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Hydronic Heating versus Reverse Cycle Heating

Whether you’re considering climate control options for your new home build, or you’re in the market to upgrade your heating and cooling solution for your existing property, there are several options to choose from and it really does pay to do your research.

For many people, the top criteria when investigating options is often financial, but please be mindful that your heating and cooling system will be in your home long term and the investment is not only the initial purchase and installation. Pay attention to the detail of the ongoing running costs too.

Here we are comparing two popular climate control solutions, hydronic heating and reverse cycle heating.

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In this article we will start with the basics:

  • What is hydronic heating and how does it work?
  • What is reverse cycle heating and how does it work?

Then we’ll compare the two options when it comes to:

  • Costs
  • Health
  • Safety

What is hydronic heating and how does it work?

Hydronic systems can heat and cool your home and are highly energy efficient. Water circulates through a sealed pipe network to the climate control product, which could be any of the following:

hydronic heating system vs reverse cycle heating

The temperature is even and comfortable throughout the space. Hydronic is also known as a ‘radiant heating system’, and if you’d like to find out more you can read our popular articles on: “How Does Hydronic Heating Work?” and “Energy Efficient Heating: Go Hydronic”.

What is reverse cycle heating and how does it work?

Reverse cycle systems can heat and cool and be either a ducted or split system. It operates by taking air from outside and running it through a liquid refrigerant. Then, depending on which mode it is set to, will cool, or heat the air before pushing it out to the living space. With a ducted system, the air will be directed to the various points throughout the home, with the split, it will be through one wall mounted unit.

Hydronic Versus Reverse Cycle: Costs

Looking at upfront purchase and installation costs, a reverse cycle split system is going to be cheaper. However, if you opted for a reverse cycle ducted set-up, it could be more expensive than a hydronic set up. The total at check-out will be dictated by a few factors, such as the size of the space you are wanting climate control for and what type of products you wish to install.

It is also important to factor in the ongoing costs where as an example, ducted reverse cycle systems will require professional cleaning. As well as this, your bills will be impacted by the fuel source you’re using. Reverse cycle systems are powered by electricity which is delivered to our homes at a higher cost point than natural gas, which is what many hydronic systems run on. With hydronic you can also control temperatures throughout the home with zones, so it offers flexibility and can reduce your bills.

With any of these options, the insulation of your home will drastically impact the overall running costs, so regardless of which way you go, it’s worth making quality insulation a priority.

Hydronic Versus Reverse Cycle: Health

One of the biggest differences between the two system options is the fact that reverse cycle heating and cooling relies on fan force to push the air into the space. By blowing air into any space, pollutants that have gathered or grown within the unit itself, or around the room will be circulating and this is bad news for respiratory health, allergies, and general wellbeing. This is even more of a concern if you have elderly or young children under your roof and a worry for those who have chronic conditions such as asthma.

When it comes to health, hydronic heating is the best option as it heats rooms through radiant heat.

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Hydronic Versus Reverse Cycle: Safety

Reverse cycle ducted systems can pose a greater fire hazard as accumulated dust within the ducts can be highly flammable. Hydronic systems do not have ducts, only the sealed pipe network. When comparing the reverse cycle split system to hydronic, they both present a similar level of safety as there aren’t ducts involved, however it is still important to remove and clean the filters on reverse cycle units to remove debris build up.

So Should You Choose Reverse Cycle or Hydronic?

It is certainly worth considering a hydronic heating solution if you want to benefit the health of those living in your home as well as lessen the environmental load with a reduction in carbon emissions. Despite the higher purchase and installation costs of hydronic, the ongoing benefits are substantial and could be the best option for you and those that live in your home.

Contact the team at Hunt Heating to discuss your residential heating and cooling needs today.

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