When looking to install underfloor heating, a quick search on the internet will throw up a myriad of possible options that can leave you confused.To ensure you make the right decisions, here are some of the top considerations you need to have in mind.
Decide on whether to go with an electric or wet system
Electric underfloor heating systems do not require as high levels of initial investment as wet systems. However, you will have lower energy cost with a wet system. If you are considering the installation of underfloor heating in one room, then it might be sensible to go the electric route. If the installation is in multiple rooms on the other hand, the cheaper running costs of a wet system cannot be ignored.
Understand how much heat you need
Heat distribution system setups begin with knowing how much heat is needed. In fact, this is the only requirement needed if you are going with normal radiation systems.
With underfloor heating systems, the amount of heat required will have an impact on the floor covering to be used, the screed option, the type and location of manifolds, the type and size of UFH pipes as well as the heat source to be used.
When you know how much heat is required, you can proceed to discussing your options with a professional that can craft an effective design.
Consider the underfloor heating pipes best suited for your project
There are many options you can go with when it comes to UFH pipes. However, they all fall under single layer or multi-layer pipes and most of them are either a mix of aluminium and plastic or a mix of a selection of plastics. The prices will vary with quality but multi-layer pipes are generally more expensive. They are, however, more efficient and more durable.
So, as you consider the savings to be made, don’t ignore the overall impact on the durability of your system.
Consider zone control systems
Your underfloor heating system will be made up of pipes running to each room and zone. This makes it easy for you to control the temperature around each zone depending on your specific needs.
For instance, you will need a system that will allow you to keep the living room cold after bed time or to keep the bedroom cold when you are out and about. Good zone control systems are pricey, but the costs are repaid in energy costs-savings relatively quickly.
Evaluate your floor covering options
The best options when it comes to floor coverings are slate, stone and tiles. They are the perfect match for the screed. Is wood your preferred choice? You will need to be more careful. Thin profile engineered wood is your best bet here because normal wood will insulate and reduce the efficiency of the underfloor heating system.
Want to use carpet? You need to ensure that the carpet is 80% wool and 20% nylon for it to have a tog value that is lower than the 2.5 togs suggested by the Underfloor Heating Manufacturers Association and The Carpet Foundation. The suggestion is based on their combined research which states that carpets that are more than the recommended 2.5 togs will negatively impact the efficiency of your UFH.
The consideration for your floor covering option is perhaps the most important as the UFH designers will need to know your preferences before choosing a design path.
Choose your preferred floor screed option based on performance
Choosing the standard sand and cement floor screed of 60mm to 75mm thickness means you are comfortable with waiting two to three hours for the floor to heat up or cool down. If you want a fast reaction time, however, you will have to choose 40mm thick anhydrite screed or flow screed which has a reaction time of less than an hour.
Do you need highlight heating?
A new approach in running UFH is to keep at a maintenance level of around 14°C to 16°C round the clock in rooms that are not always in use. Highlight heating is then deployed in these places. This is a strategy to consider if your UFH system is heat-pump-based and they work more efficiently at lower temperatures.
This method is also for you, if you do not have a clear uptime and downtime in space to be heated, leading to “short switch on and off cycles.”
Consider if you need a heat pump
The heat source for your underfloor heating will vary depending on the screed used. For flow screed, it doesn’t matter whether you go with a boiler or a heat pump.
With sand and cement screed on the other hand, you may need to deploy highlight heating, as mentioned earlier, due to the lengthy reaction times. As you now understand, heat pumps are your best bet with highlight heating.
Consider your budget
No two UFH projects are the same. As highlighted in this post, there are many considerations that need to be made and decisions to be hashed out with your UFH consultant before a decision can be made.
Even the smallest of preference changes can alter your budget. However, it is always effective to have a budget in mind. A wet UFH system will cost around £2000 and £3000 for a 100m2 space. An electric system will be the same cost to a radiator, around £1500 for the same size of space.
Don’t know how to bring it all together? Talk to us right away and we will provide the best suggestions for you and a free quote for your project!