How Long Does Hydronic Heating Last?

The best thing during the cold winter months is being able to relax in the warmth (literally) of your home. This is where the innovation of hydronic heating comes in. But how long does a hydronic heating system last?

Hydronic heating generally lasts anywhere between 10 to 25 years. However, the lifespan depends on the installation and quality of the heating system. Another factor that determines lifespan is how well the hydronic heating system is maintained and serviced. There are signs that will indicate when your hydronic heating system needs replacing or servicing.

Hydronic heating brings plenty of benefits when compared to other heating systems and alternatives, so you would want it to last long. Read on for information on how long a hydronic heating system lasts and how you can keep it lasting longer.

How Long Will a Hydronic Heating System Last?

Hydronic heating systems create a warm and cozy environment in an energy-efficient and cost-effective process. The regular lifespan of a regular hydronic heating system could be anywhere from 10 to 25 years. While this lifespan is generally longer than most heating system types, how long your unit actually lasts however depends a lot on a number of factors. And one essential key factor you can maximize the number of years it functions to its capacity is to make sure you do have regular maintenance and servicing. 

Another factor that should be considered is the quality and installation of the heating system. This also plays a part in its ability to function properly and to last for years. And if the proper installation requirements are met, then you can rest assured that most elements of your heating system will run smoothly and perform efficiently for a span of somewhere between 15 to 25 years.  

When your hydronic heating system starts exhibiting signs of poor function, like the frequent need for repairs, then it most likely already has worn-out components. This simply means you most probably should start looking for replacement parts. Do not try to repair broken parts when it requires replacing or make temporary fixes just to get your heating system running. Experimenting on repairs or rectifying it temporarily to get it running can cost you a lot on repairs eventually and potentially damage your unit even more. This will also definitely affect the lifespan of your hydronic heating system. 

The increase in energy consumption, unpredictable temperature fluctuations, unusual noises during operation, and damages to the unit that may well be affecting its performance, are sure signs that you need to replace your heating system.

Another factor that could affect your heating system would be a problem with its pipes. Water is an important part of hydronic heating systems; it is an essential factor in the heater’s capacity to efficiently function. Water not being able to properly move and travel through the pipes will cause problems to your heating system. A breakdown in the pipes can also be a possible problem for your heating system’s full capacity to perform and may also result in leaking damages in your building.

The lifespan of a hydronic heating system may also depend largely on the overall quality of the components and products used to install the hydronic system. If you’re not familiar with which types and brands are best to use, consult with professionals and do some research that can guide you on which questions to ask and what things to look for.

Overview of a Hydronic Heating System’s Lifespan

A hydronic heating system is usually built into a house upon its construction. It would be helpful to research and consider the overall planned setup, the installation requirements, and the best company to get to set up your hydronic heating system before making the commitment to invest in it. Make sure to get acquainted also with how the system works.

Hydronic heating systems run by spreading warm or cool water through the pipes installed underneath the floor surface of a home. So one of the main factors that could affect a hydronic heating system is the water heater.

There are several potential causes of a water heater malfunction. Keep in mind as well that most water heaters have a general lifespan of just a few years, especially if they are used quite often. But potentially, a well-designed and well-maintained water heater may last up to eight to twelve years. 

Let me give emphasis again on these essential things. If you want to keep your hydronic heating system last a bit longer or function well for the duration of its life, you need to keep it well serviced and maintained. And acquaint yourself with the hydronic system. Get as much information as you can and compare notes with trusted professionals.

Remember, there’s nothing wrong with asking questions and coming out somewhat pesky and ignorant with your queries for as long as you are eventually able to do things right and keep things in order. Trying to increase your hydronic heating system’s lifespan will cost you some extra money at the start, investing time in doing so may save you from any future expenses and problems.

Common Problems That shortens the lifespan of Hydronic Heaters

Like all appliances, the hydronic heating system may become rundown, or it may malfunction over time if not given proper care and regular maintenance. You will definitely come across issues that are common among heaters while you use it.

If any of these issues arise, do not leave it unattended, as it will greatly affect your unit and its lifespan sooner or later. If you’re experiencing any problems with your hydronic heating system, we urge you to get the heater promptly serviced by a professional.

Here are a few problems that may cause your heating system to not function as it should, along with some factors that can shorten its lifespan:

1. Failure in the pumps

A heat pump failure may be due to a lack of treatment. The heating system’s pump is easily inclined to wearing out because of its increased bearing. As such, if left uncared for, it may result in a pump failure.

2. The boiler making noises

There could be various causes for the boiler’s noises, but the typical reason is due to an accumulation of waste and grime in the boiler. This causes pressure on certain elements, which leads to the boiler becoming overworked. When this happens, it starts to get “noisy.”

3. Trapped air in radiators

Spotting any cold areas on the radiator indicates that there is trapped hydrogen or air inside your system. This will cause a restriction in the airflow and affect the heater’s ability to provide heat. 

4. A buildup of dirt

Your heating system will likely have a build-up of dirt and waste through years of usage. This will affect your heater’s ability to perform. Hire a professional to power flush (which means a process that removes the accumulated grime) your system’s sludgy segments that are very much in need of cleaning.

How to Make Your Hydronic Heating System Last Longer

Here are some main factors that will help you keep your hydronic heating system running longer and effectively for years.

1. Do the installation right

First off, you want to do the installation right. Doing it yourself may lead to a long list of problems and issues. So, the installation of a hydronic heating system should only be done by a certified professional. Getting it professionally installed will cost more than doing it yourself.

Remember, though, that doing it right initially will save you later from having to spend on repairs and having to deal with the anxiety of not having the comfort you’ve been accustomed to as you wait for it to get fixed. Spending extra initially lets you avoid a lot more potential problems later.

