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PlumbNation Underfloor Heating Systems Guide
Underfloor heating will make your tiled, wooden and laminate floors much more inviting and warm to the touch. There are two main types of underfloor heating available to suit your budget and floor heating requirements, so that you can achieve veritable luxury at affordable costs. Who needs slippers when you can walk freely about your luxurious warm kitchen floor in your bare feet with a brand new underfloor heating system? You’ll find that your new under floor heating system will begin as a luxury item only for it to become a real necessity of the home. You’ll wonder how you ever got by without it.
With Underfloor Heating (UFH) you have two distinct choices. The first is to opt for Water Underfloor Heating this will be connected to your current central heating system, which will require a (perhaps costly) professional installation procedure, but will save you money over time. The second is to opt for an Electric Underfloor Heating System, which is cheaper and easier to install initially but will cost more to use over time. Our Underfloor Heating Guide below will help you to decide which option is best for you.
What Are Underfloor Heating Systems?
Underfloor Heating is becoming an increasingly popular alternative method to heating the home. Underfloor Heating is considered to be not only comfortable, luxurious and highly efficient, but it’s also very affordable. That’s why more and more domestic properties in the UK today are installing Underfloor Heating at their homes. Whether you choose bathroom underfloor heating, kitchen underfloor heating, conservatory Underfloor Heating Systems or even floor heating for your whole home, underfloor heating can provide invisible warmth from the ground upwards. Underfloor Heating may also eliminate your need for radiators, which would create more space within your property, allowing greater flexibility when designing room layouts. Underfloor Heating is also considered to be less of a health and safety risk, hot radiators present a potential hazard for the elderly or unsupervised young children, with underfloor heating this will never be an issue.
How Do Underfloor Heating Systems Work?
Heat rises, so as with traditional radiators, heat is thrown up towards the ceiling only to travel downwards again, cooling down on the way back to the ground. Uneven warmth is then created with the majority of warm air being higher up in the room. Underfloor heating however provides a gentle air circulation from directly underneath you, so as the warm air rises, it creates an even heat distribution throughout the whole room with air cooling down when it reaches the ceiling. So your whole body can feel the benefit of the warmth, including your feet. Also as under floor heating literally covers the whole floor area, there are no cold spots within the room, this can be a problem with traditional radiators in a larger area.
Underfloor Heating is ideal for both existing properties and new builds. It is suitable for use with most floor types, for example, concrete screed and timber (floating or suspended). It can also be used with tiled floor, wooden floor and carpet floors, although it is important to discuss such issues with your installer beforehand.
Floor Heating for Ceramic / Stone / Terracotta Tile Floors
Tile flooring is conventionally very cold by nature, particularly during winter, and many of us would prefer that they were cosily warm all year round. Underfloor Heating for a tile floor is therefore practically essential, although the installation process may accrue excessive costs depending on the level of installation required. Another thing to consider is the thickness of tile used; the thicker the tile, the longer it will take for the Underfloor Heating System to heat the tile to the desired temperature, however once that temperature has been reached the tiles will remain at a constant temperature until it the floor heating has been switched off.
Floor Heating for Timber / Vinyl / Laminate Floors
Timber and laminate flooring is naturally warmer than tile flooring, this is because unlike tiles wood / laminate floor panels are poor conductors of heat. However, despite this Underfloor Heating works very well with wooden and laminate flooring and could play an important role in warming your home. We at PlumbNation Heating Supplies advise that you only use the recommended timber / laminate flooring for use with Underfloor Heating by the flooring manufacturer.
Electric Underfloor Heating Systems
Electric underfloor heat mats are installed underneath the flooring within the room of choice and are powered by electricity. Electricity causes the heat mats to heat up to the desired temperature, hence the name Electric Underfloor Heating Systems. Electric Underfloor Heating Systems are easy to install and are extremely cost effective, although Water Underfloor Heating Systems are generally more economical to run over a period of time.
