Underfloor heating systems have plenty of benefits for homes and offices. It’s super comfortable when you walk bare feet on the floor and frees up room space since there is no radiator around to take up wall space. Thanks to improvements in heating technologies, it is also cost-efficient. It’s a great solution for homes with renewable heating sources. Underfloor heating systems make your transition to sustainable homes that much easier.
Advantages of Underfloor Heating Systems
1) Low Maintenance Costs
Because polypropylene is a naturally tough material, it requires very little maintenance. This happens to be the case for both water and electric based underfloor heating. PE fitting experts need to be aware of one important detail: water-fed heating must be installed so that it is certified to BS EN 1264. This certification is reliable and the fitting specialists who offer this service usually offer a minimum guarantee of 25 years. Now that’s some incredible confidence.
2) Energy Efficiency
It has been shown that underfloor heating is far more efficient than conventional radiators. Due to their high efficiency, the energy bills are vastly reduced. Most homeowners should have an efficiency test performed to assess the overall effectiveness of insulation in their home to ensure optimal heating performance.
In case you end up turning the underfloor heating system off, your room will retain heat far better than traditional radiators since they start cooling down rapidly after heat supply is cut off. Underfloor heating systems retain heat for longer periods of time.
3) Low Running Costs
Contrary to popular opinion, running a whole-house underfloor heating system is cheaper than conventional radiators and central heating systems. This is due to the cost of rising gas fuel prices, making refuelling a costly adventure.
Meanwhile, the running costs of underfloor heating systems depend on arrange of factors, including the effectiveness of room insulation, and the total running time. Thicker insulations yield much better energy savings. Water-based heating systems rely on gas and tend to have higher efficiency and lower costs, but the initial installation is cost-prohibitive.
Electrical-based heating systems are so easy to install that a well-experienced DIYer can lay the pipes without damaging anything. The only issue is the higher running costs.
4) More Comfortable
Homes with underfloor heating systems are noticeably more comfortable. This is due to the warm feeling one gets when their bare feet are in direct contact with the floor. Another reason is attributed to a consistent temperature profile around the room.
All parts of the room, so long as they share the same heating system, will maintain a balanced climate. One corner of the room won’t feel cooler than the other, which seems to be the case with radiator systems since they rely more on convection.
5) Better Hygiene
Underfloor heating systems are much safer and more hygienic than radiators. This is due to the high levels of moisture and humidity at floor level, creating the ideal breeding ground for creepy crawlies and dust mites. Switching to an underfloor heating system drastically improves hygiene all around, almost completely eliminating dust mites.
These tiny creatures can pose a life-threatening danger to individuals suffering from respiratory illnesses such as asthma.
Also, since you’ve removed the radiator from your room, this usually means one less surface that attracts grease and fathers dust. This also results in less air movement, which means less dust is transported around, making underfloor the perfect solution for people with allergies.
6) Controllable Temperatures
If the entire house has underfloor heating systems installed, residents won’t have to put up with the same temperature. With the use of a dedicated thermostat, they can change their room’s temperature based on their own preferences. Most radiators that are fitted with thermostatic valves for the same purpose are often unreliable with poor temperature control.
Of course, this requires homeowners to install a good UFH control system, which can be an extra cost, but it saves money over time since it keeps the settings low (or even off) in rooms that are not currently in use.
7) Compatible with Most Floor Surfaces
Underfloor heating systems are compatible with the majority of floor systems. You don’t need solid surface flooring such as stone or tile for best results. It is fairly common for homeowners with vinyl, carpet, laminated, and engineered wood to lay out polypipe heating solutions. Of course, rooms with solid floors will retain heat for longer than carpets, but that isn’t really a problem.
8) Creates Additional Space
Homeowners who have used radiators will complain about their precious real estate being lost due to a large amount of space lost to these bulky devices. But with underfloor heating systems, there is no need for radiators. All of a sudden, a large amount of space is cleared up for extra storage, sofa, kitchen units, or even a doorway.
9) UFH Suits Your Preferences
Whether you sport minimal Scandinavian decor or like something more traditional, underfloor heating systems will accommodate any style since they’re tucked out of sight, but not out of mind! In contrast, radiators are awkwardly taking up space in your room and can derail your decor settings. Picture straight clean lines with artful galleries and aesthetic floor-to-ceiling curtains… and then an unsightly radiator takes away from the overall aesthetics.
But it gets worse. Radiators can pose a serious health and safety risk, especially to small children and vulnerable adults due to their jaggy corners and the potential of fire hazards. These are the ideal conditions for accidents to happen without any warning.
Wet vs. Dry Systems
There are two types of underfloor heating – dry or electric systems and wet or water-based systems. As explained earlier, electric UFH has lower installation costs and is not as disruptive to install, but the long-term costs associated with utility bills are reasonably higher. That said, dry UFH systems are more suitable for smaller spaces such as tiled bathrooms.
