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HPM September 2017

Underfloor heating was once thought of as a new build product, but as Michelle Taylor, underfloor heating product manager at Myson discusses, it has proven its value in The secret to every good underfloor heating (UFH) system is great system design, high quality products, and excellent control. This being the case, with the range of methods that we now have available for installing UFH, we’re started to see it as a very good option in a far wider range of properties. This includes those that have stood for several centuries. In the past couple of years in particular, there has been quite an increase in the use of UFH in much older properties. This is either in combination with other products, such as radiators, or on its own throughout the entire building. The steady, constant warmth which UFH can provide seems particularly suited to older buildings which benefit from a fairly constant temperature, especially during a harsh winter. Heat loss calculation Historic properties vary enormously in construction materials and methods, so it is, as always, essential to consider all the factors that would influence the heat loss calculation. Many older buildings aren’t as well insulated and most do not have double glazing. Where insulation can be improved, it should be. However, there will be some cases in which, due to regulations, this is not possible. It is important to make sure that the heat loss calculation is as accurate as possible, using an online calculator. When designing a heating system to deliver the required heat, it is wise to consider whether more than one type of product will provide the best total solution. In the 12th century church of St Helena, in South Scarle, Newark, several tons of rubble was removed when the old floor was excavated. This was done to create sufficient depth to install new floor joists, with insulation and an aluminium diffuser plate system fitted to carry our Floortec hydronic pipework. U N D E R F L O O R H E AT I N G To provide extra warmth, several flat fronted ULOW-E2 radiators were also installed, blending into the ancient, white painted walls. This radiator delivers ambient heat in static mode, but when the outdoor temperature drops unexpectedly or extra heat is required it automatically switches to dynamic mode. This activates a small bank of fans inside the radiator casing, which deliver a boost of extra heat when needed. This total solution serves the historic church well in its new role as a community centre for the village, maintaining steady warmth for timetabled events such as church services, playgroups, and societies. It also responds rapidly to unexpected cold snaps, providing sufficient warmth for more spontaneous gatherings. St Helena’s church is all on one level, but uses a mixture of heating products to create its best total solution, while the latest addition to Battle Abbey School, in Sussex, a sixth form study centre in a Tudor period building, uses hydronic UFH on every floor. This demonstrates that while we often think of UFH as being a ground floor solution and the radiator as an upper floor solution, it 82 isn’t always the case. Every property is different, so every complete solution should be individual. At Battle Abbey School, the new resource, across the historic high street from the main building, had never had a heating system of any kind, and the building’s decorative walls and undulating floors presented quite a challenge. Previous owners had shied away from attempting to install any kind of permanent solution, but had relied instead on plug in electric heaters, which were neither energy efficient nor satisfactory. Wall mounting radiators on wooden panelling was not an option, yet comfort heating was sorely needed. Our design team came up with a neat solution, using aluminium diffuser plates mounted on a wooden batten system which precisely follows the contours of the floors and the distinctly irregular shapes of the rooms across several storeys. Aluminium diffuser plates were then cut into individually determined shapes to fit the available spaces, creating a bespoke system which was truly made to measure. It was then possible to lay UFH throughout the property, which was eventually carpeted throughout. The quality of the system in a historic setting is critical. In a listed or protected property you really do have to get it right first time, and be confident that the system will last well and work efficiently. Sourcing high-quality components entirely from a single manufacturer is key to success, as you will then be able to access expert advice and technical support when designing the system. Unbiased advice The most unbiased advice will come from a manufacturer that makes every kind of product that you are likely to need, from underfloor components, to radiators, fan convectors, towel warmers, electric heating, heating valves, and electronic controls. This will also give you peace of mind that all the component parts of the total solution have been designed and developed to work well together. Considering it was first pioneered by the Romans, perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise that UFH has proved it still deserves its place in history. A place in history www.hpmmag.com September 2017 enquiry number 148 properties that are not only established, but also historic and listed It’s important to remember that every property is unique and, therefore, may benefit from multiple or different heating solutions


HPM September 2017
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