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Can Radiant Be Used for Cooling?

October 15, 2019 Viega
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For many years, most of the conversation about radiant systems has revolved around heating. But there’s another side to the radiant coin — cooling — which is emerging as a viable technology in the U.S.

With more talk around radiant heating and cooling, questions have emerged about the relationship between the two. One example: Can radiant heating systems also be used for cooling?

The Answer Is Yes

If you have a radiant heating system in place, it can be utilized as a dual purpose system that improves system efficiencies while keeping occupants comfortable. It is relatively easy to pipe a system to switch over between either hot or chilled water.

In terms of design, one of the biggest differentiators between radiant heating and cooling systems is the tube spacing. Typically, radiant cooling systems are designed with a tighter tube spacing to properly handle cooling loads. So when a radiant system is first designed for heating and then cooling is added as an afterthought, supplemental air may be needed on the warmest days to make up this difference and ensure thermal comfort throughout the structure.

There's sometimes the thought that you could run really cold water through the system to make up the difference. While in theory this may seem like an efficient solution, it can lead to condensation in certain climates.

Design a Dual System from the Start

If a radiant cooling system is properly designed, you’ll have heating capabilities with the simple addition of a heat source. Proper tighter tube spacing allows you to run lower temperature hot water through the system for heating purposes since extra tubing pushes more water through the floor. A lower water temperature means that there are fewer demands on the boiler, leading to energy savings.

Let Viega Design the Right Solution for You

We recognize that some projects may call for just a radiant heating system, while others may want to pursue a dual system that properly handles radiant heating and cooling.

Whatever the case may be, our radiant design team is here to help guide the success of your project. The engineering behind radiant design can be intimidating, and we have a team of experts that knows how to choose the right materials, tube spacing and water temperatures (among other calculations) to align with the specific needs of your environment.

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