to connect.
Your best bet is discussing your requirements with an experienced consultant. We highly recommend that you contact our team to arrange this, or visit one of our showrooms to see products in action and ask any questions you may have.
Installing heated towel rails into your bathroom
Heated towel rails can easily be retrofitted into your existing bathroom. Once the ideal location on your walls is decided, installation can be planned, with the pipe work running to your boiler.
What if my home has limited wall space?
If underfloor heating isn’t for you and your home has glass sliding doors and floor to ceiling windows, wall space may be an obstacle for radiator installation. If your existing flooring is wooden, another option is in-floor trench heating. Installed within the floor, flush to the surface and covered with a grille, in-floor trench heating can run the length of a space, or portion of, as needed.
Selecting the right boiler for your system
See hydronic home heating products in action
Interested to learn more about hydronic systems? Come and visit our new state-of-the-art showroom in Melbourne or Sydney to see our product range on display and discuss your home climate control needs and how hydronic system could be integrated into your property. Our experienced team are happy to look at floor plans and any other project details to advise you on the best product and installation options.
Ready to retrofit hydronic home heating?
The team at Hunt have been finding smarter ways to heat homes since 1992. Get in touch with our experienced team to discuss hydronic heating systems for your home and the many benefits of this sustainable approach to home climate control.