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radiant heat/cooling in the south

jason_stratton | Posted in General Questions on

If a person is planning to build a ICF house in Oklahoma and thinking about making the main floor out of ICF decking, what is the benefit of putting radiant lines into the floor?   It is easy enough to do, the system is practically designed for it, but my climate is mixed humid and about a delta T of 30 degrees for both cooling and heating.  Even with a ground source HP, radiant cooling has humidity issues.  My question is: am I better to just pour the slab, forget the radiant lines, and focus on air-air HP solutions.

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  1. Jon_R | | #1

    Advantages of a hydronic systems are energy efficiency (HP COP can be higher) and the ability to zone for low room loads (a comfort advantage). Disadvantages are cost and complexity.

    For radiant cooling, you will spend more on dehumidification than if conventional AC was removing some of the moisture.

    How it all balances out is unclear.

  2. Expert Member
    NICK KEENAN | | #2

    I think you're asking two different questions -- radiant vs forced air, and ground source vs air source.

    While I love the elegance of ground source, it is expensive and complex, and technological advances in air source heat pumps have closed the efficiency gap. Those advances don't seem to have made it to ground source yet.

    For radiant vs forced air, radiant can only provide sensible cooling. Unless your sensible heat ratio is 100% you need some latent cooling (humidity removal). The only way I know of to do that is to run air over a cold surface. So you're going to have some air handling anyway.

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