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Technical Support
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Heating + Cooling

Topics
Top Questions
Radiant Heating
 

What is radiant floor heating?
Uponor Radiant floor heating is a comfortable and efficient form of heating where warm water circulates through flexible, specially designed PEX tubing installed under the floor. The heat radiates evenly up through the floor warming people and objects in the room and providing more comfort for less money.

 

Do you need a supplemental ventilation system?
Yes, however the ducts can be smaller which saves structural height. Ventilation is necessary to address the latent load and bring in the required refresh air.

 

If a family has allergies, can a radiant floor heating system help?
Yes, our radiant heat system has no drafts, fans or blowers to circulate dust, dirt and other allergens throughout a home. Warm radiant floors can eliminate the need for carpeting which is a breeding ground for dust mites, a very common cause of allergic respiratory disease. The result is a clean, healthy environment — a must for people with allergies.

 

What makes radiant floor heating so comfortable?
Unlike traditional heating systems that just warm the air, radiant heating warms the floor and the objects in contact with the floor. The entire floor distributes a consistent, even and quiet heating. There are no drafts and radiant floor heating takes the chill out of cold tile, marble and wood floors.

 

How long has Uponor Radiant Floor Heating been around?
Uponor Radiant Floor Heating has existed for nearly four decades. We've been making the PEX tubing used in our radiant floor heating systems since 1970, longer than any other PEX tubing manufacturer.

 

Can the floor get too hot?
No. A properly designed radiant floor heating system will deliver comfortable warmth that’s a pleasure to walk on — especially in bare feet! If additional heat is needed to satisfy the heat load, additional warmth can easily be added by installing radiant walls and/or ceilings. Uponor offers technical design support as well as design software to ensure your system offers the greatest comfort and efficiency possible.

 

If I install radiant floor heating, can I still install air conditioning?
Sure you can. In fact, separate heating and cooling systems really make the most sense. Radiant floor heating keeps the heat near the floor where it does the most good; and air conditioning ductwork is placed only where it is needed to cool your home. The result is optimal comfort and efficiency all year.

 

Should I use Wirsbo hePEX™ or Uponor AquaPEX® for a radiant system?
It depends on the application. Typically you will want to use Wirsbo hePEX which features an oxygen barrier to protect ferrous components in a closed-loop hydronic radiant system.

 

If a customer already has a concrete floor in the basement, is it too late to install radiant?
No. Our Quik Trak® radiant panel system is perfect for remodeling or retrofit projects. Quik Trak is installed over a plywood subfloor. It's great for putting radiant comfort in a basement or anywhere in a home or building.

 

Is it possible to just heat certain areas of a home or building?
Absolutely. Uponor radiant floor heating systems are flexible, meaning you can heat the entire home or only those rooms you want to heat. The bathroom is a popular area of the home to heat.

 

If a customer is not ready to make the investment for radiant right now, can I rough in the system for the future?
Yes. We offer Radiant Ready™, in which the PEX tubing is installed in the slab during construction and you can complete the system later.

Radiant Cooling
 

What does the term radiant cooling refer to?
Radiant cooling refers to any system where surrounding surface temperatures are lowered as means of removing sensible heat gain and thus contributing to thermal comfort.

 

What exactly does a radiant cooling system consist of?
A hydronic radiant cooling system is an installation of embedded tubes or surface mounted panels that are designed to absorb and remove energy from a space, 50% to 80% of which is radiant energy. Just as in heating, a radiant cooling system uses the structure and surfaces of an area to transfer energy. In radiant heating systems, the energy moves away from the heated surface towards the cooler area. In radiant cooling systems, the energy moves towards the cooled surface from the warmer area.

 

Are there different types of radiant cooling?
Yes. Specifically there are low mass and high mass radiant cooling systems. Low mass radiant systems circulate cool water in specialized panels or beams and typically operate during the occupied time; high mass systems cool the building structure (slab, walls, ceilings) during unoccupied time and provide the additional advantage of off-peak cooling and further reduction in energy costs.

 

How does radiant cooling work with new highly efficient technologies on the market today?
Because radiant surfaces are often cooled only 2 to 4 degrees below the desired indoor air temperature, there are many opportunities for innovative cooling sources such as night fluid cooling, ground-coupled hydronic loops, and indirect evaporative cooling.

