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Underfloor Heating

Underfloor Heating Kits for your Home

Underfloor heating is becoming an increasingly popular option for heating new buildings in the UK.  The main advantages are that the room is heated more evenly and you can get the same level of warmth from a lower temperature, making savings of up to 20% on other forms of central heating.DIY ProjectsUnderfloor heating systems are now more affordable than ever and as each room can be dealt with one at a time they are perfect for restoration or refurbishing projects.  Underfloor heating kits are also fairly easy to install and so can form part of a DIY project.The easiest system to install for a DIY enthusiast is electric underfloor heating, which is ideal for tiled, laminate or carpeted floors.  These systems are programmed by using an underfloor heating thermostat in each room and are controlled throughout the night and day.  DIY water underfloor heating kits are also available, but are slightly trickier to install.DIY Underfloor Heating KitsA variety of underfloor heating kits are available and it is important to ensure that the one you purchase is suitable for the room and the type of flooring where it is to be installed.  Underfloor heating kits should provide all the equipment required and some companies offer a bespoke kit, which is custom made to suit your specific requirements.All underfloor electric heating kits should come with a guarantee.  When purchasing electric cable underfloor heating systems it is important to check the power consumption.  If this is less than 3kw the cables can be wired up as a fused spur on a ring main.  However, if the total power consumption exceeds 3kw it will have to have its own separate circuit and be fitted with a 30 or 32 amp MCB at the consumer unit.

Installing Underfloor Heating

Underfloor Heating: the BasicsThe benefit of underfloor heating is that the heat is directed into a living area from below.  Traditional types of home heating revolve around wall fitted radiators, open hearths or stoves.  What these types of heating have in common is that the heat is dispersed quickly by rising to the ceiling of the room. Underfloor heating is dispersed more slowly; the heat takes longer to rise and is emitted over a longer period of time through the material of the floor (e.g. bricks or tiles).PreparationBefore you start laying the underfloor heating, consider carefully where it is best placed.  It may be costly and time consuming to have to dig out again in case you have made a mistake.  There are two main types of underfloor heating: electrical wires and hot water pipes.  Electrical wire heating is most suited to floors made from wood or other relatively porous types of material.  Hot water pipes can be laid with harder material such as brick or tiles.Test the SystemBefore you refill the floor, having laid the underfloor heating, you should test the electrical wires or hot water pipes.  This is again so that you do not have to dig it up in case of faulty connections or leaks. The hot water pipes should normally function well, but some may have been damaged inadvertently. You naturally should avoid any chance of leaks.

Electric or Water - Two types of underfloor heating

If you are thinking about installing an underfloor heating system, you have two primary choices: a warm water system or an electric one. Whichever system you choose, there are definite benefits to underfloor heating that go beyond aesthetics.How Underfloor Heating WorksWhether choosing an electric or water system, underfloor heating works the same way - by warming a room from the floor up. This means that people begin to feel the effects more quickly than they would with conventional radiators. The heat is also radiated rather than convected, which means the room is warmed more evenly across its space. Warm Water Underfloor Heating SystemA warm water underfloor heating system uses flexible pipes looped under the floor and connected to an existing boiler or radiator via a manifold. Any type of fuel can be used to heat the water, including conventional substances like gas and oil, or contemporary methods like Agas or solar panels. Because water underfloor heating systems rely on long-duration heating, a condensing boiler is often recommended as a cost-effective choice. Electric Underfloor Heating SystemAn electric underfloor heating system usually comes in thin, installable ‘mat’ form. Placed underneath flooring and connected to a power supply, this type of system uses a thermostat to control the heating activity. Underfloor mats are much easier to install than warm water piping, and can often simply be glued beneath the floor tiles. However, electric underfloor heating systems tend to cost more money to operate than their warm water counterparts.

Underfloor heating electric mesh

Underfloor heating is a common alternative to heating rooms with conventional wood, gas, oil or coal burners, electric heaters or water radiator networks. The latter means of heating use convected heat, which circulates heat in air currents in a room.  This quickly tends to rise to the top of a room, thereby being lost somewhat to the occupants. Underfloor heating uses radiant heat spread out more evenly over the floor surface and is longer lasting; therefore more efficient. Underfloor heating is typically water based, using a series of underfloor water pipes, or electric based, using electric cables or mesh.As indicated above, one of the key requirements for a successful underfloor heating system is that it is spread out under the surface of a floor so that the heat is spread out very evenly across a room. In effect, the whole floor acts as a radiator. Electric mesh is particularly successful at achieving this effect.One of the benefits of electric mesh is that it is easy to install, either by a professional or on a DIY basis as part of an underfloor heating kit. It does not need to be stuck onto the selected heating areas but is simply laid out over it.  It is normally easy to cut into desired shapes so as to fit into the room area.Also, electric mesh mats can be used with either wooden, laminate, tile or stone floors as it is thin enough to fit into most underfloor spaces and is unlikely to damage softer material such as wood.