2. Get to know & research your hydronic heating system well

Familiarize yourself with how your heating system works. The more you know about it, the quicker you will know when it needs maintenance or other servicing for its components.

3. Use the right cleaner

Cleaners that are made specifically for your hydronic system should be used. These cleaners help maintain a proper pH balance in the hydronic heating system. They also help stop the formation of corrosion and calcium deposits. They may cost more, but it will help you from having to face the costs of replacing the hydronic heating system or its components.

4. Maintain the boiler or furnace

Neglecting the boiler or furnace’s maintenance is one of the most common causes of issues within a hydronic heating system. If you want your heating system running efficiently, then this needs to be maintained. Check this component for build-ups of rust and calcium deposits. With the right cleaning aids, you can get rid of them.

Why Servicing Helps Hydronic Heaters Last Longer

Servicing at least once a year is essential to keeping your heating system running smoothly. As it ensures all the parts will work properly so you can enjoy affordable heating for many years to come. Here are two key reasons to get your hydronic heating system maintained regularly:

1. To deal with small problems before they grow into bigger issues

Regular maintenance helps deal with small issues that may become bigger problems if neglected. Any small issue in any part of the heating system may spread and sabotage the rest of its operation. Treating the small issues promptly may save you from expensive costs and possibly a lot of time in repairs in the future.

2. To make sure your heating system is still running effectively and efficiently

Any issues that cause your hydronic heating system to function below the standard level will cost it more to run than it normally should. During servicing, the water quality, boiler function, and even your energy bills are checked to make sure it is in line with the set expectations. 

Monitoring & Simple Maintenance Tasks That Extend the Life of Hydronic Heaters

It is a good practice to regularly maintain and have your heating system checked at least once a year. But here are a few things that you could watch for by yourself to keep your heating system running optimally for years.

1. Checking the water level

Checking the boiler’s water level every fortnight is recommended. If the boiler operates without water, it will cause severe damage. This problem may also cause an accident in your home, possibly putting your family in danger.

Ensure that the pilot light is on when you check the water levels. If it is below the minimum level, then you will need to check the plumbing for any issues that need repairing.

2. Descaling your system

Having hard water will increase the accumulation of lime-scale. Lime-scale prevents the boiler from working properly. De-scaling should be done if there is a noticeable accumulation of lime-scale.

3. Leaking in the system

Gas or fuel may leak through the valves during the normal use of the boiler. When leaking happens, then the system requires some necessary adjustments. If there are any damages or parts that are faulty, then it is time to call in for a repair or replacement service.

4. Flushing the system

Clear the water from the boiler at least a couple of times a year. It is recommended to do this after winter whenever the boiler worked at full capacity. Flushing out and cleaning the interior thoroughly gets rid of the dirt, grit, and lime-scale that accumulated.

5. Bleeding the radiators

If the radiators become cooler at the top than the bottom, then this is an indication that air is trapped in the system. To ensure your heating system runs without unnecessary strain, release the air by bleeding the radiators. Make sure the heating is turned off before you do this, and also remember to lock the valve well after. 

6. Opening the thermostatic valves

To increase the hydronic heating system’s longevity, make sure to open the thermostatic valves all the way when not in use.

7. Lubricating the system

For the smoothest operation of its mechanical systems, make sure you regularly lubricate the heating system. Lubrication helps support the hydronic heating system’s working capacity. Make sure to lubricate the fan and pumps of the boiler well.

8. Removing obstruction from the air vents and flues

Blocked air vents and flues prevent the boiler from working properly. Inspect the vents and flues regularly for any dirt or debris that may obstruct the free passage of air.

9. Clearing the dust

Dust may easily accumulate in the boiler room. So make sure to check it regularly and clean it well when needed. Dust accumulation may affect the heating system’s operations. Clear all the dust thoroughly to make sure the hydronic heating system runs at optimal efficiency.

Cost-Effective Ways to Increase Your Hydronic Heating’s Efficiency for Longer Lifespan

Increasing your hydronic heating’s efficiency helps it run smoothly, which ultimately makes it last longer. This is because it doesn’t use as much energy to process its overall systems. It lessens the wear and tear of its functions.

The good thing about this system is, there are easy and cheap ways of getting even higher energy efficiency from it.

1. Installing an outdoor reset

Outdoor reset is used to reduce energy use without any interruption to your comfort. It automatically lowers the temperature of the boiler water when the temperature outdoors is warmer. It then automatically increases the temperature when it is colder outside.

Outdoor reset controllers come with many of the recent hydronic heating systems. But many people leave their controller uninstalled because they don’t fully know what it does. Outdoor reset controllers improve the hydronic heating system’s efficiency. 

2. Installing energy-saving thermostats

An energy-saving and clock thermostat automatically reduces the temperature in a heated space when it is unoccupied at night and then automatically heats it back up at a set time. Energy-saving, automatic thermostats allow for maximum energy efficiency.

3. Sealing your home and fixing the insulation

If your home has leaks, then the energy will be wasted. So you want to make sure the heat stays inside the building. Air leaks impact the efficiency and heating capacity of your heating system. So make sure to get your home tested for any air leakage.

Final Thoughts

Hydronic heating is the future of energy-efficient comfort for homes. Hydronic systems are gaining popularity nowadays because of how long it lasts and how much comfort and convenience it brings to a home. Not to mention the big benefit of being able to cut up on your energy bills effectively. Save yourself time, money, and energy by keeping it well serviced.

Remember that your hydronic heating system will last longer if you invest wisely in it. And investing more into it initially might seem costly than you hope, but the eventual result of having your heating system last longer will definitely be a lot better trade-off in the long run.

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Attribution: Chixoy, Wikimedia Commons

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