Forced Air vs Hydronics – Helping the Customer Understand the Difference

By Max Rohr, manager, REHAU Academy


There are many benefits  to using radiant heating systems. It is often difficult to present these benefits to the customer – especially if a system is not properly installed from day one.


John Barba is an industry trainer and is the director of training at Taco. With over 20 years of experience, he understands how simple mistakes and assumptions can greatly impact a system’s performance. The most common mistakes include:

  • Not understanding the difference between flow and head
  • Not taking into account head loss through supply and return piping
  • Assuming variable seed circulators are “magic” or “cure-all”

John stresses it is important to understand what circulators do and don’t do, and to have a full understanding of what you are installing.


We also discussed the difference between using water to move heat instead of forced air. Water is usually quieter, easier to design around and provides more comfort. Comfort is hard to quantify; there is no perfect measurement since comfort varies from person to person. John suggests introducing systems as lifestyle features instead of focusing solely on their efficiency.


The best installation for any system is the one that makes the most sense for each specific job.


For the full interview with John Barba, download the podcast.