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When it comes to heating residential or commercial spaces, size doesn’t always equal better or more efficient heating. While commercial or rooftop units may be an excellent source for building-wide heating, individual rooms may vary due to placement. Unit heaters are an excellent solution to solve this issue. Unit heaters provide a permanent heating solution with a small footprint. Due to their size, unit heaters can be installed in a variety of ways and can be tucked away to provide more space. This can be beneficial in both residential and commercial areas where space is needed.

While there are ample electric or gas-fired unit heater options, hydronic solutions are optimal for home or business owners who utilize a boiler. Hydronic unit heaters are a complementary piece that ties into the boiler system. During the heating process, the unit heater extracts heat from the hot water and uses it to warm the space efficiently. These units are also great at maintaining desired room temperatures. Hydronic units can withstand lower temperatures or maintain 70° heat. In addition, the internal coil can handle water pressure up to 150 PSI and temperatures up to 375° Fahrenheit.

For contractors looking to offer these solutions to home or business owners who use boiler systems, there are three different options, and which one to recommend depends on the customer.

“Whether the customer is wanting to extend their living space by warming their garage or improving the heating for a commercial space, hydronic unit heaters provide a permanent heating source that has a small footprint compared to other alternatives.”
- Jamie Tuinstra
Product manager, Modine Manufacturing

Residential Solutions

For residential customers looking to extend their living space to the garage or warm their workshop or home office, a hydronic garage heater is an excellent choice for contractors to offer up. A low-profile, residentially certified hot-water unit heater provides ample permanent heat that runs off boiler systems, ground-source heat pumps, or water heaters. For contractors, a unit like this is easy to install due to the electrical and piping connections’ ability to easily be reversed in the field.

Modine HotDawg Hydronic Garage Heater.

SOLUTION: Unit heaters like Modine’s HotDawg Hydronic Garage Heater (pictured) and Lodronic Low-Temperature Hydronic Heater can provide a permanent heating solution with a small footprint. (Courtesy of Modine Manufacturing)

While customers tend often to opt for portable or box store solutions, a hydronic garage heater provides several benefits. As previously stated, unit heaters are small and versatile. They can be hung from the ceiling and tucked out of the way to provide more floor space. In addition, while the box store solutions burn LP fuel, the hydronic heating solution is both cost-effective and can provide permanent heat without burning large amounts of fuel.


Commercial Heating

There are two commercial hydronic unit heaters that can provide ample heating for commerical spaces: a horizontal hydronic (HSB/HC) and a low-temperature hydronic heater. For commercial spaces using a typical boiler system, the horizontal hydronic heater is one of the most popular units. It is designed for long heat-throw and uniform heat delivery. These units are available with top/bottom inlet/outlet piping (HSB) or side inlet/outlet piping (HC). Its serpentine copper tube coil design has high resistance to thermal shock even under high steam pressure. This lightweight unit heater can be installed easily by contractors.

For commercial spaces that utilize high-efficiency boilers, a low-temperature hydronic heater may be the preferred option. This unit is designed specifically for use with high-efficiency boilers. With a low-temperature hydronic heater, there is a significant performance improvement when compared to standard hydronic units, including 50% less electric use, 35% higher discharge temperature, 30% smaller footprint, and 2.5x quieter operation.