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HPM-04-APR-2016

Got a story? Ring us on 01732 748041 or e-mail twood@unity-media.com UNDERFLOORHEATING Demystifying underfloor heating Gareth Samuel, product manager, Hep2O at Wavin, busts some underfloor heating myths and explains how flexible systems are making life easy... Over the last few years underfloor heating (UFH) has undergone a step-change, moving from a high-end luxury to a mainstream solution seen across an unprecedented range of buildings and bringing comfortable heating efficiency to clients. However, it is still wrongly regarded by many installers and potential clients as something of a complicated and involved heating solution in terms of its specification and installation. This could not be further from the truth. Recent advances in system design and supporting technology in the form of specification tools have made it even easier for installers and merchants to offer UFH as an efficient, alternative space heating solution. In turn this means that clients in sectors which might not previously have thought they could consider the solution now have it readily available. SPACE AND EFFICIENCY BENEFITS Homeowners like UFH because it gives them comfortable, even warmth combined with reductions in fuel bills of up to 20% as well as extra living space thanks to the lack of radiators, which can be a major selling point in today’s new developments with increasingly tight building footprints. The space and efficiency benefits are also key for clients such as local authorities and commercial customers who need to maximise all available space. UFH is also popular with building owners who are looking to provide sustainable energy by connecting heating to a renewable energy source such as a heat pump or geothermal system, as these typically require lower water temperatures than traditional space heating methods. In addition, UFH is low maintenance, loses less heat through the building fabric, and provides a healthier, less stuffy atmosphere. Recent research has shown that UFH is also becoming a firm favourite with installers, with 73% now recommending it as their heating system of choice. Installers are broadening their range of clients from new build domestic projects to the commercial sector and home renovations for example. Misconceptions still exist however that the technology is highly complex, and manufacturers of modern UFH systems have invested in innovation to help simplify the process of specifying and installing systems to help installers deliver on customer requirements in every situation. Although every floor will have its own specific WWW.HPMMAG.COM requirements, the flexibility and capabilities of modern UFH systems means installing them is no more complicated than fitting traditional radiators. Systems can now be quickly and securely installed in a wide range of floor types from new or existing screeded floors to fully floating, battened and joisted floors. They can also be retrofitted onto existing floors which don’t require a void using low-build systems with ultra-thin insulation panels which minimise build height and avoid major disruption. Comprising panels, piping, manifolds and heating controls, installation is simple and fast with Hep2O. Despite being lightweight, installations can withstand point loadings and can be installed by just one person if necessary. UFH can be installed in one room, throughout a building or solely in a new extension, and if the existing heating system remains in use the UFH system has the flexibility to enable it to be combined with other heat sources such as radiators if required. The ability to zone UFH systems gives users the potential to precisely control different areas using thermostats. In order to do this manifolds need to be correctly balanced to fine-tune heat 70 APRIL 2016 HEATING & PLUMBING MONTHLY outputs, however, modern manifolds such as Hep2O’s Composite help installers do this with minimal fuss. The manifold enables installers to configure any required arrangement from simple flexible modules, to precisely suit the installation. The Hep2O UFH system has been designed under an exacting Quality and Environmental Management regime. The flexible 15mm polybutylene pipe used in the system is guaranteed for 100 years in UFH applications, meeting the most stringent whole life demands. SIMPLE SPECIFICATION WITH HEPCALC Believing that more should be done to support installers in delivering UFH projects and help them to offer it to more customers, Wavin launched a free online estimator tool. HepCalc makes the design and specification process easier than ever before. Installers are guided through the ordering process step by step, with a series of simple questions collecting relevant project information including room size, floor type, fixing method and control requirements. The HepCalc software quickly provides a detailed specification detailing all components required, including volume and price. Installers then just have to take this to their local merchant and order the parts over the counter. The software also provides users with heating output details ensuring the system meets customer requirements. UFH systems such as Hep2O are extremely versatile, and suit both new build and retrofit applications. Thanks to the ongoing advances being made by manufacturers, these energy saving systems can now be installed in almost any type of floor, and any size of project. As well as systems becoming more flexible to suit a wider variety of jobs than ever before, support for installers has evolved to provide an easier than ever means of specification, in the form of HepCalc. The industry now has the means to provide exactly what customers want from UFH on demand, in a highly practical and efficient way. With the online specification tool added to the flexibility offered by the Hep2O system, installers, merchants and clients from sectors ranging from the commercial world to housing associations, UFH is now a cost-effective option for everyone. enquiry number 146 Manifolds must be correctly balanced to fine-tune heat outputs


HPM-04-APR-2016
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