Electric cables are attached to the Electric Underfloor Heating Mats. These heat mats will be tailored to fit each room they are to be used in and placed especially carefully around bathroom structures such as showers and toilets. Mats can be spread out and connected together and to the mains electricity supply. Electric Underfloor Heating Systems work independently from your central heating system (if applicable). Electric Underfloor Heating Systems will function perfectly without your current central heating system and will not need to be connected to it in any way. This is a particularly great benefit during summer months, having the ability to step out off the bath or shower onto a luxurious warm tiled floor, without having to heat the whole house and wasting energy.
Electric Under Floor Heating Systems are controlled by a programmable room thermostat, which can control time and temperature or a mixture of both. The latest controls are extremely intelligent, simple to use and have the ability over time to program themselves to optimise best performance based on your requirements.
Hot Water Underfloor Heating Systems
Underfloor Heating can be installed to run alongside your current central heating system, and are appropriately named Hot Water Underfloor Heating Systems or a Wet Underfloor Heating Systems. Warm water is circulated through plastic pipes that are installed underneath the floor itself (this can be referred to as the sub floor), which create an ample supply of heat to be transferred through the flooring to whole room above.
Hot Water Underfloor Heating Systems / Wet Underfloor Heating Systems on average generate temperatures of 40°C – 65°C meaning that the actual floor temperature will be on average between 23°C – 32°C. This also means that Hot Water Underfloor Heating Systems heat water to a lower temperature than radiators, which is more economic yet just as efficient for the entire household.
To create a subfloor you will need a professional installation team who have previous experience with Underfloor Heating installations. This procedure may well be expensive so it is normally wise to have the installation completed during a new construction, for example for a new extension, conservatory, open-plan kitchen, etc. A traditional solid floor will be constructed as follows, starting from solid ground you would typically use 100mm compacted stone, red sand to level, visqueen damp course membrane, 75mm foil back solid insulation board, then typically Underfloor Heating Pipes would be fixed to this and finally covered with a 75mm screed. There are various screeds available, again take advice on preparing the sub floor from builder, installer and manufacturer to be sure.
Underfloor Heating can also be installed in a traditional timber floor system, you would simply lift the floor boards, insulate between the joists, fix metal spreader plates between the joists, run the pipes in the pre-grooved pipe voids within the spreader plate and re-lay the floor boards. The hot pipes then heat the metal spreader plates and create a beautiful uncluttered warm floor above.
A Hot Water Underfloor Heating System is ideally suited to be installed during a new build construction, however the benefits are so great it may be worth investing in a retro-fit or by using a slimmer overlay system.
Underfloor Heating Calculator
If you are considering Underfloor Heating, whether it be Wet System Floor Heating or Electric Floor Heating, it is important to calculate how much heat is required in order to adequately heat the room(s) in question. This can be determined via a heat loss calculation. Many manufacturers offer free quotations for any underfloor heating installations, particularly Hot Water Underfloor Heating installations. Electric Underfloor Heating installations are usually calculated via the available surface area. Measurements for Electric Underfloor Heating installations need to be as accurate as possible, as heat mats cannot be shortened.
We offer a vast range of Underfloor Heating products, from the UK’s leading manufacturers, for example, Danfoss who produce the Danfoss Devimat. The Danfoss Devimat is available in a range of sizes, with a choice for solid or timber floors. Other leading manufacturers include John Guest Speedfit and Hepworth Hep2O, who offer market leading Underfloor Heating for wet system installations.
As every installation is different, PlumbNation Heating Supplies would like to recommend that if you require further advice on choosing an Underfloor Heating System, then you contact the manufacturer direct, who will be able to offer you expert advice. In most cases they will send an engineer to your home to do a free of charge design and estimate, they can even recommend accredited installers. This way you can purchase your Underfloor Heating Systems from our PlumbNation Heating Supplies Underfloor Heating collection at a heavily discounted price, then obtain a fixed labour price, meaning you will have made a huge saving on a typical Underfloor Heating supply and install installation.