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What Causes Cold Spots In Hydronic Heating Systems?

Hydronic heating systems have a well-deserved reputation as an upscale, luxurious home heating option. Unlike forced-air heating, hydronic systems typically rely on radiant heat to directly warm objects (and people). This design can result in heating that many people find cozier, more comfortable, and more uniform than forced-air furnaces.

Unfortunately, hydronic systems don't always operate without problems. Just as with a forced-air heating system, it's possible to have hot and cold spots in a home with hydronic heating. The underlying cause for these problems can depend on numerous factors, including the design of your system and the style of heaters used in your home.

Cold Rooms and Cold Radiators

If your home uses radiators, you may notice that some rooms are warmer than others. This difference may not matter much if it's relatively slight, but it can be an issue when you need to choose between a chilly bedroom and a searing hot living room. When one room is colder than the others, you'll often find that the cold room or rooms are much farther from the radiator.

Colder temperatures in distant rooms typically result from circulation issues. Hot water must flow to each radiator in your home, but there's always some heat loss as the water travels through the pipes. Insufficient can allow the water to cool down too much, lowering the temperature at radiators farther from the boiler and leaving those rooms feeling much chillier.

Air pockets can restrict flow through your hydronic heating pipes, but they aren't the only potential problem. A faulty or weak circulator pump may also be to blame. Even if you do have air in the system, purging isn't always a simple fix. If one or more rooms in your home are cold enough to be uncomfortable, you'll probably want a professional to determine the underlying cause of the problem.

Icy Spots on the Floor

Underfloor radiant heating can present its own set of issues. While you may still have a cold room due to poor circulation from the boiler, you may also experience noticeable cold spots on the floor. Since one of the primary advantages of underfloor heating is a uniform and comfortable temperature, these icy spots can be troubling.

Like issues with cold rooms, the problem usually originates with poor flow. However, small cold spots on your floor are usually due to local problems within the underfloor plumbing. Airlocks are one common issue. When air enters the plumbing, it can create a blockage that restricts hot water flow and causes part of your floor to feel colder than the rest.

Unfortunately, dealing with an airlock in an underfloor heating system isn't usually a straightforward problem. If you're noticing cold spots on your radiant flooring, it's best to bring in a professional plumber to determine if an airlock is to blame and, if so, the best way to purge the system.

For more information, contact a company like Vanguard Service.