Increased Demand for Hydronic Heating Creates Dilemmas for Industry

According to data reported by the National Institute of Standards & Technology, the hydronics industry market size will grow from $32.4B in 2019 to $47.1B in 2024, indicating that homeowners are asking for it in more and more of their residential homes and building projects. As the technology of hydronics improves, its popularity is only going to skyrocket.

That’s big news for the industry. More installations means more work for HVAC and plumbing companies.

The latest data from 2015 shows that only 7.5% of homes in the US have hydronic heating installed, but demand is on the rise. Additionally of note, to meet carbon output goals, nearly 30% of homes in Europe rely on hydronic heating; this is something to consider as climate change policies come online in the US. As the demand for hydronic heating continues to increase at an increasing rate, difficulties in keeping up with this demand also rise. Current demand for installations of hydronic systems is higher than the skilled labor available to provide these solutions.

“We are hearing from leaders in the construction industry that in-floor heating is one of the most requested features in any new-build,” commented Hunt Utilities Group (HUG) President, Ryan Hunt, developer of the HUG Hydronics in-floor heating solution. “Setting up a traditional hydronics system would often take two days or more to complete and the skilled craftsmen who perform these tasks are retiring-out at a rate significantly greater than the number of tradesmen entering this field, thus creating a collision course between supply and demand.”

Installation times for hydronic heating systems vary depending on several aspects including: the size of the home, the complexity of the design, and the expertise of the installer. Most in-floor heating systems can take several days to complete. As in most market-driven industries, as demand increases, technology can often play a role in filling the gap between supply and demand. For example, HUG Hydronics has designed a solution to significantly reduce installation times to about one hour.

“I would still be hooking up manifolds right now,” commented service tech Kevin L. from Northern Air & Plumbing based in Aitkin, MN, during an installation of a HUG Hydronics system this spring. “This is going to remove a day out of three days that this job would have taken.”

Traditional hydronics systems require many complicated parts, such as control and mixing valves, copper piping, pressure tanks, system controls, manifolds, bubble removers, and often operate as a pressurized system. The HUG Hydronics system eliminates the complexity of designing, fitting-up, and commissioning typically required with a traditional hydronics in-floor heating system.

The patent-pending design of the HUG Hydronics system uses submersible pumps. These pumps are connected directly to the PEX tubes embedded in the concrete slab or laid under a subfloor.

“The second I saw the HUG system, I knew it was going to work wonderfully,” said Minnesota contractor Neal Lesmeister, of Weathershield Homes. “I’ve already recommended it to other contractors.”

“It makes sense,” commented Hunt. “Consumers want to be comfortable in their homes, and hydronic heating directly warms from their feet on up. In-floor hydronic heat provides an even temperature throughout their home without the humidity, cold spots, dust and noise of blown air systems.”

The need for a technology infusion in hydronic in-floor heating is clear. Meeting the demand is priority number one for the industry by embracing new technologies like the HUG Hydronics system. By doing so, the HVAC industry can meet this increasing demand and be ready for the future.

Hunt added, “As the saying goes, ‘If you don’t evolve, you die.’ Hopefully HVAC and plumbing professionals understand this and are willing to adopt this new, proven technology.”