 

What type of buildings offer the best opportunity for radiant cooling applications?
• Museums
• Institutional and educational facilities
• Office buildings
• Atrium areas
• Manufacturing facilities
• Retail spaces
• Hospitals and Healthcare facilities
• Dormitories, barracks and prisons
• Churches
• Airports


 

Does the cooling system work for both commercial and residential applications?
Radiant cooling works best where wet bulb gain in the building can be controlled by the air handling system. Most often this is found in commercial building, however, in some climates where relative humidity is lower and in larger residences, where relative humidity can be controlled; radiant cooling is an additional strategy to lower cooling costs.

 

Should I use Wirsbo hePEX™ or Uponor AquaPEX® for a radiant system?
It depends on the application. Typically you will want to use Wirsbo hePEX which features an oxygen barrier to protect ferrous components in a closed-loop hydronic radiant system.

 

Are there sustainable design advantages to a radiant cooling system?
Yes, there are very considerable LEED® advantages with radiant cooling systems. Including, but not limited to, peak loads that are reduced as a result of thermal energy storage in the panel structure, exposed walls and partitions. Additionally, radiant cooling systems can use ground and bay water because they operate at a higher supply chilled water temperature.

 

What are some of the considerations must be taken into account when designing a radiant floor cooling system?
A floor cooling system must be controlled to avoid condensation. This may be done by a supply water temperature controlled by the dew point temperature. It is possible to cool with a floor system, but the system should be used in conjunction with a supplemental system.

 

What is the maximum cooling capacity for most spaces?
The maximum cooling capacity for most spaces is less than 17 Btu/ft²/h (50W/m²). In spaces with direct sunshine on the floor (atriums, entrance halls, show rooms) the cooling capacity will be significantly higher, around 14 Btu/ft²/h.

 

Are the calculations that are used for radiant floor heating the same as the calculations for radiant cooling?
The heat transfer between the floor surface and the tubes is influenced by floor construction in the exact same physical way by floor cooling as by floor heating. Therefore the calculation of the cooling capacity can be based on the same method How about, how does a radiant cooling system work? Just in general without going too in depth.

 

What are the factors that can affect the cooling capacity of a radiant floor cooling system?
The cooling capacity of a floor system depends on the heat exchange between the floor surface and the space (convective and radiant heat exchange coefficient), the heat conduction between the floor surface and the tubes (floor surface material, type of concrete, slab thickness, spacing between tubes) and the heat transport by water (water flow rate, temperature difference between supply and return). Dew point, floor coverings, AUST (average uncontrolled surface temperature) and average water temperature are also factors that can affect the cooling capacity.

 

Do you need a supplemental ventilation system?
Yes, however the ducts can be smaller which saves structural height. Ventilation is necessary to address the latent load and bring in the required refresh air.

 

What is the significance of radiant cooling systems to the commercial environment?
Radiant cooling has gained recent popularity in Europe and North America because it offers the potential to reduce cooling energy consumption and to reduce peak cooling loads when coupled with building thermal mass.

 

Can radiant cooling help with the latent, or wet bulb load, in my building?
No. A phase change is required to address this load. This is accomplished by the ventilation system of the building. The ventilation system will also control the balance of the sensible load throughout the occupied time of the day.

 

Do I need separate embedded tubes to heat and cool the building?
No, one system can both heat and cool, and in some climates in North America, the system may do both throughout the day as well as be designed to transport heat from one side of the building or the other.

Codes + Standards
 

What are the Uponor PEX standards?
Uponor PEX and associated fittings are manufactured to the following standards:
• ASTM F876 “Standard Specification for Cross-linked Polyethylene (PEX) Tubing”
• ASTM F877 “Standard Specification for Cross-linked Polyethylene (PEX) Plastic Hot and Cold Water Distribution Systems”
• ASTM F1960 “Standard Specifications for Cold Expansion Fittings with PEX Reinforcing Rings for use with Cross-linked Polyethylene (PEX) Tubing”
• ASTM F2080 “Standard Specifications for Cold Expansion Fittings with Metal Compression Sleeves for Cross-linked Polyethylene (PEX) Tubing”
• CSA B137.5 Thermoplastic Pressure Piping Compendium
Additional standards for Uponor AquaPEX tubing and associated fittings include:
• ANSI/NSF Standard 14 “Plastics Piping System Components and Related Materials”
• ANSI/NSF Standard 61 “Drinking Water System Components — Health Effects”
• UL 1821 “Standard for Safety for Thermoplastic Sprinkler Pipe and Fittings for Fire Protection Service” (½" Uponor AquaPEX® only)


 

What temperature and pressure ratings does Uponor PEX carry?
Uponor PEX carries the following hydrostatic temperature and pressure ratings:
• 200°F at 80 psi (93.3°C at 5.51 bar)
• 180°F at 100 psi (82.2°C at 6.89 bar)
• 120°F at 130 psi (49°C at 9 bar) (½", ¾“, and 1” Uponor AquaPEX® tubing only)
• 73.4°F at 160 psi (23°C at 11 bar)


