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Should I hire a plumber or a hydronics specialist for my heating job?

HeatingHelp Posts: 464
edited September 2020 in THE MAIN WALL

Is setting up a boiler and hot water heating system something that is specialized work within the plumbing and heating industry? Or is it in the domain of normal plumbing-and-heating contractors?

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  • KathleenW
    KathleenW Member Posts: 1
    I just purchased my house 3 months ago. I am new to Radiant Heat. I have the same question. I have a leaking Thermostatic Mixing Valve. The Hydronic Heat is only 1 Zone of a 3 Zone Heating System the other 2 zones are Radiators. So the Thermostatic Mixing Valve is located within the zone by the circulator not by the Hot Water Heater. Do I call a Plumber or Hydronic's Specialist?
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 17,025
    Better to call an hydronics specialist, although some plumbers are good at it -- but it really is a different trade, although both involve pipes. Where are you located?
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Wellness
    Wellness Member Posts: 122
    Agree with @Jamie Hall. A significant amount of hydronics involves electrical work--connecting pumps, controls, etc. You don't want a situation (which was rampant during my home building days in the 1970s) where the plumber pointed a finger at the electrician and he/she pointed back at the plumber when something didn't work.
  • Paul Pollets
    Paul Pollets Member Posts: 3,427
    Well said. Hydronics specialty is a specialty within the plumbing trades. Just like a medical specialist, they have specific training and knowledge to understand and diagnose problems, or design and install a complete system. Most are also well versed in low voltage electrical wiring and have special tools and diagnostic equipment particular to the specialty.
  • dopey27177
    dopey27177 Member Posts: 748
    Hiring a contractor to install or maintain any type of heating system needs to be researched by you as to their qualifications.

    More care is needed to hire a contractor for all water heating system as multiple controls may be involved.

    Can you hire a a plumbing and heating contractor, that depends.

    The contractor must have qualified people that will install the controls in right places and be responsible for the wiring.

    Not all electrical contractors are qualified to do control wiring and that also goes for boiler controls.

    When I had my business and did the installs I was lucky in this regard, My brother may he rest in peace was a commercial and industrial control and oil burner service technician so I did not have to worry about who was going to decide where controls need be installed or wired them.

    I was an outstanding plumbing and heating guy but could never get a grab on the electrical wiring, had a mental block with that part of the trade, although when given a diagram I could run the wire from the power source to he control the final connections were made by my brother.

    After I retired my business and became a consultant I had my brother check out all the electrical and I did the mechanical. When my brother passed my consulting income took a big hit.

    The reason for this is if I could not help the customer there was no charge. When I determined that a control problem occurred I recommended contractors that I knew did sub contract work for Honeywell.


  • GroundUp
    GroundUp Member Posts: 1,281
    I'm a firm believer that someone can only be great at one thing. Maybe you know plumbing, sheetmetal, hydronics, and electrical all enough to be dangerous but you're only great at one- or none. Maybe this is just my union pipefitter background speaking up, but I feel all of them are a completely different skillset and should be performed by different folks in order to maximize system quality. I CAN do it all, but I'm only good with hydronics so that's all I offer.