Development and Demonstration of a Performance Test Protocol For Radiant Floor Heating Systems

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Virginia Tech

The Radiant Heating markets - especially, the hydronic segment - are growing rapidly in North America due to homeowners' increasing demand for comfort and the steady rise in residential construction. Radiant systems are promising technologies for energy saving in commercial and residential building sectors together with improving occupant thermal comfort. Such a technology is different from the more standard all-air systems and thus can be termed Space Conditioning. However, the thermal performance of radiant systems in buildings has not been fully understood and accounted for. This is primarily due to lack of any standard testing mechanism. The central thrust of this paper is to experimentally investigate questions relating to thermal performance of radiant systems, thus also contribute towards evolving a new standard for testing mechanisms. Products from 12 different radiant floor systems were chosen from the market. Having defined each with similar control parameters such as flow rate, supply water temperature and similar design parameters like size, insulation etc., they are separately tested in a well insulated test setup. Experiments on the time variations for each test floor were performed at supply water temperatures ranging between 100F – 140F with a 10F increment at each stage. Having gathered data through the Data Acquisition System (DAS), the data is analyzed and compared between all systems. The paper concludes by providing recommendations for experimentally testing thermal energy performance, thermal uniformity and thermal stability of radiant floor heating technology.

radiant heating, radiant panel, radiant floor