 

What listings does Wirsbo hePEX tubing have?
• CSA
• ICC
• ITS
• PPI
• UL
• NSF-rfh


 

What code approvals does Wirsbo hePEX tubing have?
• IMC
• UMC
• IRC
• NBC of Canada


 

What fire-rated assemblies does Wirsbo hePEX tubing have?
In the United States
• Tested in accordance with ASTM E119/UL 263
• G573 – Two-hour Hambro floor/ceiling assembly
• K913 – Two-hour concrete floor/ceiling assembly
• L557 – One-hour wood frame floor/ceiling assembly
• U372 – One-hour wood frame wall assembly
• V444 – One-hour steel stud wall assembly
In Canada
• Tested in accordance with CAN/ULC S101
• G573 – Two-hour Hambro floor/ceiling assembly
• UW/WA 60-01 – One-hour steel stud wall assembly
• UW/WA 60-02 – One-hour wood frame wall assembly
• WC/FCA 60-01 – One-hour wood frame floor/ceiling assembly
• WC/FCA 120-01 – Two-hour concrete floor/ceiling assembly
• WC/FCA 120-02 – Two-hour concrete floor/ceiling assembly



 

What is the Warnock Hersey Plenum Rating for Wirsbo hePEX?
• 25 flame spread/50 smoke developed (plenum rated) to ASTM E84:
o ½" and ¾" with spacing of 18" between each run of tubing
o 1" through 2" when insulated with ½" fiberglass insulation
• CAN/ULC S102.2:
o ½" through 1" with spacing of 18" between each run of tubing
o 1¼" through 2" when insulated with ½" fiberglass insulation


 

What code approvals does Uponor AquaPEX tubing have?
Uponor AquaPEX® tubing is approved in the following codes:
• IPC
• UPC
• NSP
• IMC
• UMC
• NSPC
• NPC of Canada
• NBC of Canada


 

What listings does Uponor AquaPEX tubing have?
Uponor AquaPEX® tubing has the following listings:
• IAPMO
• NSF
• CSA
• ITS
• HUD
• ICC


 

What fire-rated assemblies does Uponor AquaPEX tubing have?
• G573 – Two-hour Hambro floor/ceiling assembly
• K913 – Two-hour concrete floor/ceiling assembly
• L557 – One-hour wood frame floor/ceiling assembly
• U372 – One-hour wood frame wall assembly
• V444 – One-hour steel stud wall assembly


 

What is the Warnock Hersey Plenum Rating for Uponor AquaPEX?
• 25 flame spread/50 smoke developed (plenum rated) to ASTM E84:
o ½" and ¾" with spacing of 18" between each run of tubing
o 1" through 2" when insulated with ½" fiberglass insulation
• CAN/ULC S102.2:
o ½" through 1" with spacing of 18" between each run of tubing
o 1¼" through 2" when insulated with ½" fiberglass insulation


General
 

What is PEX tubing?
PEX (crosslinked polyethylene) tubing is a specially designed plastic tubing with distinctive properties that make it ideal for radiant floor heating and plumbing systems. Uponor produces PEX-a tubing, which is considered the superior type of PEX.

 

What is Wirsbo hePEX™?
Wirsbo hePEX™ is crosslinked polyethylene (PEX-a) heat-transfer tubing that features a patent-pending oxygen-barrier coating technology for closed-loop hydronic heating and cooling applications.

 

What's the difference between PEX-a, PEX-b and PEX-c tubing?
Currently, three methods for producing crosslinked polyethylene (PEX) tubing exist:
• Engel or peroxide method (PEX-a)
• Silane method (PEX-b)
• E-beam (electron beam) or radiation method (PEX-c)
All three processes generate tubing that is crosslinked to varying degrees, and are acceptable for potable water distribution applications according to ASTM F876 and F877 standards. Uponor manufactures Engel-method PEX-a tubing. The PEX tubing industry considers this tubing superior because the crosslinking is done during the manufacturing process when polyethylene is in it amorphic state (above the crystalline melting point). Because of this, the degree of crosslinking reaches around 85% (higher than the other methods), resulting in a more uniform product with no weak links in the molecular chain. Learn more about why PEX-a tubing is better.


 

Do you offer a warranty on your tubing?
Yes. We are so confident of the quality of our PEX-a tubing, we offer a 25-year limited warranty or a 30-year warranty when installed by a member of our Home Comfort Team (HCT).

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