Wet underfloor heating systems are made up of polypipes that are connected with a boiler that uses warm water from the central heating system. You can save a lot with condensing boilers due to their low running costs, but any boiler can be used, so long as they have sufficient capacity.
Wet UFH systems work by pumping water through the plastic pipes laid underneath the floor. The final surface of the floor is only installed after the water makes its way into the piles. These plastic water pipe systems are continuous, which minimises the risk of leaks since there are no joints. Wet systems often remain maintenance –free for their entire working life.
The only problem is their higher installation costs, especially if floor-level alterations are needed to accommodate the new pipes. The long-term advantages of wet systems more than make up for the exorbitant installation costs. In fact, wet UFH systems use water at a lower temperature than radiators. For larger homes and areas, wet systems are your best bet.
Electric (Dry) Systems
Dry underfloor heating systems are available in the form of heating cables, they are loosely woven into ribbon cables and heating films. The ribbons are spread out and connected together, before finally linking up with the mains power supply and a thermostat for temperature control.
Dry UFH systems are further divided into three subtypes:
i) Loose wire for irregular shaped rooms with awkward corners
ii) Matting for tile and stone floors
iii) Foil mat system for laminated flooring
Electric UFH systems are cheaper to install and cause the least amount of disruption to the existing floor plan. Furthermore, they heat up the room faster than wet systems because they are direct heat sources. Their only downside is the costly running costs.
The Use of Polypipe Underfloor Heating Systems
The most popular underfloor heating system involves the use of polypipe for ease of installation. Polypipe can be fitted over an existing floor or built right into a new solid floor. Polypipe is conveniently scalable, allowing homeowners to expand their underfloor heating system to the whole house instead of a single room.
Why Choose Polypipe?
Polypipe or polyethylene pipe installations are the most popular because of superior qualities to traditional materials. Some of the major advantages of polypipe installations include:
- High durability
- Diverse range of applications
- Can be bought in a range of sizes, thicknesses, and pressure ratings with compatible equipment and fittings to lay out the system
- Flexible and lightweight, which makes logistics and material handling cheaper and easier in the long run
- Chemically resistant, non-corrosive properties
- Polypipe is available in conveniently long lengths and coils
- Practically leak-free, subject to the quality of electrofusion welding and butt welding capabilities
Polypipe systems are designed for long-term use and can take quite a beating. Expertly installed polypipe underfloor heating systems can last for over 100 years. The only challenging part of the operation is the installation of the pipe, which takes up around 80 to 90% of the total project costs. But once the pipes are properly laid out, they scarcely, if ever, need maintenance over their working lifetime.
Where to Install UFH Systems?
It is recommended to have a professional fitter inspect your house to help you calculate the desired temperatures, potential heat loss, type of flooring requires, and their ceiling height. While UFH systems are compatible with carpet and natural wood, these flooring structures are not the best insulators when compared to engineered wood, marble, stone, and slate.
Renovation vs. Retrofit
The best time to install underfloor heating is as part of a renovation or extension, usually when you first move into your house. If you’re not planning on renovating any time soon, then you will have to lay out new flooring on the existing floor structure. You can add a floating floor to accommodate the polypipes.
If you want to cause the least amount of changes to your existing flooring, consider installing lightweight and low-profile systems with designs that are as thin as 15 mm. This eliminates the need to alter door frames, skirting boards, and stairs.
If you plan on installing the UFH system over your entire house, make sure to do so after consulting a blueprint of your house. This takes into account your requirements and ensures the UFH system will heat each room without the need for supplementary heating.
Think of the Insulation
In order to get the most out of UFH systems, you will need to ensure your house is properly insulated. This minimises heat loss and allows the heat to travel upwards. You will need extra room to accommodate the new installations, which is an extra cost to the UFH system.
Controlling the Temperature
Make sure to leave enough space to house the controls (even a small cabinet will do). Each room with UFH will have its own valve (in the case of wet systems). But they should all be found in one spot. Nowadays, it is common to install smart systems that can be controlled with apps such as Hive. This makes it possible to control the temperature with your smartphone.
Advise Against Going the DIY Route
While dry systems are considerably easier to install, they are fairly labour intensive and require complex planning. Wet systems are even more difficult, requiring the use of fitting specialists. They will pay attention to important details such as boiler capacity, valve controls, and set up timers.
If you’re setting up the electric system yourself, you will need to hire a qualified electrician to connect the cables with the mains supply. In the case of wet systems, you will need to hire a certified plumber to do the installation for you. If you don’t know a plumber then your heating supplier will provide you with access to a network of plumbers with the right expertise.
Want to install a compatible UFH system in your house but don’t know where to start? At MP Moran, we have Polypipe UFH systems that are high-quality and durable. Get in touch with us now to learn more!