Solar Powered Underfloor Heating

Solar panels convert sunshine to solar electric power and the solar electricity is then used to run the electrical devices in a building. Any surplus power that is created can be sold to the power company which helps to eliminate the cost of expensive batteries and can also help with running costs.Using solar power to heat your home is a good low cost option, and using it for underfloor heating is something well worth considering. The new solar panels are highly efficient and the running costs extremely low and even in the UK this is a practical option for most homes.Because underfloor heating runs at a lower temperature than conventional heating - between 35 and 50C - it is ideally suited to using solar power. Each room of the house has a separate circuit and thermostat and underfloor units are ideal for both carpeted and wooden or laminate flooring. The solar panels are fitted into the roof and then connected to batteries which run the underfloor panels and the hot water system. The benefits include a healthier, allergy free environment and no radiators, making furnishing and decorating your home easier. As with all underfloor heating systems, it is cheap to install in a new home but can be more expensive in an existing property.Although solar heating seems risky where there is less sunshine, the new style solar panel can adapt even the smallest amounts of sunshine into solar power, saving money as well as being environmentally friendly.

Choosing the right floor heating for your conservatory

There are two uniquely different choices when it comes to looking at a floor heating system for your conservatory. Underfloor heating kits can be purchased at any local home improvement store, and you can choose between electric underfloor heating kits or wet underfloor heating kits. Each has their own unique advantages and installation processes, and depending upon the personal preference of the individual each has their own unique desirability factors. Electric underfloor heating is one of the easiest to install because there are no moving parts and it can literally be put down as a heat mat underneath whatever flooring material is in place or that will be put in place. There are leads connected to the heat mat which are connected to the nearest electoral outlet, as well as an underfloor heating thermostat that allows you to control the temperature of the floor at all times. Water underfloor heating systems require a network of pipes within the screeded subfloor, and are fairly complex in comparison to the electric underfloor heating systems. The pipes must be plumbed directly into the heating system or a radiator extension, or they can be plumbed directly into the boiler for the house, which allows more control over the temperature via the underfloor heating thermostat. Regardless of whether you are adding floor heating to a new conservatory or upgrading an existing one, underfloor heating systems are the most ideal way to warm this particular type of room, not only because of its efficiency but because it is extremely simple and out of sight.

Under tile heating in the kitchen

Installing electric underfloor heating is one of the easiest ways to add an extra level of comfort to your home. In the case of kitchens in particular, everyone can relate to those moments on cold winter mornings when you walk into the kitchen and your feet immediately freeze because the tiled floor is nearly as cold as it is outside, despite the fact that the radiators are pumping hot air into the room. With under tile heating your kitchen floor can be transformed by an underfloor heating kit in conjunction with underfloor heating insulation, to create a kitchen floor that is as warm as toast. No more standing on a freezing floor while you prepare breakfast on those winter mornings, and no more surprises as you step out of bed and make your way into the kitchen only to find yourself shocked when your bare feet hit the cold tiled floor. Underfloor heating is a common method of heating being added to many homes in the modern era. DIY underfloor heating systems are now available at almost every local home improvement store and are designed for easy installation with full instructions being supplied.Customers have the choice between water underfloor heating kits or electric underfloor heating kits; it is a matter of personal preference.  Wet underfloor heating works great for homes that have solar panels or solar water heaters in place, while traditional homes can use electric underfloor heating to create the perfect floor heating system that is also quite economical to run.

