As the “Ask for Underfloor Heating” campaign continues, I would like to address some of the common homeowner concerns, reservations and highlight some aspects to think about;
Generally, Underfloor works great without any special set up/integrations issues, although some may require a “by-pass” or “heat leak” – a simply mini-circuit the boiler can push hot water round that will prevent water that is too hot returning to the boiler.
There is a very small range of combi-boilers on the UK market that have intelligent radiator controls within the control system, these can be problematic and are best avoided, I have known electricians find a way around the system but it’s best to avoid.
This kind of heat source is ideal for Underfloor Heating, integration is simple and sometimes. However on occasions I have know essential, nominal cost items, to be missed. Excluding these items (buffer vessels or low loss headers) often leads to very poor efficiencies. Take advice from manufacturers, installers and check industry best practice information (via BEAMA Underfloor Heating and The Heat Pump Association).
Your Underfloor Heating supplier will need to design the system specifically for use with a heat pump as the system temperature is lower, there is no need for a blending unit (which is required with a boiler) although a manifold circulation pump may be required. Floor constructions will need careful consideration and calculation – aspects that are straightforward for a company who provide design systems on a daily basis.
It’s now part of building regulations that Underfloor Heating system must have individual room control, albeit with a few small exceptions. A lot of telephone conversations start with “I am wondering if you provide a troubleshooting service as my underfloor doesn’t work properly…” “room x is too hot…” “room y is too cold” “we only have two thermostats…” “I was offered a great deal…” all of which relate to poor consideration to control – or misguided capital cost saving.
Hopefully, those calls will fade, although ‘kit system’ are available you really do need to careful consider the control options, however, if you’re looking at a system design company that offers an indemnified design, these considerations will be part and parcel of the system.
Thermostats are available in a wide range of styles, wireless, dial, LCD display, programmable, app linked control and so on…get the ones that suit you and will continue to suit you for 10 years +.
True, your system is always on, 24/7, 365 days a year. However, it’s not always heating your home – the call for heat is only activated when a thermostat picks up a drop in room temperature. Take care in your room thermostat settings, if you don’t need one room to be heated to 20C all the time simply set it to 18C – Your control set up will either be via programmable thermostats or setback temperature settings, make the best out of your already efficient heating systems. Although the thermostat can be turned right down it’s a good idea to keep the minimum temperature set at 16C to prevent damp.
Some installers have tried a wide range of systems, once they have spent an extra few days on a job, rolling pipe back up, drilling shorter routes through walls, paying electricians to retrofit additional thermostats they tend to use a designed system more than an off the shelf ‘kit’.
Smaller single zones via a kit are straightforward, and the more experienced installer will possibly look at using their own method for pipe spacings, manifold size and controls – but generally the more a system is planned out, the more calculations/qualifications have been completed, generally the quicker the install, the more efficient the system and certainly the less exposure to a problematic event. Getting the right system at the right price is important, be mindful, the ‘cheap’ system that you are burying in your screed can’t be taken back at a later date! Take advice from one or more BEAMA Underfloor Heating members (the Underfloor Heating Manufacturers Association).
I am not going to say come to Tailored Heat because we consider all the above etc etc etc – just take advice, take good advice. With the purchasing decisions you make, you will either feel confident or you will feel uneasy, ask questions. If someone is selling something on price, what is it not doing that another is? Ask the questions. Have considerations been made regarding you floor finishes, what will my room temperatures be during the winter months? Ask ask ask! By the way…we do all of the above at Tailored Heat, so if you do want to ask…ask us!! Take a look at the Underfloor Heating Systems page by clicking here