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cost of Hydronic Heating

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  1. #1
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    Default cost of Hydronic Heating

    I am moving into a new property next week and the only form of heating is a couple of fires and a coonara. I am considering Hydronics as I am from the UK and almost every house has this. What I cant understand is how expensive it all is. I have been quoted $800 per radiator plus the cost of the heating source, ie, boiler. I can buy the equivalent radiators for about $100 from the UK plus the shipping cost. If I need 10 radiators I will be paying $8000 from here or $800 plus shipping from the UK. I have no problem with the shipping as I am experienced in shipping gear from overseas. My real question is can I install the radiators from the UK. I understand that there would be issues with importing a boiler as that has to be compliant but cannot see any issues with the radiators which are just circulating the water. Has anyone had any experiences with this?

  2. #2
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    I can't answer the question but as for the cost difference, I'd expect that this comes down largely to the size of the market.

    In the UK they are a common item easily obtainable. Here in Australia, I've never actually seen a modern one in use anywhere other than a hotel. So there just isn't the market volume which would account for some of the price difference. That plus hydronic in Australia is seen as a "luxury" product and priced accordingly.

  3. #3
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    $800 per radiator seems very over-priced. Are you sure you weren't quoted an installed price for the whole system? Often the rule-of-thumb with hydronic heating in Australia is that it costs $1000 per radiator installed. Eg: If you want 10 radiators, it will cost $10k, including all parts and labour (that is plumbing, radiators, boiler and installation). When I looked at sourcing radiators myself, new Delonghi radiators were about $150 a radiator from Hunt Heating. Maybe work out what size radiators you need and give them a call for prices. If you have a rough idea, I can look the retail price up for you in their catalogue. I doubt you will save much money once you take into account freight from UK. However, the radiators will be fine to use here if you do decide to buy them from the UK.

  4. #4
    Golden Member GraemeCook's Avatar
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    Good Morning Stco85 and Dominic

    We looked very seriously at installing hydronic heating a year ago and had a similar experience to you. Previously we had lived in Boston, USA where winter temperatures hover around -10*C, and we really enjoyed the nicer type of heat that comes from a hydronic radiant heat system.

    We looked explicitly at an electric heat pump based system, and were quoted between $8,000 and $12,000 just for the heat pump unit, and always got a warning that the suppliers had never installed one before, but it should be alright...... "A normal split unit heat pump is better... That's what everyone buys..." Basically they did not want the job, IMHO.

    I also looked at the economics of importing

    * No issues with importing radiators, hosing and other components.
    * Electrical heat pump for personal use (ie not for resale) can be imported from UK or western Europe without compliance issues.
    * Gas fired heaters/boilers are too hard to import due to compliance certification requirements (Aus uses different gas pipeline pressure standards than Europe, I think)
    * On most stuff, Customs is 5% and GST is 10%; but both are free if landed cost of a shipment is below $1,000.
    * Best air to water hydronic heat pumps are manufactured in Sweden and Germany.
    * Legally, you need a licensed refrigeration technician to install it.

    Hope this helps.


    Fair Winds

    Graeme

  5. #5
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    GraemeCook, why were you after a heat pump setup? They are rare here. 8-12k for the heat pump is ridiculous.

  6. #6
    Golden Member GraemeCook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dominicw View Post
    GraemeCook, why were you after a heat pump setup? They are rare here. 8-12k for the heat pump is ridiculous.
    They are the norm in western Europe, and are far cheaper to operate than oil or gas fired boilers.

    With efficient heat-optimised European heat pumps efficiency now ranges between 400 and 500%, versus a maximum of perhaps 80% for gas or oil. Virtually all heat pumps imported into Australia are designed primarily to cool, although they will also heat. Just reflects that most of Aus needs cooling, not heating, and the importers chase the bigger market.


    Fair Winds

    Graeme

  7. #7
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    Default Hydronic or ducted

    Quote Originally Posted by GraemeCook View Post
    They are the norm in western Europe, and are far cheaper to operate than oil or gas fired boilers.

    With efficient heat-optimised European heat pumps efficiency now ranges between 400 and 500%, versus a maximum of perhaps 80% for gas or oil. Virtually all heat pumps imported into Australia are designed primarily to cool, although they will also heat. Just reflects that most of Aus needs cooling, not heating, and the importers chase the bigger market.


    Fair Winds

    Graeme
    Hi Graeme,

    Did you end up putting in Hydronic heating or was it just too expensive? If not, what heating did you end up using?
    We are at cross roads with our current hydronic heating as the house was built back in the early 60's so the system we have is now over
    50 years old...still works but the boiler needs upgrading and the manifold is mild steel and we are wondering how much longer it's going to last before it rusts out and therefore we would be up for the cost of a manifold upgrade and so are considering shutting it down and installing ducted heating throughout...especially since we've just added another 17 squares on and can't extend the hydronic through as we've gone out on strip footings and using radiator panels means the boiler has to have another part added on to allow the water that goes to them to be at the higher temp they require!

    Cheers,

    Kerrie

  8. #8
    Golden Member GraemeCook's Avatar
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    Good Morning Kerrie

    We did not go with hydronic heating for two main cost reasons:
    • Cost of equipment was way, way too high. [400% mark-up on European prices!]
    • Installation costs were totally open ended. We felt we would be paying for installers to learn how to do it.


    Our situation was impacted by my wife's medical conditions. This basically ruled out ducting.

    Eventually we went with gas, and its working well - combination of radiant and convected heat. About the same cost to install as split heat pump, but more expensive to operate.



    Fair Winds
    Graeme

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by GraemeCook View Post
    Eventually we went with gas, and its working well - combination of radiant and convected heat. About the same cost to install as split heat pump, but more expensive to operate.
    I take it this is one of those gas heaters with the square / rectangle panels at the front which glow red hot?

    I had one of those at a previous address. As an actual means of heating it's by far the best in my opinion. Nice and warm, no draughts and very little noise too. Plus no hassles like with firewood.

    The only downside was the cost of running it on bottled gas. But if you have access to piped gas then that would make the cost quite reasonable.

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