Installing underfloor heating in the kitchen

Having warm kitchen tiles underneath your feet while cooking breakfast on a cold winter morning is the perfect way to add that little extra something to the house which helps you enjoy it that much more. Every individual’s house is their place of enjoyment, their place of relaxation, and the place where ultimate comfort should be available. When looking at floor heating systems, there is only one way to create the perfect kitchen floor, and that is by using an underfloor heating kit. Tile is one of the most common types of material used on kitchen floors, and in the case of underfloor heating systems there are several layers to the actual installation process that need to be researched prior to any DIY underfloor heating project being started. Regardless of whether the kitchen floor is concrete based or wood based, there needs to be a layer of underfloor heating insulation between the substrate and the tile itself, with the under tile heating mat in place on top of the insulation underneath the tile. The underfloor heating insulation is fastened in place using a flexible tile adhesive and the electric underfloor heating kit is placed over the insulation. Then additional flexible tile adhesive is spread over the top and the tile itself is installed directly on top of the heat mat. Underfloor heating has never been easier to install than it is now with the modern DIY underfloor heating kits. All of the relevant tools and materials can be purchased at a local improvement store, allowing you to add an underfloor heating kit to your home quickly and easily.

How to Install Underfloor Heating

If you’re upgrading a kitchen, finding some wall space to fit a radiator can be tricky. Thankfully, easy-to-install underfloor heating means you won’t need to. Whilst it may form a part of a wider property development project, in itself it’s a DIY job - you won’t need architects or expert building trade skills, although some confidence in electrical work would be an asset. You’ll need to chisel a channel in the wall to fit some cable, so a little plastering, painting and decorating will be necessary to finish the job off properly.Remove the skirting boards and plan the underfloor heating layout (heating coils usually come embedded in plastic mesh for convenience these days - all you do is roll it out flat). Taking care to cut only the mesh and not the heating coil, cover the floor area, ensuring you don’t go under kitchen units or overlap the wiring. Position the kit’s thermostatic control on the wall close to floor level, and chisel a vertical channel in the wall beside it to house a conduit - this holds a cable from the floor attached to a sensor which is wired directly into the thermostat. Get a qualified electrician to check your wiring and connect it all up to the mains.Finally, spread adhesive over the mesh and tile. You might prefer laminate or wood floors, but check the specifications of the underfloor heating system first (you might need to place insulation material beneath the element). Reposition the skirting boards and cut doors to open freely over the new floor level, open the fridge, crack open the sparkling wine, and toast yourself.

Underfloor Heating with Renewable Energy

Although underfloor heating uses less energy and heats more evenly than conventional central heating, it still relies on carbon energy sources. However, solar or geothermal energy are increasingly used to power water underfloor heating systems. They are ideally suited to this technique as it requires lower temperatures than traditional radiators. Electric underfloor heating cannot however be powered in this way.Most renewable energy heating systems are installed in new homes and commercial buildings as the conversion of an old building is prohibitively expensive, as well as often being ineffective. They have been used for many years in the USA and across Europe. In the UK, solar panels are usually installed as an integral element of zero carbon or low energy construction techniques. Unlike solar energy, ground source energy does require electricity to run pumps, taking heat out of the ground. These geo exchange systems are mostly seen in large scale construction but are becoming increasingly viable for domestic buildings, and are usually combined with underfloor heating kits. The efficiency of these low energy buildings is further increased by the use of underfloor heating thermostats which allow every zone to be set with automatic temperature controls.With the development of highly efficient new materials and techniques, low energy homes installed with underfloor heating are both economically viable and environmentally friendly. However, although running costs tend to be low, the initial installation costs are expensive. Make sure you are fully informed first and take advantage of any advice and renewable energy grants.

Aesthetic advantages of Underfloor Heating

When you are planning where your furniture will be placed in a room, the position of the windows and doors has to be taken into consideration. In homes with traditional central heating systems, you will also be restricted by where the radiators or storage heaters are positioned. If you position a wardrobe, sideboard or a TV stand in front of a radiator, you will risk heat damage to the furniture as well as reducing the radiator’s efficiency. However, with underfloor heating, you have much greater freedom with your room layouts, and you will gain more space because there are no visible heating devices, it’s all hidden. Both electric and water underfloor heating systems have a set of controls to enable you to control the temperatures of each zone, and to allow easy maintenance. These are usually placed in a cupboard, often alongside the electricity fuse box. In a modern home with sleek fitted units and uncluttered spaces, the aesthetic attractions of floor heating are undeniable. Another disadvantage with radiators is that they can spring a leak and spoil your expensive fitted carpets, and if you are installing under tile heating, you don’t have to cut tiles to fit around radiator pipes. Traditional heating works by creating draughts and when it circulates air through a room it takes dust with it. Underfloor heating, on the other hand, reduces the amount of dust, keeping rooms cleaner and creating better environments for people who suffer from dust related allergies.

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