After 5 years of supplying thousands of our internet customers with electric underfloor heating we thought it time to consider water under floor heating as an additional option to offer in our product range.
After extensive research it became clear to us that the market for “wet systems” - as they are commonly referred to - was becoming more acceptable for new builds, where heating the room is not an option but an absolute necessity. The traditional form of heating would usually be a boiler and radiator central heating system; however, an alternative solution is now becoming more acceptable in the form of piped, hot water under floor heating. The pipework is embedded within the cement screed at the outset, leaving the freedom to choose virtually any form of final floor covering.
Water underfloor heating has now become the conventional alternative for new build houses, commercial applications, home extensions, conservatories and refurbishments. Due to the low operating temperature of the circulating water, the great advantage about a wet system is that not only does it work with a standard condensing boiler, it can also be coupled with a heat source pump or a solar heating system.
The principals of piped water under floor heating relies on a continuous feed of pumped, circulating warm water – via a mixing valve to an adjusted lower temperature - through the sub-floor substrate; usually a 65-75mm cement screed, but equally can be installed over timber sub-floors.
In the case of a cement screeded sub-floor, this thermal mass becomes a background heat store. To offset the drop in temperature of the cement screed during overnight or off peak times, the thermostat settings can be adjusted to a lower level (setback temperature) to retain the temperature of the screed to within a few degrees below daytime settings - typically 3 - 4°C lower.
If the underfloor heating were to be turned off completely the cement screed would cool down too far below optimum background temperature: depending on time of the year, this would delay room warm up times by up to 2 hours. In order to prevent the screed thermal mass dropping too low, it is more efficient to maintain the floor at a constant lower temperature. Using this setback method will quickly bring the floor heating system back up to operating, ambient thermostat settings.
Water underfloor heating has many advantages over traditional radiator heating. Radiators convect heat into the room, creating rising currents of warm air concentrating at the ceiling level: this type of convection heating is wasteful and inefficient. Underfloor heating operates by radiating heat energy into the room at the floor level, gently and evenly warming the room: this method of heating is cheaper to run than radiator heating by up to 20%. When the pipework is incorporated in the screed at the outset, the installation costs are no more than radiator systems; coupled with the added savings on operating costs, the payback time for a water underfloor system is financially viable.
Modern underfloor heating is unobtrusive, allowing the freedom to position furnishings and units wherever you want, without having to compromise on design considerations that would otherwise be the case with conventional, wall mounted radiators. By eliminating old fashioned, inefficient radiators from the walls, the days of having to arrange furniture in the warmest spots in the room, close to radiators, are over.
Finally, with radiator heating, no matter how warm the ambient temperature in the room, the floor will always be uncomfortably cold, particularly where hard floor surfaces like tiles or laminate flooring has been chosen. The great advantage of water underfloor heating is that this form of heating not only warms the room more efficiently at a lower cost, it also gives a luxurious Mediterranean feel to walk on; tiles and laminate floors now have a welcoming warm surface.
Floor Heating Ltd are an online company specialising in the supply of underfloor heating systems throughout the UK and Europe offering a complete range of electric & water underfloor heating within the UK with a next day delivery service.
For more information on the complete range of underfloor heating products please visit the Floor Heating website.
Homes & Gardens