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radiant floor cooling

John Ruhnke
John Ruhnke Member Posts: 880
Mustang,

I have installed a geothermal radiant cooling system into my house. It is a real simple system. It works. Some things I am happy with some not. By then I will get it working the way I want it. It cools the floors of my addition. The addition still isn't done yet so we haven't moved up there yet. I ran it 3 or 4 times at about 6 to 12 hours each time for testing purposes. Check back with me a couple of years from now by then I will have worked out all of the bugs.



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Hydronics Designer
Hydronics is the most comfortable and energy efficient HVAC system.

Comments

  • mustang
    mustang Member Posts: 2
    radiant floor cooling

    I have installed a new radiant floor heating system in a very large house and wanting to know how i can also do radiant floor cooling?
  • Home Depot Employee
    Home Depot Employee Member Posts: 329


    Not a chance, it would sweat and become as slippery as the bottom of a enameled steel tub. Not to mention the mold issues.
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,514
    Dew point

    You still need to remove humidity. The floor will sweat only if your floor temp is able to reach the dew point in the envelope of your dwelling.

    Gordy
  • Mike T., Swampeast MO
    Mike T., Swampeast MO Member Posts: 6,928


    Where and what sort of shell? Cooled floors are ideal, but climate and load can make it rather impractical from a cost perspective.
  • Josh_10
    Josh_10 Member Posts: 787


    BF... Radiant floor cooling is an industry with it's own set of rules. There are many professionals out there doing it. If you don't know the answers please don't answer the question with assumtions. We have been doing it for quite a while now. A good contractor will take care of any condensation issues. That is like saying you shouldn't install radiant floor heating because the pipes might leak.

    Mustang... Generally speaking you can only do about 20% of your total cooling load with Radiant floor cooling. However if you have hard surfaces with massive solar gain it can account for alot more. That is very general. You should have a professional come take a look.

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  • Brad White_89
    Brad White_89 Member Posts: 4
    Agreed

    Radiant cooling has to be considered strictly a "sensible-only" cooling means. Nothing wrong with it so long as humidity is controlled by other means (not ignored mind you!) and that the surfaces whether walls or floor are maintained above dewpoint as GKaske said.

    Whether you are using a water source heat pump or chiller, you will need to use a mixing valve to "mix-up" the temperature (blend and recirculate return water with fresh supply) to maintain this balance while maintaining stable operating equipment ranges. Often chilled water in the range of 62 to 65 degrees is used. Maybe higher when controlled to dewpoint. You can see why, as Josh (TY) said below, these only do a fraction of your total needs. Sometimes that is enough.

    If you arbitrarily state that you will have a fixed condtion of humidity and set your water supply temperature to your panel above that as a setpoint, things may work well for a short time. But if you are not removing the humidity yet are cooling the room, the wet bulb and dry bulb temperatures will intersect -at saturation as they always do! Cooling without dehumidifying always raises the RH.

    The use of some sophisticated controls is required to reset the panel supply temperature especially as space RH changes. This may work against your cooling objectives but by tracking the dewpoint you are avoiding far worse things.

    Brad

    BTW: "Chilled Beams" such as Trox are one example of the technology.
  • Brad White_89
    Brad White_89 Member Posts: 4
    Well said, Josh

    " Radiant floor cooling is an industry with it's own set of rules.".... "If you don't know the answers please don't answer the question with assumptions."

    I like that.... a lot.
  • geithermal radiant floor cooling

    works awesome! The level of comfort is comparable to radiant heating. Imagine walking on cool 68 degree floors. I'm cooling for the 6th summer and I have no mold. I simply run the 56 degree well water first through a fan coil unit, with a drip pan underneath, this removes humidity and provides the bulk of the cooling, then the cool water flows through my radiant panels, cooling my house to the core. If you sould like to see a diagram go to my website at www.BobGagnon.com I love this time of year when I have solar heated water coming in one side of my house, to be stored for showers and domestic use, and at the same time I have cool well water entering the other side of my house to provide unbelievable radiant cooling comfort. Bob Gagnon

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  • Tony_23
    Tony_23 Member Posts: 1,033
    Josh

    Good shot :)

    Advice from ignorant, closed-minded posters isn't advice at all.

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  • GMcD
    GMcD Member Posts: 477
    Sure you can do it

    Just make sure you do your sums properly. Radiant floor cooling is limited to a surface temperature of around 65F, because your feet, by direct conduction, don't like being too cold or you'll get muscle cramps. So, that means the limitation for radiant floor cooling "output" is around 10-12 btuh/sq.ft. Now take into account floor coverings, furniture masking, etc. and it doesn't provide a lot of real cooling output (sensible only). Hopefully your ventilation system has some capacity to do the remainder of the house sensible and latent cooling loads, as well as to do any de-humidification to keep your indoor dewpoint a couple degrees lower than your cooling fluid temperature.

    What will be your cooling source to cool off the water?
  • John Ruhnke
    John Ruhnke Member Posts: 880
    Radiant Cooling............

    Mustang,

    I have installed a geothermal radiant cooling system into my house. It is a real simple system. It works. Some things I am happy with some not. By then I will get it working the way I want it. It cools the floors of my addition. The addition still isn't done yet so we haven't moved up there yet. I ran it 3 or 4 times at about 6 to 12 hours each time for testing purposes. Check back with me a couple of years from now by then i will have worked out all of the bugs.



