Hydronic, or hot water, heating has been standard for years in many parts of the U.S. It is seeing a surge in popularity at present, mainly because of the increasing use of radiant floor heating, which is known for providing even, comfortable heat. Yet contrary to popular belief, not every home in the free world needs hydronic heat to achieve this level of comfort.

Hydronic heat is sometimes touted as more comfortable than forced-air heat. But since the typical hydronic system is significantly more expensive than the typical hot-air system -- especially if cooling is included -- this is an apples-to-oranges comparison. Customers willing to invest in a quality hot-air system, rather than a bare-bones...

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