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What are the Types of Commercial Hydronic Heating and Cooling Systems?

Hydronic heating and cooling systems – have you heard of them?

They are quickly becoming the popular choice for commercial heating and cooling due to their energy efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and ability to provide both heating and cooling in one package. 

But there are quite a variety of types of commercial hydronic heating and cooling systems available, as well as the option to customize them, so how do you know which hydronics package may work best for your application? 

To help answer this question, in this blog, we’ll explore the types of hydronic heating and cooling systems available, the benefits of a hydronic system over standard HVAC system, and how to choose the best hydronics package for your needs.

Types of Commercial Hydronic Heating and Cooling Systems

There are several types of commercial hydronic heating and cooling systems, including (but not limited to):

  1. Chilled Water Systems: These systems use chilled water to cool large buildings, factories, malls, and government buildings. A full system includes a roof-mounted chiller, a cooling tower, and a chiller water/hot water package.

    The chillers cool water to a desirable low temperature, and the cooling towers help with long spans of pipe to cool the water faster and more efficiently. Once cooled, the water is sent throughout the building to carry the cool temperatures and condition the space.
  2. Hot Water Systems: These systems use hot water to heat the same types of infrastructure as chilled water systems cool. Typically, boilers or shell and tube heat exchangers are used to heat water. The water is then disbursed throughout the building to carry the heat and condition the space.

    In both the chilled water and hot water systems, water acts as the conveyor of the desired temperature to either cool or heat the space.
  3. Steam Systems: These systems use steam to heat buildings. Steam is produced by a boiler, which heats water to produce steam. The steam is then distributed through pipes to radiators, which release the heat into the air to condition the space.
  4. Steam Condensate Systems: These systems use steam to heat buildings, but they also use a condensate return system to collect and return the condensate produced by steam-using equipment back to the boiler.

    Steam condensate systems are designed to recover the heat energy from the condensate and reuse it in the boiler, making this option more efficient as less heat energy is wasted.

These systems can be customized and combined to provide a complete, energy efficient, cost-effective space conditioning solution for commercial buildings and complexes of many different shapes, sizes, and industries.  

Benefits of Using a Hydronic System

But why use a hydronic heating and cooling system? Especially if your facility has been relying on more conventional HVAC systems, you may wonder if a switch to a hydronic system would make sense. 

Well, hydronic systems have numerous benefits over standard HVAC systems, including:

  1. Energy Efficiency: Hydronic systems are more energy-efficient than standard HVAC systems because they use water to transfer heat, which is a much more efficient heat transfer medium than air.

    Water temperatures are not as easily changed as air temperatures, and so the water will hold the desired temperature longer than air. Think about how lakes hold their temperature longer than the surrounding air – when the first cold snap hits after summer, the air will be colder than the lake’s water. But after winter, when the first warm air temps come, the water in the lake will still be frigid. It takes longer for the water in the lake to adjust to the air temperature. 

    This same principle is at work in hydronic systems. When it’s summertime and the air outside is hot, the water is cooled and sent throughout the building, and the water will hold that desired cooler temperature longer than cooling the air. During the winter, the heated water that is sent through the facility will stay warmer longer than heated air will.

    Thus, hydronic systems are more efficient and also better at providing even heating and cooling.
  2. Cost-Effectiveness: The better efficiency also means that hydronic systems are more cost-effective than standard HVAC systems. They also require less maintenance and have a longer lifespan!
  3. Improved Indoor Air Quality: Another benefit of hydronic heating and cooling systems is better air quality! Since water running through pipes is the conveyor of the cool or warm temperatures, hydronic systems don’t blow air and circulate dust and allergens the same way conventional HVAC systems do.
  4. Quiet Operation: Finally, hydronic systems operate quietly because they do not use blowers like standard HVAC systems do.

How to Choose the Best Hydronics Package for Your Application

Choosing the best hydronics package for your facility or application depends on several factors, such as the size of the building, the type of heating and cooling required, and the budget.

Some general steps to follow when choosing a hydronics package include:

  1. Calculate the Heat Loss of the Building: This will determine the required BTUH.
  2. Evaluate and Compare Compliant Pumps: This will determine the flow rate and head requirements.
  3. Determine the Pipe Sizing Guidelines: This is based on the flow rate.
  4. Select a Circulator: This is based on the system flow rate and head requirements.
  5. Choose a Boiler: Choose a boiler that is compatible with the hydronic system.

Of course, for these steps, you may want to call in the professionals to help you determine the best package or parts for your facility’s needs. 

How We Can Help

At Lockwood Products, we offer a wide range of hydronic packages to meet your specific needs. 

Our packages include booster pump packages, chilled and hot water packages, and much, much more. 

Our easy, step-by-step quote generator will help determine what packaged solution is right for you. We have many different booster packages in our library, and we can customize them to fit your application and space. We use only the highest quality pumps and components, and we can accommodate your preferred component or supplier in your design.

After 75 years of business, at Lockwood Products, we are masters of efficiency, and we pride ourselves in providing the very best in pleasant, efficient, and professional products, services, and customer care. 

If you have any questions whatsoever about our products or services, don’t hesitate to call us: 404-505-2520