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HPM September 2017

84 U N D E R F L O O R H E AT I N G Underfloor heating offers a great deal of flexibility for customers looking to welcome elderly relatives to their home, says Andy Coy, product manager at Polypipe The state of social and elderly care has been one of the biggest national news stories in 2017, as the UK becomes an increasingly aged population. There are now more than 11 million people over the age of 65 living in the country, meaning that for the first time in history there are more pensioners than children under the age of 16 in the UK. More and more families are choosing multi-generational living by bringing their elderly relatives into their homes. When this happens, there is often some initial upheaval, and a lot of consideration of how to make the transition work for everyone involved. Managing key comforts such as providing a warm and flexible living space may not be at the top of the priority list, but getting this right will make such a difference. By offering the right guidance to homeowners on underfloor heating (UFH), installers can introduce a solution that is easy to manage, maximises space and offers energy and cost savings. Whether the challenge is managing space, remodelling a home or simply managing the financial pressures posed by shared living with an elderly relative, UFH can provide homeowners with the perfect solution for their home. Firstly, there are clear health benefits to using UFH. The systems are not hot to the touch, but will provide a consistent comfortable temperature that can be easily and flexibly controlled. In addition, UFH helps to reduce airborne dust which can be a key concern for elderly people with respiratory problems or allergies to manage. Bringing in an elderly relative needs careful management of existing space. Radiators can be limiting as a primary heat source in a room, dictating the space available and where furniture can be placed. For better flexibility, it is worth recommending a single room UFH kit to the homeowner, which can be installed without needing to replace and finance a full heating system. These kits are available across the market as systems which can be laid over existing floors and so can also be fitted with minimal disruption. Single room systems are also ideal when the homeowner is looking to “By offering the right guidance to homeowners on underfloor heating, installers can introduce a solution that is easy to manage, maximises space and offers energy and cost savings” improve and upgrade a neglected room. Often the arrival of an elderly relative will require the provision of additional bathroom space, and may need some design creativity to install the right equipment. Using these over the floor UFH systems helps to maximise available floor space to help with free movement, and will also remove the risk of scalding that hot radiators can cause. When it comes to powering these systems, there is a growing number of UFH compatible single zone heat sources, including small electric powered boilers and air or ground source heat pumps. It may be that the homeowner chooses to invest in a new extension or annex to meet the needs of their relative. Water-based UFH remains ideal for a new build extension and can often be installed without adding additional pressure to an existing heating system. Installation in new floor constructions is quick and simple, with the pipes being laid just before the screed is poured. There are also long-term cost benefits to recommend UFH to the homeowner – water-based UFH offers lower operating temperatures, which helps to reduce energy bills and provide cost savings. Underfloor heating operates at approximately 30ºC lower than radiators and, therefore, requires less power from the system’s boiler, offering lower operating costs for an equivalent heat output from radiator systems. Finally, the evolution of smart controls has arrived at the right time to help the ageing population. These systems offer the ability to customise the temperature and running times for each room meaning elderly relatives can stay toasty without affecting the programme for the rest of the house. The market also offers a variety of thermostats, from simple to operate dial controls to digital touchscreen displays, meaning the right control can be placed in the right room. Underfloor heating has been designed with flexibility in mind, offering installers the chance to provide an appropriate system for any type of project. And with an ageing population looking to their own family for support, water-based UFH is a good way to make a relative feel at home in new surroundings. In with the old www.hpmmag.com September 2017 enquiry number 149 For the first time in history, there are more pensioners living in the UK than children under the age of 16


HPM September 2017
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