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Stand-alone infloor cooling system?

unclejemima | Posted in Mechanicals on

I live in northern Canada. It does not get hot very often, but when it does we can get 90-100F for a few weeks or even a month.

I’ve got full radiant heat system with 8″ OC spacing for heat pipes, many zones and a very snazzy pump setup. I’ve also got 4 HRV’s keeping the air moving.

The infloor heat works great, and I find it very efficient.

For the few months of the year where its hot out, the house can get hot. Depending on the room, it can become un-usable. This of course has to do with all the windows and the solar gain. Hey, I like a bright house 🙂

I can keep the HRV’s running all day long, and or turn them off in the day and only on at night but it does not seem to help, as a HRV is not really designed to do that.

A few options I have is to run multiple coil’s of waterline deep in the ground. This is not bad idea and basically free minus the pump, but looks like this will be expensive to install and difficult to get the waterlines into the mech. room as we never planned for this.

Does anyone know of an electric or gas fired cooling system that I can rig into my infloor system that would not require any plumbing going outside? I can rig exhaust and intake…just the physical plumbing waterlines outside will be difficult.

Thanks for the advice!

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  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    The equipment you need is called an air conditioner. Your two best bets are either one or more ductless minisplit units, or a few window-mounted air conditioners.

    If it's hot outdoors, bringing in outdoor air with your HRV will only make your home hotter.

    What you need to do is to shut your windows, minimize the use of your HRVs, and operate an air conditioner.

    If your house has 4 HRVs, it must be a very large house. In most cases, a single HRV can easily serve even a large home.

    If you're not sure whether your home needs an air conditioner, you might want to read the predictions of climatologists. The next 50 years are going to be very, very hot.

  2. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #2

    Hydronic cooling systems exist, but I don't recommend them. In-floor hydronic cooling systems will cause condensation on the floor unless you install a whole-house dehumidifier. In other words, these systems are complicated.

  3. user-2890856 | | #3

    Condensation on the floor or radiant surfaces can only happen if the water temp is below dewpoint ! Varying the SWT to the radiant loops based on dewpoint will prevent condensation on the surfaces .

    The statement that In-Floor hydronic cooling "will" cause condensation on the floor is false . Can would have been a better , more accurate word choice Martin .

    Mark ,

    Visiting Robert Bean's site and researching radiant heating / cooling systems will afford you more experienced suggestions than you'll receive in other places . Fact is that you can use your embedded tubing but will have to take other precautions , that may in your case not require too much complication . Research there for the information you are looking for .

  4. unclejemima | | #4

    Thanks guys. House is not small, but not hugee. Imagine 4 small houses connected to make 1 house. Total is about 2000sq/ft but there is no basement. Due to the design, using multiple duct runs were not physically possible due to the segregation of the 4 area's of the house. There is 2 panels, etc. So 1 HRV for the bedroom/living portion, 1 HRV for the kitchen, 1 HRV for bonus room and 1 for the garage. They are all very small HRV's.

    In respect to A/C, my wife is very sensitive to the air conditioning where we're almost not able to turn it on in the car. So because of this, we didnt use A/C. Not sure what it is about the A/C that does this?...but it does.

    So I was thinking the infloor cooling would be a good alternative.

    From what I've been told you make sure that the floor temp can not go below dew point, what will depend on the humidity. This year its been fairly humid here so guys have been setting the min temp at 10C as anything below seems to cause condensation.

    Regardless I'll check out site as suggested and do some research.

  5. Expert Member


  6. calvnrulz | | #6

    Hi Mark-
    I have air conditioning sensitive people in my house as well. I opted for a whole house dehumidifier. The lower humidity makes the higher temps more pleasant. But on the hottest days you will still want an air conditioner. Mini-splits or high pressure systems are nice if you have no place for ducts.

  7. Jon_R | | #7

    You could run an air to water heat pump (like a Chiltrix) and have it alternate between radiant floor cooling and a fan coil to control humidity. Chiltrix says they will soon have a "Dynamic Humidity Control option", so perhaps that will provide the necessary controls.

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