Can Air Source Heat Pump Work with Radiant Floor: A Comprehensive Guide

Air source heat pumps can work seamlessly with radiant floor heating systems, providing an efficient and stable heating solution. This combination is particularly advantageous as radiant floor heating operates at lower design temperatures, which increases the efficiency of the heat pump. Additionally, the lower design temperature means the heat pump has to make smaller temperature shifts, reducing the short cycling that can occur with other heating systems.

Choosing the Right Heat Pump System

When using an air source heat pump with radiant floor heating, it is crucial to select a system that can adjust its frequency to match the load, such as the Arctic Heat Pump. This feature allows the heat pump to maintain a stable temperature and avoid short cycling, which can otherwise reduce the system’s efficiency and lifespan.

The Arctic Heat Pump, for instance, utilizes a variable-speed compressor and fan that can modulate their output to precisely match the heating or cooling demand. This ensures the heat pump operates at its optimal efficiency, minimizing energy consumption and maximizing comfort.

Radiant Floor Heating Configurations

can air source heat pump work with radiant floorImage source: Flickr

There are four main ways to introduce radiant floor heating when using a heat pump:

  1. Concrete Slab: In this configuration, the radiant tubing is embedded directly into a concrete slab. The high thermal mass of the concrete helps to stabilize the temperature and reduce short cycling.

  2. Suspended Slab: This method involves suspending the radiant tubing between two layers of concrete, creating a thermal mass that can store and release heat efficiently.

  3. Aluminum Plates between Joists: Here, the radiant tubing is laid on top of aluminum plates that are installed between the floor joists. The aluminum plates help to distribute the heat evenly across the floor.

  4. Aluminum Plates above the Plywood Subfloor: Similar to the previous method, the radiant tubing is laid on top of aluminum plates, but in this case, the plates are installed directly on top of the plywood subfloor.

The more thermal mass the radiant floor system has, the better it will perform. Concrete slab and suspended slab installations are generally considered the most effective, as they provide a large mass that can hold large amounts of energy, reducing the short cycling of the heat pump.

Integrating the Heat Pump with Radiant Floor Heating

When using a heat pump for radiant floor heating, it is essential to incorporate a buffer tank into the system. The buffer tank allows the heat pump to be set to perform at the minimum design temperature and hold that temperature. This ensures the heat pump can deliver heat to any part of the house by removing the energy stored in the buffer tank.

The buffer tank acts as an intermediary between the heat pump and the radiant floor system, allowing the heat pump to operate at its most efficient temperature range while still providing the necessary heat to the radiant floor. This setup helps to prevent short cycling and maintain a stable temperature throughout the home.

Radiant Floor Cooling with Heat Pumps

In addition to heating, hydronic radiant floor cooling can also be accomplished using a heat pump system. This is done by monitoring the dew set point in the system to avoid condensation. The heat pump now chills a buffer tank, and the control system uses the chilled water to remove heat energy from the floor.

Radiant floor cooling can provide a comfortable and energy-efficient cooling solution, especially in areas with moderate climates. By utilizing the heat pump’s ability to both heat and cool, homeowners can enjoy a comprehensive HVAC system that seamlessly integrates with their radiant floor setup.


In summary, air source heat pumps can work exceptionally well with radiant floor heating systems, providing efficient and stable heating. When choosing a system, it is crucial to consider the design temperature, frequency adjustment capabilities, and the integration of a buffer tank to ensure optimal performance.

By carefully selecting the right components and configuring the system correctly, homeowners can enjoy the benefits of a highly efficient and comfortable heating and cooling solution that leverages the synergies between air source heat pumps and radiant floor systems.