Friday, 5 February 2016

A simple guide to underfloor heating

On cold winter mornings, what could be better than climbing out of bed onto a ready-warmed floor? Underfloor heating systems, which come in electric or hot water versions, allow you to do just that, and have grown greatly in popularity in recent years as an alternative to radiators in many modern homes. However, this luxury heating solution definitely doesn't come cheap, and there are several factors that you should weigh up before reaching a decision on whether underfloor heating is right for you. As plumbing tips are what we do best, this blog post will focus specifically on the hot water type of underfloor heating.

How it works

Hot water underfloor heating uses a system of connecting pipes laid underneath the floor, joined to a manifold (a system used to connect pipes together). The whole system is also linked up to a thermostat, allowing you to regulate the temperature in the same way that you would your usual central heating system. Due to the underfloor space required to fit this system, it is often easier to install underfloor heating in a new build; in retrofitting situations significant work on the existing floor may have to be undertaken to accommodate this.

The pros

As well as allowing you to enjoy the comfort of warm floors in winter, underfloor heating can provide an efficient way to heat a room, with heat rising slowly and evenly around the whole room rather in the "hotspots" created by radiators. As heat is mainly concentrated in the lower part of the room, little is wasted and because underfloor heating systems use water at a lower temperature than standard radiators, you may even find that you have reduced water heating costs! As underfloor heating often removes the need for radiators altogether, the extra wall space can be used for something else, and the valves for each room can be situated together in one spot along with the timer controls (just make sure you have somewhere with enough room for these, such as a cupboard). Finally, as the plastic pipes used are normally continuous, there's less chance of you having to pay out for a plumber to come and fix a leak.

The cons

One of the main disadvantages of underfloor heating is that floors can take longer to heat up than radiators, which are able to reach high temperatures much more quickly. It can be a pricey option, especially if it's going to be used in addition to the existing heating system and smaller systems may not always be able to fully replace radiators. Underfloor heating will also dictate the type of flooring you use. Stone, ceramic, slate and terracotta floorings are good options, however, the heat up time will depend on the thickness of the tiles, with thicker tiles taking longer to reach the optimum temperature. Only carpet with a thermal resistance of 2.5 tog or less is suitable for use with underfloor heating, so remember to check this before purchasing. Timber and laminates or vinyls can also be used, however, as not all will be compatible it's important to check first whether they're recommended for use this way.

If reading this guide has convinced you that warm floors are the way to go, remember to ensure your system works as efficiently as possible and reduce the risk of costly breakdowns occurring by getting it fitted by a professional. To find a Quality Plumber in your area, head to FindAQualityPlumber.co.uk


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