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    I am the walking Deadman
    Hydronics Designer
    Hydronics is the most comfortable and energy efficient HVAC system.
  • John Ruhnke
    John Ruhnke Member Posts: 880
    I am the walking Deadman
    Hydronics Designer
    Hydronics is the most comfortable and energy efficient HVAC system.
  • John Ruhnke
    John Ruhnke Member Posts: 880
    I am the walking Deadman
    Hydronics Designer
    Hydronics is the most comfortable and energy efficient HVAC system.
  • John Ruhnke
    John Ruhnke Member Posts: 880
    I am the walking Deadman
    Hydronics Designer
    Hydronics is the most comfortable and energy efficient HVAC system.
  • Josh_10
    Josh_10 Member Posts: 787


    Bob I checked out your website! Glad to see someone else who integrates heat pumps with Radiant heat! Nice to see another "Electihydromechanical Technician". Can I get your email adress?

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  • Josh (the youngster)

    There are more and more people working on this all the time. Together we can iorn out all the kinks and maybe convince people that their houses won't fill up with mold. The great thing about geothermal cooling is that the ground temperature stays relativly constant. It's like working on solar with the sun shining all the time. Do you have any pictures of your installs, or could you explain some of your cooling jobs in more detail. Keep up the good work, Bob Gagnon. E-mail me at [email protected]

    P.S. I'm not an electihydromechanical technician, I'm a Plumber.

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  • John Ruhnke
    John Ruhnke Member Posts: 880
    My Geothermal Radiant Cooling System............

    Mustang,

    I have installed a geothermal radiant cooling system into my house. It is a real simple system. It works. Some things I am happy with some not. It cools the floors of my addition over 1000 square feet. The addition still isn't done yet so we haven't moved up there yet. I ran it 3 or 4 times at about 6 to 12 hours each time for testing purposes. Check back with me a couple of years from now by then I will have worked out all of the bugs.

    Here is what happened. The project started with well pump problems. A few years back I noticed that my 40 year old jet pump was starting to have problems. I then looked for a replacement. I spent a few years thinking about this project. I was told by my well guy that submersable pumps were more efficient cutting energy costs in half. I also liked the fact that you could get much better pressure.

    It was a no brainer. Submersable pump it was to be. Well I looked at the two pipes and thought to myself. What am I going to do with the spare pipe? A friend suggested that I run the well pump wires though it. I thought no. A electrician friend of mine has a trencher and it would be easy to bury the pipe the needed foot. The well pipes were four feet under ground. A much more expensive thus valuable trench.

    What am I going to do with that spare water pipe?

    I thought about the radiant heating system I was installing into my home. I made a few phone calls an then designed a simple radiant cooling supplemtal system. This system works with the existing heat pump system in my attic. The radiant cooling system will handle an estimated 10% to 15% of the cooling load. I got this number from Bob Gagnon who has a simular system in his house. Bob gave me lots of great advice.

    We cut out the jet pump and pulled up the well piping. Then we attached a submersable pump at the bottom of the well. We then cut off the return pipe about ten feet below the top of the well cap. We borrowed a trencher and burried the wire about a foot. Inside we tied in a heat exchanger to the secondary loop of the second floor radiant heating system. The well water runs through the other side of the heat exchanger. A solanoid valve opens and discharges the well water through the heat exchanger and back to the well. On the system side of the heat exchanger, an injection pump moves water from the heat exhanger through a set of close spaced tees. A system pump moves the water around the secondary loop and through the radiant floors.

    This is a simple system with no compressor. The well pump is half horse. The well water entering the heat exchanger is about 56 degrees. We ran the system full out. The well presure dropped to 25 pounds pushing the limits of the well pump. After running it for 8 hours,we read the return and feed temps on the system loop that leads to the radiant floors. 63 degrees feed temps and 67 degrees return temps. I do not feel a need for humidity controls as the surface temps never went below 68 degrees. They seemed to average about 70 degrees. No condensation anywhere!!

    We then dropped the water flow on the well side in about half. This way the water pump pressure went up. We wanted to leave extra room too so that there was enough water pressure for the domestic load. The pump cycles on and off this way. I would rather save the life of the well pump by running it full out. The well water does cause condensation on the copper pipe when it runs through in the basement though. No condensation after the heat exchanger. The radiant tube runs through quickTrac. The tubes are exposed because the hardwood floors have not been installed yet. There is no condensation upstairs either.

    I have wires in the wall for future humidity control. Currently there is no humidity control. My thinking is that the output of the system is not high enough to cause the floors to condense. If this is the case then I won't need the humidity controls. This is my own house so that I can keep an eye on things.

    Electricity costs are very low. We are only running two taco pumps 007 and 008 plus a half horse well pump. No Compressor!! We have a traditional AC system run through ducts in the attic. I feel that the radiant cooling might handle 15% of the load and save 10% in electricity costs. For a little bit of work, the job was easy. I feel it is woth it because of the long term savings.

    Below in the bottum left corner of the picture you can see the cooling heat exchanger. Sorry for the mess of wires on the board. Work on other systems aren't complete yet.

    JR

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  • John you are so cool!

    Awesome Job! All the really cool people have geothermal radiant cooling. Thanks for being part of the solution, Bob Gagnon

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