A homeowner installs radiant floor cooling in his home

While most people know the benefits of radiant floor heating, few know that radiant floor cooling is an option for those who choose hydronic heating options.

Radiant floor cooling is dust-free, efficient, and relatively silent. It also reduces energy usage significantly, providing long-term financial benefits to property owners.

Radiant cooling systems can save a lot of energy. However, it largely depends on how well the building’s hydronic and ventilation systems, cooling plant, and control strategies work with a design that uses radiant heat exchange with high thermal mass, like the building’s structural or topping concrete slabs.

It takes immaculate planning to design and prepare a highly effective radiant floor cooling system. Fortunately, several companies are venturing into radiant cooling, providing residential and commercial building solutions.

We will look at some of the best radiant floor cooling products and companies currently leading the market, but first, let’s take a minute to understand what radiant floor cooling is and how it may impact you.   

What is Radiant Floor Cooling?

Radiant cooling refers to cooling a room’s floor or ceiling by absorbing the heat emitted from the rest of the space. Radiant floor cooling is a common term used to describe the process of cooling the floor using hydronic air-to-water heat pumps.

On the other hand, cooling the ceiling is often accomplished using radiant panels in residential settings.

One of the main concerns with radiant floor cooling is that condensation can form on the panels of the systems in homes in more humid areas when the panels’ temperature is lower than the dew point of the air in the room. 

This can be an issue even if radiant cooling may be adequate for arid locations. It is one of the reasons why radiant floor cooling is not yet widely employed in the US.

Consequently, there is a lack of information regarding how the performance of these systems is affected by functional on-site conditions such as ceiling fans, flooring, ventilation, sunlight, and control schemes.

Looking down at a crosssection of and exposed radiant floor at left and a section of the wood flooring covering it to the right

The good news is that several prominent radiant floor cooling products and companies have emerged on the market in recent years. As a result, researchers are also becoming increasingly interested in these eco-friendly systems. 

For example, researchers at FLEXLAB were able to test the real-world factors that affect how well radiant cooling systems work. This experimentation helped develop strategies that save the most energy while lowering costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

It provides hope for a better, economical, and more eco-friendly solution to heating and cooling solutions for residential and commercial areas.

The Top Radiant Floor Cooling Companies

Here are some of the leading radiant floor cooling companies to consider if you want to install a radiant cooling solution.

Arctic Heat Pumps  

Arctic Heat Pumps provides hydronic heaters for cooling and heating that can easily replace gas or electric boilers and are compatible with any radiant floor heating system.

With the help of a buffer tank, the system maintains the minimal design temperature for the heat pump’s operation. It then provides warm air to every room in the house by extracting power from the buffer tank.

You can also use radiant floor cooling to cool a hydronic radiant floor system. Many homeowners believe cooling a slab will generate condensation and a damp floor. However, this holds true only in the absence of an appropriate controller. 

Arctic Heat Pumps solution eliminates the possibility of moisture on the flooring as a result of cooling with a dew point switch incorporated into the design, such as the RESOL TS510, which interfaces with our MX controller.

Courtesy of Arctic Heat Pumps

A variation of just ten degrees in floor temperature may have a significant effect on the cooling capacity of a building. For example, the typical commercial building can easily maintain a temperature range of 68-76°F with the help of chilled water operating at 66-68°F. 

Condensation on the lines entering the slab can be detected by a dew point sensor, alerting the controller to take preventative action against the possibility of floor condensation by adjusting the input temperature entering the slab.

Condensation is avoided by keeping an eye on the system’s dew set point. The Arctic Heat Pump cools buffer tank water, and the control system draws heat from the subfloor. 

This way, the heated air is sucked into the structure and dissipated by the chilled floors, which work like a giant sponge because heat energy always travels from hot to cold.

One of the best things about Arctic Heat Pumps is that the team helps you design a system at your own discretion. You can count on them to provide everything you need for your radiant floor project, from the proper calculations to the provision of the PEX and manifolds, controllers, and pumps. 

The uniform cooling and heating distribution throughout the house is another perk. Cooling with a radiant floor eliminates hot and cold spots, wind noise, and draughts.

Plus, installations in the space between the joists or directly on the flooring are possible with aluminum plates. You can give it to your builder or use the detailed CAD drawing to do it yourself. 

Arctic Heat Pumps uses high-quality brands and offer competitive rates. You can learn more about Arctic Heat Pumps, here.   

REHAU

REHAU is the go-to systems and service provider for polymer-based solutions in the building and automotive industries, among others, thanks to its depth of knowledge and willingness to innovate. 

Its success is attributed to the ability to combine formidable in-house development resources with decentralized sales and service competence.

