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The Two Sides of Hydronics

HeatingHelp Posts: 491
edited August 2021 in THE MAIN WALL
imageThe Two Sides of Hydronics

Steam-and hot-water heating joined hands a long time ago to make up what we today call “hydronics.” Both systems run on water, and they’ve been around for hundreds of years.

Read the full story here


  • Labenaqui
    Labenaqui Member Posts: 59
    An excellent comparator!
    On the Hot Water Heating side, we have experimented with gravity convection in "modern" distribution systems. Optimizing natural hydronic convection along with Delta-T Distribution further reduces energy consumption and radiation profiling.
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 2,629
    Hi @DanHolohan , You crammed a LOT into this one. So many stories and connections!
    Yours, Larry

  • dopey27177
    dopey27177 Member Posts: 873
    Excellent explanation wrapped up in a small story.

    If anyone did not under stand the differences between the heat output of both steam aand hot water you nailed with this writing.

  • Adk1guy
    Adk1guy Member Posts: 12
    Excellent. Few techs understand steam anymore around my area. The old timers are gone. I leaned a lot from them. Younger techs don't seem to listen. There's not many steam jobs left here. Used to see steam in old seasonal great camps, fewer all the time, as one pipe steam systems don't freeze up easily. Also the Amish I am told are allowed by their elders to have steam heat (no motors) but Idk how they heat it, wood I am guessing.
  • Adk1guy
    Adk1guy Member Posts: 12
    Off subject, sort of looking for a good method to provide zones with different temps, I need to replace a boiler in an apartment house. The existing piping schematic is all cobbed up. There are huge radiators in two apartments, a baseboard loop in another sized for 180 degree water, infloor in two others, and an indirect water heater. With the existing piping the huge radiator zone will suck all the heat and I have to ask the tenant to turn down their tstat a couple of degrees so apt with baseboard can get some.
    Three temps would do it.
    We used to use analog indoor/outdoor controllers from Graingers before outdoor reset became known, both the room tstat and indoor/outdoor had to call for heat. They still work fine there may be better ways. Any ideas.
  • Anthony Menafro
    Anthony Menafro Member Posts: 189
    Once again, a very real and informative article!
  • bio_guy
    bio_guy Member Posts: 73
    Now I see why steam has so many adherents despite the fact that, at small scale, it must be hard to recover the heat from the flue gas.

    Re: The clever paint guy. I'm an experimental lab biologist. Long time ago a lunch time student+faculty, informal, but regular meeting included someone not usually with us, the department curmudgeon. This curmudgeon was a well-liked, highly respected and generous curmudgeon for the most part. That noontime we were talking about a very nice piece of recently published work when he walked in with some of his Ramen noodles hanging over the side of his mug. When I called a particular experiment "sophisticated". He said, no, no, the Sophists got paid by the hour to solve problems and so gave answers that were excessively complicated. You want to do elegant experiments not sophisticated ones. The radiator painter was the elegant one so we like him.

    On that day, that I so fondly remember, we spent some of the remainder of the lunch time coming up a functional comparison of sophisticated vs. elegant experiments that we all found very elegant. The former answers a question/tests a hypothesis that is very important and is probably a technical tour de force requiring a big investment in time and money. When push comes to shove, you might be just as glad that someone else did it and not you.

    The latter is just as important to the science. It has a most simple, unsophisticated, defining characteristic. It is the experiment that you wish you had thought of.