Underfloor heating has moved on a little since roman times. You no longer have to get your slave to light fires under your house. These days we have dozens of different systems to choose from, none of which rely on the heat from a bonfire.
The great thing about underfloor heating is, if it’s done right, you never have to think about heating. Your home or business premises are comfortably warm and you save an estimated 25% of your heating costs over heating with radiators.
Underfloor heating top ten reasons to use it
- Even heat throughout the room — no cold spots
- 25% fuel saving over radiator systems
- Freedom to put furniture exactly where you want it
- Fewer draughts
- No pipes or radiators to hurt little fingers or bump heads
- No dust traps
- Easier decorating — no radiators to paint behind
- No rusting or corrosion
- Style neutral and modern — no ugly inconvenient yellowing monoliths to spoil the ambiance
- Practically maintenance free — throw away your air vent key!
Underfloor heating cost
It’s not cheap. You can safely budget at underfloor heating being double the cost of radiator heating systems. Though, as with everything, it depends upon exactly what you need to get the job done. If you are starting from scratch, with a new-build property, it doesn’t cost an awful lot more to integrate underfloor heating into the floor structure. But if you are trying to install underfloor heating systems into an old property, the costs can rise significantly, especially when using overlay systems.
Types of underfloor heating for different applications
We use a variety of manufacturers’ products, as we believe each has their strength in one area and weakness in another, and some have products that are uniquely suited to specific applications.
Pictured above is the Myson system clipped directly to the polyisocyanurate sheet insulation in a new-build property. This is the system we most often use for new-build houses and offices.
To the left is the Emmeti equivalent, which is also clipped to polyisocyanurate insulation sheets in this instance in new-build offices.
The pipe comes in anything up to 600 metre rolls, so there is very little waste, and no joints under the finished floor to worry about.
Clip rail system
Below and to the right is the Emmeti clip rail system going into a domestic kitchen refurbishment project recently completed by us. A thin layer of foil bubble insulation, called Alreflex 2L2, raises the floor level by a meagre 6mm and then the underfloor heating pipe goes down, adding a further 20mm to the thickness, and the floor is then finished off with a liquid self-levelling screed, which adds another 5mm, then ceramic tiles, which add 5mm, so the whole floor is heated, there’s a great thermal mass, and the floor level only had to be raised by 36mm, which is just shy of an inch and a half. In this case an old parquet floor was stripped off the floor beforehand, which was 10mm or three-eighths of an inch thick, meaning the floor level only actually raised by about an inch. We could have reduced the 2L2 to 3mm if we had wanted to, but it’s good to get as much insulation into a property as you can, when you have the opportunity.
Many manufacturers produce tray mounting systems, as pictured below and to the left. What they all have in common is expense — each tray typically costs around £5 + VAT trade price and only measures around one metre long by four hundred millimetres wide. The big drawbacks with trays are:
- Cost to buy
- Cost to fit — each one has to be secured in place
- Rigid pipe centres limiting the amount of pipe that can be laid
- Once the heat source goes off there is little to no thermal mass in the floor
- Any gaps between the plates and the floor immediately above act like a thermal cushion
However, they have their uses, and work best with high temperature inputs from gas-fired or oil-fired boilers.
To the bottom right you can see an underfloor heating system having the air bled from it and then pressurised for testing. Once the air is out of the system you should never need to bleed it again.
No more wandering around the house, room to room, with your piece of rag after hunting through the kitchen drawers for an hour trying to find your radiator key. No more recriminations on who hid what where, or didn’t put it away in a safe place the last time they used it. No more gushers of black water spurting up your freshly decorated wall or dripping onto your pale carpet. And for us, no more wailing apprentices who have become impatient waiting for the air to stop and wound out the bleed screw too far, which has then shot too deep into the key for it to ever start into the thread again no matter how frantically it’s turned while hot water splashes and sprays in all directions.
The importance of insulation
We would always advocate improving your insulation values as a first step, whatever type of heating you are installing. Good insulation, draught control and moisture management through ventilation will all improve the home or workplace environment.
Insulation top six improvements
- Loft insulation (get that thickness up to current building regs standards)
- Cavity wall insulation
- Floor insulation
- Pipe insulation — prevent the freeze in winter, and save on lost heat
- Double or Triple glazing
- External insulation — give your building a new overcoat
Call us now for a free quote on your new underfloor heating project on 01935 476927 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org