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Planning a New Building? HUG Hydronics Makes In-Floor Heating a DIY Job

13 May 2024

“Sometimes, when I’m down under a machine fixing it, I don’t want to leave,” joked local farmer Ed Bruley of Milaca, Minnesota. 

While the art of maintaining a tractor can be recreational for some, Bruley was referring to the way his shop is being heated. Last summer, when he decided to replace a dilapidated building that was on its last legs, he chose the HUG Hydronics heating system for his new repair shop. The warm, heated concrete is a big difference to lay on vs his old unheated floor. 

Against the wall in the corner of his garage quietly sits a sleek, compact HVAC innovation. This simple, quiet, unassuming device functions as a controller and heat-distribution mechanism for nearly any hydronic-based heating system. 

Bruley isn’t alone in enjoying his warm floors. Radiant heating is rapidly becoming the standard for new building projects, but what is radiant heating? And why is it rapidly replacing the more traditional forced-air option? 

Let’s go over the basics.

 Hydronic radiant systems use piping (usually PEX tubing) embedded in the concrete floor through which heated water or antifreeze is circulated. This system can be installed in new construction or as a retrofit to existing floors.

The fluid is heated via a boiler system, usually powered by electric or gas, but may also be wood, solar or even waste oil.

The system is controlled via thermostat, which can sense the air temperature, or be embedded in the floor. Multiple zones (up to eight) give the flexibility for different temperatures in different rooms.

  •  Radiant hydronic floor heat can be more energy efficient than traditional ag-heating methods, such as forced-air ceiling heaters or infrared tubes.
  • The large heated (thermal) mass of concrete provides for a stable heating environment, which can slow down or prevent freezing in the event of a power outage. It also quickly reheats after a garage door is opened to the cold, or cold equipment is brought inside. Heated concrete floors also dry quickly if they happen to get wet, and they are comfortable to work on.
  •  Hydronic radiant in-floor heat can be exceptionally safe, as the boiler can be isolated away from the heated area.

Hydronic radiant systems also boast features such as:

  • Quiet operation
  • Even heat without drafts, hot or cold spots.
  • Reduction of the circulation of airborne contaminants such as dust, allergens or mold spores. 

“I’d been mulling it around but decided to pull the trigger when I saw HUG Hydronics,” said Bruley.

“We made our system so it can use any type of boiler, run in a zero-pressure environment, and, on top of that, made it so easy to install that anyone can put it together in about an hour,” commented Hunt Utilities Group (HUG) President, Ryan Hunt. 

What makes the HUG Hydronics system possible is our proprietary high-performance submersible pump. This brushless, three-phase, low-voltage DC pump is capable of high flow rates if needed and an exceptionally long service life. Each pump can service up to two heating loops. This redundancy allows for the HUG Hydronics system to maintain heat in the other loops, even in the rare event of a pump failure.  Each pump is connected to a heat loop by two high-temperature silicone hoses that are sized to press on to half-inch PEX tubing without tools. The heat source circulation and floor circulation pumps are identical, and the pumps are the only mechanical component in the system. This design simplicity eases installation and reduces the potential for operational malfunction, making the HUG Hydronics system a big improvement for both the homeowner and HVAC professionals alike.  

Traditional hydronic systems require many complicated parts and must be installed by a trained professional. The HUG Hydronics system does away with all of those barriers.

The HUG Hydronics system utilizes an 11-gallon tank of heated fluid and is capable of heating four separate thermostatically controlled zones and up to nine separate heating loops. A separate loop transfers fluid through the available hydronic heat source. 

HUG Hydronics is likely the simplest, most reliable hydronic system that you may ever encounter. There is no pressure tank, pressure relief valves, zone valves, manifolds, bleed valves, fill valves or drain valves. It doesn’t even require an air remover. The HUG Hydronics system minimizes tubing joints, eliminating potential leak points, and the system is easily maintained. All of the replaceable components can be changed without tools. Diagnostic lights on the control board readily indicate the issue.

“We’re really proud of how effectively simple it is,” shared Hunt. 

Reliability was a guiding factor in all aspects of design: The HUG Hydronics system is designed for years of efficient, trouble-free operation.

  • The reservoir and chassis are constructed from the same thick, rugged polymers as playground equipment and marine decking.
  • All attaching hardware is stainless steel for excellent corrosion resistance.
  • Our proprietary high quality compact submersible pumps are made with special ceramics, polymers, and stainless steel. They are rated for 30,000-plus hours life span, which translates to years of reliable service.
  • Since our pumps are always submerged, and the low-level sensor is above the pumps, our pumps will never be damaged by running dry.
  • The high-quality DC power supply is rated at an impressive 140,000-hour service life.
  • Our system is 100% hardware controlled. There are no software bugs, apps or updates to ever worry about.
  •  The control board is sealed for moisture and corrosion resistance, and uses corrosion resistant jumpers instead of the more corrosion susceptible buttons and knobs.
  •  Each pump has its own dedicated fuse, so if one pump fails, the rest can keep operating, providing heat to your building. Fuses are the readily available standard glass type.
  • The low-level sensor has no moving parts.
  • The chassis and hoses are sealed, to greatly reduce evaporation and fluid loss.
  • Virtually no metal parts in the tank or plumbing help to reduce corrosion problems. 

 “HUG Hydronics is a great fit for any new house being built in northern climates, not only in the United States, but also in Canada, and probably Northern Europe, as well,” Ryan concluded.

HUG Hydronics is available to purchase online at



Farmers Hot Line is part of the Catalyst Communications Network publication family.