UNDERFLOOR HEATING – CAREFULLY CONSIDER THE OPTIONS

Devised by the Romans somewhere between 200 and 400 BC, Hypocausts – or in today’s parlance – underfloor heating is hardly a new idea. However, meeting today’s requirements for sustainably designed buildings and ever higher standards for energy efficiency is something that we all need to understand.

 

Firstly, there is a myriad of underfloor heating options, both wet type and electric, to choose from. As electric underfloor heating with heating mats is only ever going to be 99.99% efficient, i should only be considered for small areas such as bathrooms, where wet systems are not viable. Wet systems, using underfloor heating pipe connected to a hydronic heating system, come in a number of forms depending on their application.

Firstly the construction of the building will define the methods available to the installer. Ideally, always try to fit underfloor heating pipe in the most thermally conductive installation possible. The obvious one is a concrete screed. This offers tremendous benefits, especially when used in conjunction with renewable energy heat pump systems as the low flow temperature required supporting the heat load of the building result in very high running efficiencies. Screeds can be either sand and cement mix or flow screeds that get pumped into the building. The benefit of the latter is that it can be poured to a shallower depth than conventional screeds and can be forced dried. Force drying offers the builder a benefit if timescales for the installation of the floor coverings is an issue. Where it is not possible to use a screed, other installation methods are available ranging from floating floor systems with low profile designs to routed floor boards made from either chipboard or more thermally conductive materials.

The correct design of an underfloor heating system is crucial on many fronts. Not only must one comply with the industry standards for floor temperature limits and heat output, but also considerations for renewable energy systems must be met. When using Heat Pumps it is important that other design criteria are met such as loop length maximums and the difference in flow and return temperature. Finally, and perhaps most importantly for the customer, the overall efficiency of the installed system has a direct financial implication for the home owner if connected to a Heat Pump or Biomass Boiler.

Now that the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme repays the customer quarterly for seven years based on the efficiency of their system, he will expect the installer to fully comply with all aspects of the RHI scheme.

For further information contact IBD, Unit B3, Forelle Centre, 30 Black Moor Road, Ebblake Industrial Estate, Verwood, Dorset, BH31 6BB, Tel: +44 (0) 1202 825682, Fax: +44 (0) 1202 820645, Email: sales@ibd-distribution.com or visit www.ibd-distribution.com