If hot water radiators distribute heat... Why not distribute cold?

Discussion in 'Solar and Geothermal Water Heating Forum' started by CanOfWorms, Jun 1, 2013.

  1. CanOfWorms

    CanOfWorms Member

    Messages:
    179
    Location:
    New Jersey
    I have been wondering this for years. What If I pumped 35 degree cold water through my heating pipes and ran a fan accross the radiators.

    As far as a cold water source you could use a wine chiller like they have at the "lick-her" store.
  2. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

    Messages:
    4,704
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    Mine are cast iron. I have wondered this as well. I think that you would need a geo thermal type rig for this as the water would quickly warm up to room temperature.

    Perhaps as well they might rust faster???

    JW
  3. CanOfWorms

    CanOfWorms Member

    Messages:
    179
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Well I know this is the geothermal forum. But this was the closest to it.

    I know I have seen rigs where someone pumps cold ice water from a beer cooler through a car radiator with a fan over it. It cools.

    I have pumped hot steam through a car radiator to heat a small shed, but it was too much work adding water. It did work.

    I don't know why it would rust your pipes quicker. The water going through the radiators normally is not conditioned.


    The whole point would be to get it done cheap and easy. So the geo-heat-excange would defeat the purpose.

    This is purely theoretical. I will never do this, but If I had a large utility room with space to spread out, one could use a deep freeze with a few long tanks for extra surface area filled with antifreaze and then have a circulator pump.

    I have boosted the effectiveness of my cast iron radiators by rigging 4" computer fans to them to increase airflow for heat.
  4. jacobsond

    jacobsond DIY Junior Member

    Messages:
    59
    Location:
    ND
    Running cold water through the pipes might work,but what are you going to do with the moisture that condensates on the pipes? Not just on the radiators in the entire system piping.
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2013
  5. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,298
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    What you are talking about is a chiller.
    Those units have pans under them to collect condensation and that is piped away. When we installed air handlers in the Mayflower Hotel in Seattle, it was a six week job running all the drains lines for the room units.

    And yes, insulate all the pipes to be sure.
  6. CanOfWorms

    CanOfWorms Member

    Messages:
    179
    Location:
    New Jersey

    Very good point! I suppose you would need a drip pan with a drain under every radiator.

    Would split foam tube insulation stop the condesation on the pipes?
  7. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    cooling

    Back in the 50s and 60s, they were experimenting with running "fin tube baseboard" around the ceilings for cooling. Condensation was the big hurdle to overcome. Ideally, the chilled air should be generated at the ceiling so it can "settle" down over the room's occupants.
  8. CanOfWorms

    CanOfWorms Member

    Messages:
    179
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Believe it or not I have seen that.

    I stay in a fleabag motel in Kansas city about 15 years ago. It was right next to a livestock auction house. I had the beakfast special and one of the meat choices was scrambled pig brains. I couldn't resist it.

    The motel had a huge finned pipe at the cieling that ran along the front wall of the room. It looked like a 4" exhaust pipe with fins on it. It was COLD!!.
  9. Dana

    Dana In the trades

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    Location:
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    In a NJ climate the condensation would be truly excessive.

    Mid-summer dew points in NJ are in the high 60s/low 70s Fahrenheit, and to get reasonable sensible (temperature) cooling you'd need to run radiator temps well below 65F, probably below 50F. Even if you could make 35F water efficiently and cheaply, it's a lousy solution in your location.

    A far better solution would be a modulating variable speed high SEER ductless mini-split (heat pump, or AC-only). You can do quite a bit of cooling with a $2000 3/4 ton mini-split air conditioner- it'll run almost constantly (since it modulates with load), taking down the humidity, so even when it's not keeping up it'll be comfortable due the the drying factors. Unlike central air, it doesn't make pressure differences between rooms to drive air-infiltration (sucking in more humid air), and they're far quieter than window air conditioners since they use scroll compressors in the outdoor unit, and variable speed fans/blowers on both the interior & exterior units.

    The up-charge for a cooling AND heating version is typically a couple hundred USD, and in heating mode the operating cost is comparable to condensing gas ( and WAY cheaper then propane, oil, or resistance electricity.) When used to offset oil or propane use, a high efficiency mini-split typically pays for itself in under 4 years. Skim this document for a discussion of the economics and environmental aspects of heating with heat pumps vs. fossil fuels and other alternatives.
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