Forced Air vs Hydronic Heating

Typically, we don't even think about exactly how our home is heated until the energy bill comes in the mail or when there is a problem with HVAC system and replacement is becomes a necessity. However, with the rising cost of energy expense and the demand for more energy efficient solutions, homeowners have become more conscious of heating costs. This has forced us to consider options that will lower our monthly budget.

The good news is that your options are virtually endless and that you now have the opportunity to custom design a system that fits your needs while also maximizing the comfort of your home. In order to do so, you will need to invest in an energy efficient heating system. Energy-efficient heating systems include boilers, hydronic heating systems, energy-efficient furnaces, radiant heating systems, tankless water heaters and solar heating systems. The question becomes "how do you choose that system and what is the difference between forced air systems and hydronic heating?" Below you will find a list of the important "pros" and "cons" to consider when deciding on a heating system. If you have questions or we can assist you in any way please contact our office at 530-587-4081.

Forced Air Systems or Hydronic Heating for Comfort:

Forced Air - The thermostat is an obvious benefit of a forced a air system because it has the ability to quickly raise temperatures usually with just a touch of a button, where a hydronic heating system can be slower due to the use of thermal mass.

Hydronic Heating - With all other comfort issues, hydronic heating will exceed your expectations every time. For example, hydronic heating heats the entire room evenly, while keeping tile floor warm to walk upon, and without drying out the air. In addition, forced air systems are loud when the heat turns on and off, while hydronic heat works silently in the background.

Forced Air Systems or Hydronic Heating for Health:

Do you have loved ones who suffer from health problems such as asthma or bronchitis or even chronic allergies? If so, then their health should be a factor when choosing your next heating system. Below we have provided factors to consider for your health when you choose a forced air system or a hydronic heating system.

Forced Air - Additions such as air purifiers, humidifiers and even environmentally friendly filters can supplement the clarity of your indoor air quality. However, they are not the most cost effective solution to your air quality concerns, especially if your health or the health of your loved ones is a concern.

In addition, the air ducts used by forced air systems, unfortunately cause house germs and allergens such as lint and dust to build up in the system and become harmful to the air you are breathing. Filters, specialized cleaning systems, and duct cleaners can help improve upon this issue, however, hydronic heating eliminates this issue.

Hydronic Heating - For a family who has loved ones who suffer from health issues that include asthma, chronic bronchitis and even allergies, hydronic heating provides an optimal solution. Because hydronic heating doesn't require gusts of forced air to spread heat, dust and other harmful allergens cannot be spread throughout the house.

Efficiency - Forced Air Systems or Hydronic Heating:

Are you paying too much on your energy bills? Check out how forced air systems compare to a hydronic heating system.

Forced Air - Forced air systems provide endless options to ensure maximum efficiency of your heating system. Unfortunately, air ducts in forced air systems are next to impossible to seal completely. This means that much of your warm air is lost and you never even feel it

Hydronic - Hydronic heating has no air ducts, but instead a closed loop system that creates very little heat loss while moving the heated water to its destination. In addition, hydronic heat requires very little electricity. This is why they have become popular for homes built with traditional power grids and high electric fees.

Forced Air Systems or Hydronic Heating for Costs:

Overall cost to install and run your heating system is important to anyone who must maintain a budget. How do the two systems compare?

Forced Air - This is one area where forced air heating wins because installing the heating equipment, ducts, vents, and returns will always be lower than hydronic heat. However, standards of a hydronic heating system such air purifiers, humidifiers, and heat exchangers are "extras" in a forced air system.

Hydronic Heating - Unfortunately, whole house hydronic heating has a much higher upfront cost than forced air heat. Long-term, the energy bill savings from the more efficient hydronic heating will pay back for that added expense and more. There are also several government incentives to using energy efficient systems throughout the home, which can help with the initial cost of the equipment. Overall, anyone planning on living several years in the home will save with the installation of an energy efficient residential hydronic heating system.


There are many pros and cons that come with both types of residential heating, but hydronic radiant systems have many benefits that are superior to traditional forced air heat. To learn more about hydronic heating systems please contact our office or continue your tour of our site. If you have any questions or would like to schedule a consultation, please do not hesitate to call us at 530-587-4081.

Thank you for the opportunity to earn your business and we look forward to serving you soon!

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