27 Sep 2016

Underfloor heating options for your home

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When Paul and Gill Regan bought a dated two-bed bungalow in Plymstock, Devon, they planned an extensive renovation. Aside from extending to add much needed space, a key part of their project included upgrading the existing radiator heating system to warm water underfloor heating.

Paul and Gill had previously enjoyed underfloor heating in their last few homes and for them, going back to radiators was not an option. The benefits far outweighed the effort, giving all the freedom to place fixtures and fittings without any restricted wall and floor space, together with the feeling of even, radiant warmth.

With many low profile retrofit solutions available for renovation projects, they decided on LoPro Max, the latest retrofit system from Nu-Heat that’s just 22mm in height.

“We were adding an extension, so the system had to easily go over two different floor structures, from floorboards to new concrete. We also wanted as little height build-up as possible, a rapid heat-up time and good control – it offers all of those things” explains Paul.

A simple, quick installation
The LoPro Max system has been designed for a simple and quick installation. It uses robust castellated panels that are simply laid over the existing floor to hold the tube in place.

Unlike other retrofit solutions, which typically use pre-routed boards of some form, this is a wet system which benefits from a specialist self-levelling compound, LoPro QuickSet. It’s this compound that gives the solution an impressive heat output that’s around 50% higher than a typical retrofit solution – perfect for older homes with lower levels of insulation, or rooms with large amounts of glazing.

Paul and Gill’s new underfloor heating system took just a couple of days to install. On day one, the tube was installed throughout the property and the system was pressure tested. On day two, the specialist self-levelling compound was poured.

The perfectly level surface left by the LoPro QuickSet compound was another benefit for the couple, as it meant their chosen floor covering, Amtico, could be laid as soon as the floor was dry without the need for any additional levelling.

A luxury heating solution
One of the common misconceptions of warm water underfloor heating is that it can be difficult and disruptive to install in a renovation, which is no longer the case. Thanks to new retrofit solutions, like the one used by the Regans, underfloor heating is easily installed in a wide range of project types.

“We’d definitely recommend LoPro Max to anyone looking at underfloor heating for their renovation. The whole process has been no more disruptive than any other part of the renovation, so why wouldn’t you?!”

www.nu-heat.co.uk

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New Guidance Available

New guidance outlining best practice for the installation of underfloor heating has been issued by the NHBC Foundation. 'Underfloor heating: a guide for house builders' sets out a number of recommendations to make sure underfloor heating is as effective as possible. These range from making sure pipework distribution is properly planned to maintain an even temperature across each room, to recommending that installation takes place after external windows and doors have been fitted and once the home is watertight to mitigate the risk of frost damage. To download the guide, please visit the publications page on the NHBC website:

www.nhbcfoundation.org

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Take control

There a host of products on the market that enable homeowners to really take control of their heating systems.

Take for example, Gaialink. Gaia provides you the unique opportunity to control either your hydronic or electric underfloor heating system from a distance. Combining the wireless element with an app-able feature enables you to effortlessly control your home heating system via an app on your smartphone.

The Gaialink system is based on an innovative, centrally-placed colour touch screen panel, which enables all room temperatures and electrical devices within the home to be easily controlled individually or together.

The system is aimed at multiple heating zone installations and is designed to deliver maximum heating comfort while reducing energy consumption. Simple and easy to install and commission, Gaialink communicates wirelessly with individual room sensors and floor thermostats to give precise temperature control.

The Gaialink system is simple and uncluttered, making it both good looking and easy to operate. The intuitive graphic display with its colour touch screen is easily personalised so that daily heating schedules can be controlled.

www.gaia.co.uk

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Product in focus: An integrated underfloor heating solution

When it comes to long term success and possible time and cost savings, we recommend an integrated underfloor heating system from a single manufacturer, Schlüter-Systems, for a guaranteed, lasting installation.

Heating under tile and stone coverings in the home can be an extremely beneficial method of ensuring efficient heating, providing effective moisture management and preventing damp, mould and fungus by drying out any residual moisture, and ultimately providing heat and comfort underfoot, especially on chilly winter mornings.

Under wall heating is a relatively new, innovative heating solution that not only offers a great source of heat but is also a safer alternative to a towel rail or radiator; particularly for children and the elderly. Under wall heating from Schlüter-Systems is a unique solution that is very easy to install and allows radiated heating underneath the tile.

The electrical heating system for under tile and stone coverings, Schlüter-DITRA-HEAT-E creates comfortably warm tile and stone coverings and can be used in hallways, kitchens, wetrooms, bathrooms, en-suites, shower-rooms or anywhere within the home under tile or stone coverings.

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Schlüter-DITRA-HEAT-E has been updated with Schlüter-DITRA-HEAT-TB matting. The special Schlüter-DITRA-HEAT-TB thermal break, in addition to reducing impact sound, enables significantly faster heating of floor coverings. The revolutionary integrated thermal break reduces heat loss into the screed and subfloor, and it also benefits from up to 70% quicker warm-up time on concrete than other electric underfloor heating systems. The system consists of uncoupling and waterproofing mat, heating cables and intelligent thermostats as a single source solution.

An alternative to an electric underfloor heating system is a wet or hydronic system. Underfloor heating systems that are considered the most energy efficient are water-fed systems, such as Schlüter-BEKOTEC-THERM as they have been found to use up to two-thirds less than the energy used by electrical systems.

Schlüter-BEKOTEC-THERM is a low height, energy-efficient and quick-reacting modular underfloor heating assembly. This system can be used in new build and renovation projects, and it is a greener choice with economical, energy saving properties.

Its low supply temperature of approximately 30°C, compared to between 50-55°C in some traditional systems, means Schlüter-BEKOTEC-THERM is extremely effective both with conventional heat generation methods and regenerative energy sources, such as ground and air source heat pumps. Since the thinner screed requires much less material, the final construction is lighter and lower than traditional screed installations, saving considerable construction time. Furthermore, they can be easily integrated into an existing heating system to provide underfloor heating for some rooms and radiators for others. Another major advantage is that they can also be used to cool the floor down in the summer either via passive cooling of the unheated water or by pumping chilled water through the pipes.

The system consists of modular screed panel, screed, pipe, manifolds and thermostats, making it a single source solution.

As well as its performance and ease of use, what makes Schlüter-BEKOTEC-THERM really stand out from the crowd is its five year covering and assembly warranty.

www.schluter.co.uk

Helping self-builders land on their feet

The wide range of underfloor heating solutions available on the market provides a myriad of installation options, providing a solution for every situation.

Solid floor underfloor heating is ideal for new build projects where the floor type has not yet been constructed. Light weight plastic floor panels can be installed quickly and easily before being covered with screed, with the floor covering added on top. Tile, carpet, wood or laminate can be installed as the overall floor covering.

Overlay systems can be fitted over existing floors and are a fantastic option for those renovating a home or as a later addition to new-build projects if the floor has already been constructed. These low profile systems (just 18mm deep in the case of Polypipe’s offering) allow underfloor heating to be installed in projects where the installation of traditional underfloor systems would otherwise require expensive excavation or where the existing floor would need to be raised to an unacceptable level.

Using Modular Heating Panels (MHPs) means that installing UFH on upper floors has become much easier. MHPs deliver a pre-configured solution that can be easily fitted and connected on site. They can be strategically placed in areas that need heat the most, providing maximum efficiency while avoiding areas where heating would be unnecessary, such as under baths and fitted units.

Non-invasive, efficient and simple to install, the range of water-based underfloor heating systems on offer allows self-builders to choose the option that’s right for their project, without placing limitations on their current, or future, interior design goals.

www.polypipe.com/housing/underfloor-heating

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