Page 80

HPM September 2017

80 U N D E R F L O O R H E AT I N G Get to grips with underfloor heating Steve Harris, technical services engineer at Wavin, explains why it is time for plumbers to take Underfloor heating (UFH) systems have grown ever more common across the residential sector in recent years. Not only are developers opting for the technology in new-build properties, homeowners are increasingly requesting it when renovating their house or apartment, keen to take advantage of its many benefits. With this in mind, it is becoming more and more important for plumbers to ensure they are up-to-date on their UFH knowledge. By understanding the many benefits of the technology over traditional heating, as well as the wide range of systems available, plumbers can have the confidence they need to recommend the right solutions for their customers’ needs. Advantages for end-users Underfloor heating offers a number of advantages for end-users over traditional central heating methods. Unlike bulky, wall-mounted radiators, it doesn’t disrupt the look of the décor in the room, and doesn’t impact on the useable space, as it is concealed under the floor. In addition, it offers enhanced thermal comfort compared with standard heating. For example, radiators rely on room air to transfer heat, which distributes heat unevenly throughout the space. With UFH, however, pipes carrying warm water gently heat the floor, which then distributes heat by natural radiation, resulting in an even temperature across the room. This means that the heating can be turned down to a lower temperature setting without affecting users’ comfort, helping to cut energy bills for building owners. On top of all this, UFH helps to create a healthier living environment for occupants. The warm floor inhibits the growth of fungi and dust mites, reducing the circulation of airborne allergenic particles. This can potentially help to minimise the risk of room occupants developing respiratory issues. There is a wide range of different UFH systems available, each of which can be used in a variety of applications. A staple system In new-build properties, where the floor is to be screeded after installing the heating, installers can opt for a staple system, which features a length of flexible pipe fixed in place at regular intervals. This allows considerable installation freedom, enabling the system to be fitted into irregularly shaped rooms with ease. Alternatively, if the rooms are of a regular, square shape, installers can use system plates. These are plastic sheets with pre-formed grips to hold the pipe in position, meaning the system can be installed quickly and efficiently with even, regular pipe spacing. System plates also protect against damage from foot traffic before the screed is laid, ensuring the finished system will be able to operate at optimum efficiency. On the other hand, in renovation projects, it is a good idea to choose low-build panel systems that have minimal impact on the height of the floor. There are panel systems available now that are just 15mm in height, allowing them to be fitted easily over existing floors with no need to remove the old flooring, or change the heights of doorways or steps. It is also possible to source low-build systems featuring additional insulation to minimise heat loss through the floor below, and diffuser plates that further improve the distribution of warmth throughout the space. When choosing systems for the upper storey of a house or apartment – whether on a new-build or a renovation project – it is important to select a system designed specifically for a joisted or battened floor. This is to minimise any impact on the height of the floor and to reduce heat loss into the space below. There are panel systems designed specifically for this application, with panels that can be easily slotted between joists, and featuring insulation and diffuser plates to ensure heat is directed into the room above. Underfloor heating’s profile is continuing to grow as a viable and cost-effective alternative to traditional central heating in both new-build and renovation projects. This is due not just to its aesthetic advantages, but its practical benefits too. The rise of UFH is showing no sign of abating, and it is possible it will become every bit as common as the traditional radiator in the not-too-distant future. By taking steps now to get up to speed on the suitable applications for the technology, and to brush up on installation skills, plumbers can take advantage of the booming interest in UFH. In doing so, they can ensure they have the expertise they need both to recommend the right solutions for a project’s needs, and to deliver great end-results too, playing their role in providing more comfortable homes for their customers. www.hpmmag.com September 2017 enquiry number 147 advantage of the growing popularity of underfloor heating systems UFH can be good for homeowners seeking a less intrusive design and for properties with limited space “Underfloor heating’s profile is continuing to grow as a viable and cost-effective alternative to traditional central heating in both new-build and renovation projects”


HPM September 2017
To see the actual publication please follow the link above