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A Guide to Underfloor Heating

Underfloor heating is fast becoming the latest must-have in the world of home improvement and of course, keeping warm. Stepping onto cold kitchen tiles first thing in the morning is something that can become a thing of the past.

There is an increasing trend for builders and renovators to incorporate underfloor heating into new build homes and extensions, and in theory it is easier to fit it this way. However if you still want to have underfloor heating in an existing room then don’t rule it out completely, as it is still a very achievable project.

Underfloor heating can cater for all types of flooring. So whatever type you may have in your house, it should be catered for. Here is a beginner’s guide to aid you with the different types of underfloor heating and what one may be best for you, depending on the type of flooring you have in your home.

Underfloor Heating for Solid Floors
Solid floor underfloor heating is probably the most popular and widely used type of  underfloor heating. This type of heating is connected through your home’s water system. It is essentially hot water pipes encased in concrete under your floor, it is also insulated underneath the pipes so that you do not lose any downward heat.

Underfloor Heating for Suspended Floors
When it comes to a suspended floor, concrete is not used due to it being too heavy for the suspension beams. Instead, heat transfer plates are used to disperse your desired heat.

Underfloor Heating for Batten Floors
If you possess a batten floor anywhere in your home, then this can also be catered for with underfloor heating. The system here is very much the same as that of a suspended flooring system., again, heat transfer plates are used to convey the heat.

Underfloor Heating for Floating Floors
A floating floor can also incorporate underfloor heating. A floating floor generally refers to the insulation within it, as it is not attached to anything in regards to the floor. In terms of the underfloor heating, it works in the same way to that of the suspended or batten flooring.

Carpet and other floor coverings
When considering your underfloor heating, an important factor to consider is your floor’s covering. In terms of most effective heat output with a flooring then ideally you will be looking at surfaces such as stone or ceramic tiles, as they have the least resistance in terms of heat transfer.

If you are looking to fit underfloor heating under carpet then you will be looking at a greater heat output as a carpet will provide more resistance in regards to heat convection. This will also be reflected in your energy bills.

Laminate flooring is always a good choice of coverings for your underfloor heating as its advancements in technology has meant that it has been produced with underfloor heating in mind. However, it is important to use a decent underlay to prevent the laminate from warping. It is also important to use a laminate that is not attached through glue as the heat may melt it.

Apart from that, laminate floorings durability, flexibility and wood-style finish makes it an ideal alternative to hard-wood flooring.

Now that you know the very foundations of underfloor heating, it is time to begin planning your project.


Underfloor Heating

If you are considering underfloor heating as a viable option to heat up your home, then there are a few factors to be considered, such as what type of underfloor heating you want, where, if not in the whole house you want it and then you must consider what type of flooring it is going to go under; as this also determines the type of underfloor heating.

There are two ways underfloor heating is powered, the first one being water fed. This is where it is connected to your central heating system through a series of pipes underneath your floor. It is very self-explanatory the way this works; the pipes are fed warm water and thus the floor is heated this way.

The second type of underfloor heating is electric. This type of heating is slightly easier to fit, and is even achievable for the more seasoned DIY-ers to fit. Electric underfloor heating is easier to fit as it is constructed from a series of mats that are simply laid under your flooring. The temperature is then controlled by a thermostat panel on the wall that is connected to the mats underneath the floor.

Underfoor heating works slightly differently to more conventional heating; it is designed to circulate heat around a room, with the idea of having a constantly well heated room. Whereas conventional heating is generally used to heat a room as fast as possible through radiators.

Your ideal temperature is achieved this way because unlike radiators you obviously have to walk on the floor, this meaning that the floor cannot get too hot otherwise you could get burnt.

Through this circulation of heat that comes from underfloor heating, the idea is to keep it at a low temperature and keep it on almost constantly. This will allow you to achieve your ideal temperature. Heat circulation can be very desirable as it creates a wonderful ambience in your house.

However, with this theory of slowly circulating heat around a room or your entire home, it can also hold some negatives. Such as wanting to heat a room quickly; through underfloor heating it will take longer to heat a room in comparison to that of a conventional heating system.

With this slightly slower form of heating though, it does lead to a much more even distribution of warmth. This is due to the heat rising from the whole floor and not leading to any cold spots that are more common with radiators, as radiators do not distribute warmth as evenly because they are comparably smaller and fixed to the wall.

Before having underfloor heating fitted it is important to make sure your room is properly insulated, especially doors and windows. There is no point in having it if the room is not properly insulated; this is because the heat from the floor does not go as high as a radiator, it circulates at a lower temperature, so whatever temperature you have it at, it will be lost to poor insulation. This could be a major issue as further expenses may be needed for you to install your underfloor heating.

These are just a few facts about underfloor heating for you to consider before fully committing to underfloor heating. It is always best to have a prior knowledge of a product before ever purchasing it.


Renewable Underfloor Energy

With everyone nowadays talking about the conservation of the environment, and the must for renewable energy, maybe it is time for you to consider it yourself, though it can be a tricky topic to understand with all of these government based sanctions, incentives and not to even mention the extreme austerity measures in place. Hopefully this article can shed some light, or warmth on the matter. Well, for heating your home at least…

Through advancements in technology of the modern age, it has become possible to heat your home using renewable energy. This renewable source of energy coming in the shape of an Air Source Heat Pump.

If air is above the temperature of freezing, even if it is still very low, then it does still contain some warmth. What an Air Source Heat Pump does is transfers or pumps this very minimal amount of heat to a place where it will be found to be far more useful, such as your home or hot water supply. However, it can also be used for the adverse affect, and also pump cold air into a building, making it ideal for the summer.

The technology of an Air Source Heat Pump is similar to that of a refrigerator, though, having the opposite effect in terms of the air pump taking in cold air and producing warmth from it.

With this technology in place it would be ideal for underfloor heating within your home; as underfloor heating to work to its potential requires constant energy, but at a lower temperature to that of a more conventional radiator.

Heat pumps may have a small impact on the environment, as they require a small amount of electricity to run. However, the heat they do extract is constantly being renewed.

Due to this renewable nature of a Heat Air Pump pump it does come with some monetary benefits. This coming through the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). It is expected that around £860m will be pumped into the scheme to promote the use of renewable heating, and it should be launched in the summer of 2013.

Over a 20 year period, people who utilise the use of renewable heating (such as Air Source Heat Pumps) will receive payments each quarter for the amount of energy they produce. This making the use of renewable heating through components such as underfloor heating a real investment for the future.

Although the initial outlay for the installation of an Air Source Heat Pump, and underfloor heating to match may seem rather significant, you will be looking at savings as soon as they have been installed, as your energy bills will plummet, and will continue to do so as the years roll on. This meaning you will be making huge savings for the future.