REHAU understands that uneven temperatures throughout a room are a common problem with conventional forced-air cooling systems. Unfortunately, they also spread airborne contaminants, contributing to poor air quality. 

The company offers radiant cooling and eliminates hot areas and draughts by distributing cool water through pipes built into your building’s structure.

A diagram of a REHAU Radiant System Paired With Geothermal
Courtesy of REHAU

As with radiant heating, its radiant cooling systems are most effective when integrated with other energy-saving measures in tightly constructed buildings. Radiant cooling can either cover the base loads in conventional cooling applications or manage the total cooling load.  

When it comes to efficient cooling, nothing beats the cutting-edge innovations in radiant cooling.

In principle, like radiant heating, REHAU’s systems re-circulate chilled water using RAUTHERM S pipe, which can be put in the ground, the walls, or the roof. They may also include air conditioning and dehumidification devices, and the temperature is set room-by-room.

Closeup promo photo on the end of a RAUTHERM S pipe
Courtesy of Reece

Rehau makes it possible to have a simple design and installation process for a radiant cooling system by combining it with a radiant heating system. Condensation is avoided by paying close attention to humidity and water temperature regulation.

The structure is hermetically sealed to get the most out of radiant cooling. Therefore, additional ventilation is usually necessary to supply fresh air or to handle the maximum cooling demands. 

With radiant cooling, homeowners can reduce energy consumption by using a regulated ventilation system like the REHAU ECOAIRTM ground-air heat exchanger to preheat fresh air with geothermal energy. 

Learn more about REHAU radiant floor cooling solutions, here.

EcoWarm Radiant Board

For over 20 years, EcoWarm has produced nonstructural radiant board systems under US patents and sold millions of square feet of radiant panels under various brand names.

High performance and sustainability come together in the Ecowarm RadiantBoard, a premium radiant floor heating board. It is the best value among available radiant board systems since it strikes the perfect balance between performance, quality sustainable materials, and price.

Until recently, homeowners using radiant heating had to choose between installing an inefficient and expensive ducted forced air cooling system, using whole-house fans or swamp coolers, or going without cooling. 

Thanks to innovative floor cooling companies, geothermal or air-to-water hydronic heat pumps that produce chilled water that homeowners may utilize for cooling are now available. These supplies might be dispersed in many ways.

Courtesy of EcoWarm

However, keep in mind that while radiant ceiling cooling sounds like a terrific comfort solution, in theory, the reality is that it requires complex and expensive ventilation and humidity control systems to prevent condensation in a domestic setting. 

EcoWarm believes that hydronic cooling is most effective in commercial settings, where mechanical ventilation and dehumidification systems are already installed.

Hydronic heat pump schematic non-ducted fan convectors are now available, and they are both very efficient and remarkably silent. To avoid the need for ductwork, you can utilize them for both spot cooling and whole-house solutions, which are linked via PEX tubing to the mechanical room. 

You can learn more about EcoWarm, here.

The Bottom Line

A radiant system embedded in the building structure can provide even, comfortable cooling in the same way that the walls of your basement stay slightly chilled due to ground temperatures, absorbing heat from the rooms above.

The most straightforward approach to improving indoor comfort is to install a hydronic air-to-water heat pump. Don’t discount the benefits and money you may save by installing a radiant floor cooling solution to heat and cool your home’s domestic water.

Due to water’s superior heat transfer capabilities, radiant cooling has a lower running cost than a conventional forced-air system. As a result, a radiant cooling system can reduce the need for expensive ducting and parts of a forced-air cooling system.

Moreover, radiant cooling uses lower water temperatures than conventional systems, so you can increase your thermostat setting without sacrificing comfort. In the long run, this might significantly reduce energy needs and pollution. 

Integrating a water-to-water geothermal heat pump can further improve the efficiency of a radiant floor cooling system.

It also facilitates warmth and coziness. 

When the body’s temperature is optimal, at least half of the heat is released normally. The optimal surface temperature of the occupants’ surroundings is achieved using radiant cooling, making for a pleasant setting with minimal draughts and ventilation noise.

During the summer, we need to have the air conditioning on to eliminate the extra moisture in the air. A central AC system can dehumidify a space, but only while it’s running.

Consequently, in humid locations, where the air conditioner must run continually to remove moisture, the indoor temperature often drops below the AHRI’s recommended minimum for human comfort, leading to “summer cold symptoms” and other health problems.

A radiant floor cooling system cannot fix humidity problems, but you may readily remedy them by installing a big or whole-house dehumidifier.

Considering all these benefits, it is high time we mull over alternatives like radiant floor cooling products to reduce our carbon footprint and ensure easy and economical cooling.

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