Forced Hot Water Heating

Pros & Cons of Forced Hot Water Heating

Advantages – Forced Hot Water Heating Systems (FHW) are a very popular heating system for homes in New Hampshire that do not also have central air conditioning. Also referred to as “hydronic systems,” FHW heats water in a furnace (or more accurately called “boilers”) fueled by oil or gas, and then it circulates that hot water throughout the home with a loop of baseboard pipes. These baseboard heat pipes have air flow “fins” that distribute the heat through a convection process.

FHW baseboard heating systems are the most accurate for evenly distributing heat throughout the house, without having the indoor air quality disadvantages that come with FHA systems. They are also quieter. Adding on to an existing FHW system is easier in the remodeling process. If maintained annually, a homeowner could realize 10 to 15% savings over FHA systems. The key to an efficient FHW system is having it serviced annually by a qualified and experienced technician. We, of course, recommend Christenson Plumbing and Heating for your annual boiler service!

Disadvantages – Forced Hot Water heating systems are a little more complicated than forced hot air, thus a little more expensive to install. Many of these boilers containing a “tankless coil”- that is, the device that heats water for the home is built in to the furnace. This is not an efficient way to heat water. An “on demand” water heater can be installed externally to save energy costs, but obviously there is an upfront cost to install this upgrade.

In designing a FHW heating system, each room in the house needs to be evaluated for its heating requirements to determine the baseboard elements needed. These baseboard heat pipes need airflow, which can present challenges when placing furniture. A person building a new home in New Hampshire may also want central air conditioning. Although central air conditioning is not as critical here as in warmer climates, it’s a nice feature to have. In this case, a separate system must be installed to cool the home. This is another upgrade that can add a significant increase to the new home construction costs.