Detailed comparison of ceiling radiant systems. Which one to choose?

In the past, we have dealt with the undeniable advantages and benefits of heating-cooling radiant systems in several articles. If you are interested in the general advantages of systems, read hereif you have a reconstruction of the house in front of you and are thinking about alternatives to heating and cooling your house, thisarticle, for example, can broaden your horizons. Heating-cooling radiant systems are the most efficient way of transferring heat. This is also why they are an ideal choice for energy-efficient buildings. In the following we will focus on system performance in relation to materials from which they can be installed.

Copper, aluminum or plastic?

Ceiling radiant systems can be purchased in several material variants. Material variants, or heat exchange surfaces, which serve as a heat exchanger in your interior (radiate heat or cold), have different performance properties and thermal conductivity due to their differentness. Before you start choosing a heating-cooling system, consider which material will be the most advantageous investment. For comparison, we have selected the most common ones that customers buy from us. It is a system made of plastic, copper and aluminum or a carbon (carbon) system. In addition to the common advantages of all, such as the invisibility of systems in the interior and comfortable functionality without any noise, they have different material properties, which we will focus on below.

System with plastic exchanger

Systemically, it is a plastic pipe in combination with a plasterboard. The cold/heat distribution pipe is either built-in or installed above the SDK plate. The system is designed for dry construction system with quick installation and is especially suitable for renovations. However, the disadvantage of the system is plastic pipes with problematic system life. This material is limited and temperature dependent. Usually the plastics from which ceiling exchangers are made do not have an oxygen barrier, so the systems are aeration and the metal parts in the hydraulic system corrode. Thus, the whole system must be separated by a heat exchanger, on which there are huge power losses, and the source must produce an even higher temperature for heating and an even lower temperature for cooling.

System with metal exchanger

The system, which consists of an aluminum-copper structure hidden above the plasterboard ceiling, is suitable for any architectural solutions. It can also be used to create sleepless floor-to-ceiling or island ceilings. Thanks to the fact that we design the system tailored for a specific room, there is no problem with the installation of built-in ceiling components. We also combine the system with special plasterboards with increased thermal conductivity and the possibility of noise absorption. Thanks to its consisting of plasterboards and metal construction, this system guarantees better performance and thermal conductivity than a system with a plastic exchanger.

Carbon exchanger system

This advanced system for floor-to-ceiling ceilings takes advantage of the metal system described above and pushes the limits of performance even further. The advantage is its structural lightness combined with high performance and excellent acoustic properties. In this case, the ceiling ceiling is composed of a carbon plate, with a built-in copper pipe for heat and cold distribution. However, the fundamental difference from the system with the plastic exchanger is here in the wiring material. Copper pipes have a long service life and great conductivity, which is also supported by the great properties of the carbon plate.

Comparison of performance and thermal conductivity of materials

If we would like to quantify the material characteristics of the system, we can briefly mention the performance and conductivity of the materials in the units in which these quantities are stated. The performance of the ceiling system, i.e. how it is able to transfer heat, is measured in Watts per m² (W/m²) and thermal conductivity in Watts per meter and kelvin. (W/mK)


Material Cooling power (%) Thermal conductivity (%)
Plastic 40 0,22
Aluminum 63 237
Copper 100 386

In the table we can see that plastic has the least suitable properties of all materials for heat-change areas. Its performance is up to 60% smaller than the carbon exchanger system, which has copper pipes. Thermal conductivity (again compared to the carbon system) does not even reach 0.06% thermal conductivity of copper.


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