Radiant cooling uses cooled surfaces to remove heat by radiation and convection. Radiant systems that use water to cool the surfaces are called hydronic systems. Unlike air conditioning systems that circulate cooled air, hydronic cooling systems circulate cooled water in pipes incorporated into floors, ceilings, or walls. Using water to cool your home has some significant advantages over using air conditioning systems.
Cooling System Types
There are two types of hydronic cooling systems, slab cooling and panel cooling.
Chilled hydronic slabs
Hydronic cooling through a slab is normally delivered through the floor although can also be delivered through the ceiling. For floor slab cooling it makes sense to incorporate any hydronic slab underfloor heating and to then cool the water to provide a cooling system.
There are however benefits to installing hydronic slab cooling in the ceiling. As warm air rises more air will then come into contact with the chilled ceiling helping to cool the whole room. Also, it is easier to leave hydronic pipes in ceilings exposed which increases the effectiveness of the cooling.
Ceiling and wall hydronic panels
Hydronic cooling panels are generally attached to ceilings, but can be attached to walls also. They are usually suspended from the ceiling, and are great for retrofitting as they don’t require the ceiling to be replaced. While panels don’t make advantage of the thermal storage within slab cooling systems, the can adjust more quickly to changes in the temperature outside. Panels tend to cost more to install then slabs for a new builds or major renovation, but panels are cheaper to install within small renovation projects.
In order to cool down the water in your pipes sufficiently to cool your room a chiller is required. For standard sized homes a small capacity chiller would be sufficient and these are usually smaller than conventional cooling solutions.
AJ’s Plumbing work with a German designed SorTech Chiller, which converts hot water into cool. The cooling process does not rely on electricity but operates mechanically, thus providing sustainable and cost effective energy.
This chiller system allows you to combine your hydronic heating system with your cooling system, as the hot water from the heating system is simply cooled by the chiller and then used to cool your house.
Benefits of hydronic cooling systems
- Offer lower energy consumption than conventional cooling systems.
- Much of the energy savings is also attributed to the lower amount of energy required to pump water as opposed to distribute air with fans.
- Often cost less to install.
- Can be combined with a hydronic heating system to reduce costs further.
- Low maintenance costs and easy to upgrade.
- No noise.
- No circulation of dust, allergens or odour.
If you are considering options for cooling you house, whether new build or retrofitted, why not contact AJ’s plumbing to have a discussion about how a hydronic cooling system may work for you.
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