In hydronic heating, boilers circulate hot water or steam through a system of baseboard heating units, radiators, or in-floor radiant tubing. Baseboard units provide a combination of radiated heat from cast iron surfaces -- like the heat you feel from the sun -- and convected heat from copper fins -- heat that rises through the air. This configuration provides the most quiet, even, and clean heat available.
Boilers have been around since the 1920s, and have recently enjoyed a resurgence as the heating system of choice. Click here to learn about the versatility and capabilities offered by hydronic heat in addition to ordinary heating.
Forced hot air
Furnaces take air from inside your home, heat it and recirculate it throughout the house using a network of ducts. Although forced hot air systems do not offer the comforts of hydronic heating, there is a large installed base that still make them one of the most common heating systems sold.
Electric heat also employs a system of baseboard heaters. Electrical current flows through the coils, heating them up, providing a convective heat source. As with a boiler based system, electric heat is clean and quiet. However, rising electricity costs in many areas have made it an extremely expensive option. Many owners of electric heating systems are converting to hydronic baseboard heating. They continue to enjoy clean, quiet heat and the boiler pays for itself very quickly in energy savings.