There are a wide range of benefits for hydronic systems, but one of the most commonly unknown or overlooked benefits is that these systems can also provide cooling. Just as water is effective at conducting heat, it can also effectively convey cooling. Water can absorb more than 3000 times the amount of heat energy than the same volume of air.
A hydronic cooling system’s water temperature only needs to be a few degrees below the desired room temperature, making it very efficient to run and far preferable than conventional systems that use a lot of energy and produce uneven temperatures.
In this article, we explore the following:
Hydronic Climate Control 101
In a nutshell, hydronic heating works by water being warmed (via a condensing boiler or heat pump) and pushed through a sealed pipe network to different types of hydronic heating systems, such as:
The warmed water heats the product, which then produces what is known as ‘radiant heat’, which warms objects within the room that then radiate a comfortable warmth throughout the space.
How Does Hydronic Cooling Work?
Not surprisingly, instead of warmed water pumping through the pipes, it is cold water that runs through the hydronic system when in cooling mode. The heat is removed from the space, with the cold water being used as the mode for heat exchange. As with hydronic heating, you can have zone control with hydronic cooling systems, so you are only cooling the spaces you want to, which in turn makes it more energy efficient and helps to save on running costs.
Products like the Nest Learning Thermostat are a fantastic addition to your home climate control – it works with heating and cooling systems including heat pump, radiant and solar and builds a home schedule based on its observations of your temperature alterations. After a few days the Nest will simply adjust the settings for you. Easy.
What Powers Hydronic Cooling?
Extracting warm air from inside the home and cooling it to the desired temperature, heat pumps are the technology needed to get your hydronic cooling working. In the reverse, they generate heat. While they are on the pricier side for initial purchase and installation compared to a condensing hot water boiler (we’re talking 2-3 times more) they are undoubtedly the most energy efficient option available, especially if teamed up with solar panels to further reduce costs.
Types of Hydronic Cooling Systems
By installing a hydronic climate control system in your home, you are going to benefit from consistent, energy efficient heating and cooling all year round.
Products can be installed on walls, ceilings, within a wall or bulkhead, depending on your residential design.
Two of the more popular options include:
Hydronic Fan Coil Unit
The most economical and effective hydronic cooling solution would be Fan Coil Units.
These types of system delivery chilled air via hidden heat exchangers for individual rooms or as a whole home solution.
Hydronic Fan Coil Units deliver similar air condition as reverse cycle without harmful refrigerants in your home.
This type of installation can be terminated in sleek and attractive registers in floors, walls, ceiling, and bulk heads making one of the most versatile installation methods as well.
Hydronic Underfloor Cooling
If you install an underfloor system in your home, it is possible for it to provide heating and cooling. Cold water is circulated through the in-floor piping system, which absorbs the heat from the space and thereby reduces the overall temperature and cools the slab. With this system, there are no vents or wall panels, which results in a silent and very even temperature distribution, along with an absence of drafts. We do need to monitor dew point and often see the system paired with ceiling fans.
Is a Hydronic Cooling System What You’ve Been Looking For?
Hydronic systems are flexible and not only offer heating for residential homes, but also cooling. If you already have a hydronic heating system set up in your home, introducing the cooling aspect will ensure you have your climate control all wrapped up in the one system. This will ultimately reduce your maintenance costs and provide you with a highly energy efficient solution that will likely last you longer than any other approach available.
At Hunt Heating, we have provided consulting and installation services for hydronic heating and cooling since 1982. Our experienced team are available to guide you from product selection through to installation. Contact us today to discuss your home climate control needs.