Types Of Under Floor Heating.

Underfloor

There are three main designs in the installation of under floor systems:

Solid floor Often the choice for new build homes, it is a permanent fixture that is built into concrete or screeded floors. In this structure, insulation is embedded in the floor as part of Building Regulations. The pipe is then laid in and set in the screed. Wood, stone, tiles, vinyl and carpet can be used in this application.

Suspended floor The heating system is inserted between the joists or the battens in a suspended floor, either by accessing from above or below. The casing consists of a tongue and groove floor board which can in turn be covered by any kind of flooring.

Floating floor The pipes can be installed in floating floors above an existing solid or wood floor. The pipe is pressed into a preformed heat emitter plate which rests in grooves in the insulation panel of the floating floor. Again, tongue and groove boards are laid atop ready for any kind of flooring to be fitted.

What costs are involved?

Installation companies argue that under floor heating is no more expensive than a comparable radiator system. It is also compared to the price if a good quality carpet, with a ballpark figure of £20 per square metre for supply and installation as one estimate. The overall figure naturally depends on many other factors, and it is also held by some that under floor heating is overall more expensive than radiator system installation.

Where to install it?

UnderFloor 2Under floor heating can still be installed under existing flooring, depending on the floor’s construction.

Wood and wood laminates: With set levels on existing timber floors, the pipes are laid between joists and not on top. This requires shelves to be installed created between the joists. Under floor heating installers maintain that wooden flooring is an ideal material because it helps to maintain an even temperature. However, wood is also a good insulator and so may not be the optimum choice.
Carpet: While under floor systems can be used with any kind of flooring, carpet is quite insulating. It is recommended that the combined tog rating for carpet and underlay should not exceed 1.5.

Advantages

Once fully installed, under floor heating systems are almost maintenance free; with modern developments experiencing few problems. Quality systems are said to last successfully 25 years or more as the metal elements of brass and stainless steel do not corrode or attract scale.

The radiant system is very thin and so does not affect the floor levels. Without radiators, you will have much more wall space and freedom to decorate and re-arrange your room as you like, especially as under floor system can be suited to almost any type of flooring.

Some installers hold that under floor systems utilise a flow temperature of up to 60°C, and when combined with condensing boilers can achieve an energy efficiency of up to 98%, also making it cheaper to run than a radiator system. Radiators rely mostly on convection currents, whereas under floor provides an even spread of radiated heat. In new builds, the heating system combined with the insulation will prevent heat losses that will mean comfortable warmth and lower heating bills for you.

Unlike noisy radiators and their pipes which can gurgle and creak when turned on or off; underflow heatin

g is a silent system that you will hardly notice when it is on. You will barely notice its presence at all as there will be no hot radiators to avoid touching or putting objects too close to.

Your home will also feel the benefits as it does not dry out the air like radiators do. Antique furniture will not suffer drying out, and neither will your skin. Moreover, the strong convection currents from radiators send dust particles around the room, which can irritate allergies and asthma. Under floor heating has a balance of convection and radiation that creates fewer disturbances.

Disadvantages

While under floor heating is greatly beneficial in terms of space and could indeed be the way forward in energy efficient heating, it is important to look at the issues that are not always covered in the information provided by installation companies.

Full installation on an existing building requires large-scale disruption. For a permanent fixture with proper insulation the floors require a complete rebuild. You must be prepared for this chaos and its associated costs. There are DIY mats with the heating pipes attached, but these are not as effective. A fully installed system will be more expensive than a standard radiator system, and can involve additional complicated and costly controls.

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