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The Secret To Keeping Your Hydronic Heating System Running Smoothly



Colder temperatures mean one thing: Winter looms on the horizon, so the time has come to make sure that heating systems remain in good working order. For a hydronic system, maintenance must include the circulator pump, as it’s essentially the “engine” of it all and arguably the single most important component.


What types of problems should you look out for? Well, that depends on the design of the pump.


The main pump types are three-piece circulators and cartridge circulators. Of the two, three-piece circulators are more problematic. Cartridge circulators, meanwhile, are water-lubricated. “These do not require oil and have very few replaceable parts,” says Daniel O’Brian, a tech team member here at “Cartridge circulators may need a new cartridge every now and again,” but there’s not often cause to replace the pump itself. For that reason, cartridge-type circulators have become standard.

Choosing the right replacement pump requires an understanding of several factors:


– Different pumps feature different flow rates.

– The head range is the number of feet a pump can raise or lower a column of water at atmospheric pressure.

– In a closed-loop hydronic system, the circulator pump can be cast iron, because the water used is de-oxygenated to prevent rusting. In an open-loop hydronic system the circulator pump must be made of either bronze or stainless steel to prevent corrosion.

– Some pumps offer variable-speed functions that accommodate for changes throughout the day in a home’s heating load.

If you’re looking for a pump, you can find a wide range on our site. Additionally, this video can help:

This post was written in collaboration with Bob Vila

Posted in How Tos + Tricks | Tagged , ,

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