Underfloor heating is gaining in popularity in the UK. Not only does it provide fantastic heat in a property, it is also easy to fit, operate and maintain. Find out more with this ‘How to’ guide.
Underfloor heating can save you money, without compromising on a warm home. But to get the best from your system, understanding the best way of installing and operating it is essential.
There are many complete kits that as you would expect, come with everything you need to fit the underfloor heating system, including specialist tools.
A wet single zone underfloor heating kit can be quickly and easily fitted, although you will need a qualified Gas safe registered engineer to connect the system toy our combi-boiler. You will also need an electrician to fit the thermostat. Both jobs, however, take only a few minutes and won’t leave you with a big bill.
In terms of fitting your system, here are a few tips for quick, trouble-free installations;
Preparation is key
When you have reached the sub-floor, the floor on which the pipes will be laid, it needs to be clean, dust-free and free from debris that could potentially cause problems such as punctured pipes. It needs to be as level as possible too.
Underfloor heating runs at a much lower temperature than a central heating system but, because it heats the entire floor area, is more efficient at heating a space, from a single room to several zones or areas.
This is why a layer of floor insulation is a must. It prevents the loss of heat to the ground beneath. Some kits come with pre-routed insulation boards into which the pipes are fitted. Or, you can create your own system clipping piping to the layer of floor insulation you have laid.
The floor is heated by hot water running through a series of plastic pipes, lopped around the floor area.
Starting from the manifold, the piping is laid stretching away and then returning. Although it sounds simple – and it is! – there are a few things to remember;
- ALWAYS start from the manifold and loop the pipe back or you may find that the pipe is cut too short.
- Measure twice, cut once when it comes to plastic piping.
- Laying pipe loops closer together produces more heat in that area, great for in front of full length windows.
- In warmer rooms, such as the kitchen, pipe loops can be laid with a greater distance between them to produce less heat.
- Consider where furniture will be and lay less loops in that area.
- Don’t hyperextend the piping loops as this dilutes the effectiveness of the heating system and its heat output.
Underfloor heating is easily operated and requires very little maintenance once up and running. This is because there are very few moving parts in the underfloor heating system.
If you are using a combi-boiler with the system, clearly it makes sense to have the boiler serviced annually to promote continued efficiency.
To operate the underfloor heating, you need to understand how it works;
- Thermostat – underfloor heating kits should come with a programmable timer and although this is sufficient, the best thermostat to use with this system is a smart one. This is controlled via an app on your phone and allows finite control of the running temperature of the system.
- Lower temperatures over longer periods – most people are used to the heat from radiators and assume that to get their home warm and toasty, they should turn up the thermostat. Underfloor heating is a little subtler. Running it at a lower temperature to ‘keep off the chill’ in your home is a more efficient means that turning up the thermostat and asking for heat to be belching out. Response time is slower because the way in which the room is heated is different. But, it is more comfortable and a more efficient means of heating your home.
- Insulation – as well as floor insulation, you should pay attention to insulation across the home, from updating loft insulation, to making sure double glazing fits well, there are no draughts from external doors and so on.
Underfloor heating, alongside insulation measures, can reduce the amount you spent on heating your home by a whopping 25%. And with energy prices set to rise yet again, can afford to ignore the benefits and savings of underfloor heating any longer?
Underfloor Heating Trade Supplies have a growing range of kits, as well as fixings and components for creating the perfect underfloor heating system.