How the heat and cooling energy of a GSHP system is distributed is important to the system’s efficiency. There are two main methods of distribution:
- Hydronic radiant floor heat is the most efficient distribution method. This strategy routes a heated fluid (water or a glycol solution) through pipes under or in the flooring. Objects near the floor are warmed first with minimal heat lost toward the ceiling. This option is more expensive than the others, and is limited to heating.
- Hydronic radiators work similarly to radiant flooring, and do not usually require the high temperatures (180°F or higher) of baseboard and steam radiators.
- Forced-air systems, which use a blower to push air through ducts and vents, are fairly common distribution method. This can be used for both heating and cooling. A second method of ducting uses high-velocity air flowing through small, flexible tubing about 2 inches in diameter instead of normal 6-inch ducting. Instead of being in the walls, high-velocity ducting is attached to the wall. This distribution method is a great option for historic homes and homes with solid walls (such as log cabins) where ducting cannot be installed in the walls. However, high-velocity systems tend to be noisier and must be maintained to prevent leaking air, which can cause noise.