How Much Does Hydronic Heating Cost to Install & Run?

How much does Hydronic Heating Cost?

Hydronic heating is becoming a more and more popular in Australia since the running costs can be up to 40% less than that of ducted heating or underfloor heating options.

In today’s article we’ll explore the costs of installing and running a hydronic system so you can decide if hydronic heating is the right option for you and your home. 

What Is Hydronic Heating?

Hydronic heating, or radiant heating, is a simple, energy-efficient home heating system. Unlike its counterpart, ducted heating, hydronic heating uses specialized tubing to run a hot liquid underneath your home’s floor. It normally employs either liquid hot water, steam, or a water solution based on glycol. This type of system was first introduced for large commercial buildings and faculties in Australia, but over time, the model has become incredibly popular among families — the infrastructure behind it, and the mechanics, downscaled and adapted perfectly for small residential homes. 

A hydronic heating system works by pipes and liquid return. Water, or specialized liquid, is circulated through a house in a closed-loop system. The whole structure, in many cases, is installed within your property’s concrete slabs, or floor joist system, which in turn allows the heat to radiate uniformly all across the desired space. Additionally, to diffuse heat in an even manner, baseboard units, radiators, and other tools can be installed in order to supplement the system’s yield. 

The benefits of Hydronic include: 

  • Lower heating bills.
  • Decrease in environmental impact. 
  • More conformable surface temperature
  • More durable and energy-efficient heating — up to 70% more efficient than electrical-dependent systems.
  • Less noise pollution — these systems are extremely quiet. 
  • Safer — no exposed flames or electrical connections.
  • More adaptable and uniform heating.
  • More versatile installation — Homeowners can adapt the system around what they need. Piping and infrastructure can be placed in walls and easily conducted through a home. 

Installation Costs for Hydronic Heating Systems

The big difference, and the biggest cost variance, lies in whether you are retro-fitting a home – installing a hydronic system in a house already set and built – or starting from scratch – setting it up in a new home still in production. 

A hydronic heating system works, not only off pipes, but on High-efficiency pumps and hydronic boilers that serve to circulate the warm liquid around your house. Each house, depending on size, not only needs more piping, but also different heating panels and more radiators. 

How much does it cost to install a hydronic heating system?

The approximate cost of installation of a hydronic heating unit bought is around $1,300 per radiator. That includes manual labour, the boiler, and materials. On top of that, you’ll also have to calculate the approximate cost of underfloor access plus the in-slab heating units — currently between $40 to $90 per square meter. 

Variances in prices depend mostly on the difficulty of installations and the buyer’s specific needs. 

For example, a 3 bedroom retrofitting for an existing home, with approximately 7-8 radiators, will cost anywhere between $10,000 to $15,000, depending on the cost of contractors, the quality of fitting, and the home’s specific geometry and challenges. 

Cost to Run Hydronic Heating

Hydronic Heating systems are more financially dynamic and cost-effective than their counterparts. The advantage of a system like this is that it reuses/recycles heat and in doing so reduces the cost of fuel. 

The daily, weekly, or monthly expense of a system like this depends on the method the homeowner opts for. The main source of power that is needed to circulate liquid around your house’s pipes. 

  • If you use solar power, the cost will be incredibly low since you are gaining energy from a free- renewable cost-efficient source.
  • If you’re employing an electrical boiler, the cost will largely depend on the system’s power rating. 
  • If you decided to install a gas boiler, your tariff will “boil” down to the cost of gas in your area and your burner’s efficiency level.

Nonetheless, as a whole, a hydronic heating system can save the homeowner more than 30% on their heating bills — compared to traditional systems. 

Cost of Hydronic Heating Vs Ducted Heating

  • A hydronic system is more efficient.
  • Quieter than a ducted system since there are no fans involved.
  • More hygienic — there are no dust particles, moulds, or allergens being circulated.
  • Smaller and less conspicuous — more aesthetically pleasing.
  • More cost-efficient — up to 40% more economical to operate. 

Check out our article Ducted vs Split system to find out which is right for you…

Nonetheless, there are a couple of benefits ducted systems have over the environmentally friendly option.

  • They are easier to control and users can change temperature quickly and get instant gratification. Hydronic heating systems need a while to operate at their A-game once switched on.
  • It’s incredibly easy to create warmth zones. 
  • Depending on your budget and needs, you can stagger installation. A duct system allows you to choose either heat first or cooling later— which is incredibly advantageous if you’re working on a tight estimate. 

Cost-wise, hydronic heating systems are more affordable to run than most other types of heaters. Some calculations and estimates claim that a system of this type can end up saving some homeowners in Australia over 40% on their utility bills.