Online educational resource on achieving indoor environmental quality with radiant based HVAC systems
Not for profit educational resource on indoor environmental quality.
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We started in this construction business back in the late 70's and one thing that continues to run rampant in the world of heating is the treatment of radiant systems as popular science experiments. This happens despite decades of research and the existence of design and installation standards.

Presented here are the six most common mistakes we've come across in our years of helping people figure out why their homemade system isn't working...all of them relate to the interface between HVAC systems and the building enclosure. Ignore them at your own risk.

Avoid the landmines

Read the full article.
Published in HPAC Canada


Some people may wonder why are there ducts in a radiant system. Well the radiant takes care of the comfort quality. You still need to take care of the air quality ergo the ducts. Our first choice is a dedicated outdoor air systems. Since these systems only have to deal with ventilation air they are small, effective and efficient.



Click to enlarge

This is a simplified schematic for an energy efficient radiant based HVAC system using radiant floor heating and an HRV. In a high performance home under 3000 sf this system would fit into a space equivalent to a three piece bathroom. Example below.

radiant heating with HRV

 

How to avoid stepping on radiant heating and cooling landmines - Six common mistakes and how to avoid them.
Copyright (C) 2009, Robert Bean, R.E.T., P.L. (Eng.)

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Part 1 - Radiant Cooling and Heating Tube Layouts and Installation Details

This topic is part of our Professional Development curriculum. Several on-line webinars and multiday programs are offered through the year - many are at no cost or available with government subsidies.  Be sure to also check out our new Donate to Educate program.

Do not use bubble foil insulations under slabs

Landmine #1 - happens when radiant cooled and heated floors are placed on inadequate insulation such as bubble foil types leading to excessive energy consumption.

Solution: insulate using min 2" EPS or XPS insulation suitable for the loads and soil moisture.


Insulate between floors and return air ducts

Landmine #2 - happens when radiant cooled and heated floors are not thermally decoupled from return air plenums. This results in parasitic heat transfer between the floor and duct leading to loss of control over the air system.

Solution: insulate between radiant systems and return air plenums.


insulate bewttn floors, heating pipes and supply air duct

Landmine #3 - happens when radiant cooled and heated floors and distribution piping is not thermally decoupled from supply air ducts. This results in parasitic heat transfer between the floor, pipes and ducts leading to loss of control over the air system.

Solution: insulate between radiant systems, piping and supply air ducts.


Insulate between floors and plumbing pipes

Landmine #4 - happens when radiant cooled and heated floors are not thermally decoupled from domestic plumbing lines. This results in parasitic heat transfer between the floor and pipes leading to loss  of control of plumbing water temperatures.

Solution: insulate between radiant systems and domestic plumbing lines.


Seal and insulate header and trimmer joists

Landmine #5 - happens when radiant cooled and heated floors are not thermally decoupled from the exterior elements. This results in parasitic heat transfer between the floor and outside leading to energy inefficiencies and discomfort.

Solution: seal and insulate between radiant systems and exterior enclosures.


Seal and insulate cantelevered sections

Landmine #6 - happens when radiant cooled and heated floors are not thermally decoupled from the exterior elements through cantilevered sections. This results in parasitic heat transfer between the floor and outside leading to energy inefficiencies and discomfort.

Solution: seal and insulate between radiant systems and exterior enclosures.

 

 

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