The Why's and How's of Underfloor Heating
Already popular across Europe, underfloor heating is increasingly becoming the heating system of choice for self-builders in the UK. Driven by its appearance on numerous home-improvement television programmes, underfloor heating is a desirable, fashionable heating option. More than just a way of heating a house, it has become a consumer lifestyle choice.
Continental Underfloor is a under floor heating specialist offering a range of good value, high quality products backed up with unique service and sound technical advice. Continental offers the most comprehensive range of warm water and electrical under floor heating in the UK and has an expert technical team on hand to advise on the best system to use according to the application, customer preference and cost. Continental is the only UK underfloor heating Company that provides all types of underfloor heating system and is therefore able to adopt an independent and unbiased approach when advising consumers on choice of underfloor heating system.
So how does underfloor heating work?
In a nutshell, underfloor heating provides the warmth to a room from the floor up, rather than heating the ceiling space first. The heat produced by a underfloor heating system is different to radiators too. underfloor heating emits a far greater proportion of its heat as radiant rather than convected heat - giving a more comfortable form of heat. (more info)
Why should I choose it?
Because the entire system is hidden under the floor, it offers homeowners complete design freedom. There are no ugly radiators to be disguised and furniture can be placed wherever it looks best.
It is perfect for self-builders as it is quick and easy to install. Anyone who has attempted to install a traditional radiator system will be more than able to cope with underfloor heating! Also, it is easily integrated with a property's hot water arrangements, and can also be 'mixed and matched' with radiators to provide a flexible approach to domestic heating.
All self-builders are cost-conscious and underfloor heating provides both short and long term cost reductions. Because of the nature of the radiant heat emitted by underfloor heating systems, the associated heat loss is far less than with conventional radiator systems. Also, the water temperature needed to run a underfloor heating system is lower than with radiators and so the same comfort level can be achieved with a thermostat setting two degrees lower - saving both money and energy. Combine these two things and you should see an energy saving of at least 25% on conventional properties.
How do I go about installing underfloor heating?
Continental Underfloor Systems are very easy to install because we have chosen components that are quick and easy to fit, and methods that are familiar to contractors. Read more about installing underfloor heating.
1. Plan ahead
Think carefully about when the underfloor heating pipe work will be installed. Ideally, it should be laid immediately before the floor screed or final floor covering goes down. This will minimise any potential damage caused by people walking on it. Also, plan for the site to be clear of other workmen when the system is being installed, as access to the whole floor area will be required.
2. Liase closely with your supplier
At every stage of the process, from start to finish, talk to your supplier - this will ensure that your underfloor heating system exactly meets your needs. Bearing this in mind, select a supplier that offers a full range of support and technical advice free of charge as part of the package rather than making a decision based purely on price. Remember - you get what you pay for.
3. Agree the plans well in advance
Once you've chosen your supplier, make sure that their spec exactly fits your needs and is agreed in advance, particularly the thermostatic zoning as this dictates the thermostat positions. It's also vital to agree the exact manifold position with your supplier so that a CAD pipe-laying plan can be drawn up.
4. Review everything
Always take time to review the pipe layout - signing this off means you're agreeing that the design is a fair representation of your property, so make sure it is!
5. Lay the pipework
Most reputable suppliers will provide you with a CAD pipe-laying plan, which makes the installation of the pipe as simple as following a pre-determined route. Read the plans in conjunction with the step-by-step instruction manual that you should also be given, and the installation will be relatively straightforward.
6. Commission the system
All that remains is to fill and commission the system, which should be done once the floor constructions have been completed. This involves connecting the thermostat and zone actuator wiring to the wiring centre and then filling the system with water. Always bleed the system of air too.
7. Don't panic!
Installing underfloor heating is a very simple step-by-step process that should be well within the capability of a competent DIY-er. In fact, any self-builder who has undertaken plumbing in his/her own radiator system is probably overqualified for underfloor heating!