Not many people associate an Underfloor Cooling System with underfloor heating. However, installing underfloor cooling is possible using the same network of underfloor pipes that are used for an underfloor heating system. There are several advantages with this type of cooling, most of all, it offers fantastic comfort with minimal investment and maintenance costs.
An underfloor heating and cooling system results in the ability to simultaneously heat, and also cool, various zones within a property while using the same system. Imagine a time you were in a room when the temperature was ‘just right’. Do you remember how comfortable you felt and how much more productive you were? That’s the effect thermal comfort can have.
How does it work?
To help understand how an underfloor cooling system works, imagine the three mechanisms of heat output in the human body:
The human body experiences the greatest level of well-being when at least 50% of the heat output is regulated through radiation. An underfloor cooling system uses radiation to provide excellent thermal comfort.
Radiation causes energy to exchange between people and the cooling surface in question. This occurs across large areas. A ground source heat pump, an air source heat pump, or a chiller passes chilled water through the underground pipe network. Because the floor becomes cooler than the air, it absorbs radiant energy from the atmosphere resulting in the reduction in air temperature.
What are the benefits of an Underfloor Cooling System?
An underfloor cooling system adds that extra layer of luxury to your residential or commercial property, but that’s not all. An underfloor cooling system has many benefits, including:
- A high level of comfort – a cooling system ensures you can easily control and maintain the temperature in your property to a level that’s the most comfortable for you.
- No draughts – an underfloor system reduces the temperature of the room with radiation which results in better air quality, less pollution and no draughts that are associated with traditional air conditioning.
- Low investment costs – the cost of installing a cooling system is very affordable, especially when coupled with the pipe network from your underfloor heating.
- Low annual cost – the energy consumption is lower than a traditional air conditioning system, consequently making it a more attractive solution.
- Preserves resources – because most underfloor cooling systems work with a ground or air source pump, they are much more environmentally friendly. Find out more here.
- Unrestricted interior design – since all pipework is under the floor, there are no unsightly air conditioning units taking up space in your property. As a result, you can be more creative with your interior design.
Influencing factors on the cooling capacity
The sub-surface cooling system’s maximum achievable output is dependent upon several factors. Therefore, our experienced consultants take the following variables into consideration when designing your underfloor cooling system:
- floor area (larger areas perform better)
- floor covering
- pipe spacing
- pipe dimensions
- floor construction
- heat gains
Each of the above factors affect the cooling capacity to a different degree. Floor covering and pipe spacing both have a substantial impact on the output of the cooling system.
In order to maximise the cooling output, it’s recommended that only stone, tile, slate or other low resistivity floor coverings are used. This will ensure the system is as efficient as possible.
What is the Cooling capacity?
The standard cooling capacity of the EcoHeatCool underfloor cooling system is 40W/m² in accordance with DIN 4715-1. This calculation is based on the following specifications:
- EHC “Within Screed” system
- Distance between pipes – 10cm
- PE PeX-b Tube
- Coolant temperature – 14ºC
- Temperature spread – 7ºC
Under practical conditions, maximum values of 30-35 W/m² can be obtained with:
- a surface temperature of 19ºC
- a room temperature of 26ºC
Why not use classic air conditioning systems?
Traditional air conditioning systems overcome the cooling loads that occur by changing the air. There are several negative effects of this system that includes:
- Draughts – air conditioning units push air around the room, hence causing draughts.
- High room air speeds – this can cause turbulence which results in the room air becoming mixed with the supply air, therefore supplying poorer air quality.
- Cold supply air temperatures – this causes wasted energy as a result of the unit needing to work harder to regulate the air temperature.
- High sound levels – as a result of pushing air around the room, many air conditioning units are noisy when in operation.
- Discomfort – due to uncomfortable air conditions for the user, this is often referred to as “sick building syndrome”.
- High Costs – having an air conditioning system installed is also costly and can incur high running costs.