WHY USE UNDERFLOOR HEATING?
There are a huge number of benefits to using an underfloor heating system, here are just a few of them:
Comfort – A correctly designed and installed system runs efficiently and supports the bodys natural requirements for warm feet and cool head. The heat is uniformly rising from the floor, rather than having warm pockets around radiators
Aesthetics – Underfloor heating creates complete freedom of interior design with no radiators to worry about, you can use every square inch of space can be used for room layouts
Silence – Underfloor Heating is virtually silent when running
Low Maintenance – No need for manual operations, such as bleeding or painting radiators
Cost effective – Lower water temperature means lower energy, means lower heating bills
Space – more space in the property as there are no radiators to get in the way
Individual room control – Rooms are heated on an individual basis – for example the bedroom can be at a different temperature from the living room
Healthy living – Slower moving air particulates makes underfloor heating the system of choice for asthmatics. Floors dry quicker after cleaning, reducing slip hazard. Underfloor heating also eliminates the risk of contact burns and collision damage from radiators
Environment – lower fuel usage means lower CO2 emissions, better for the environment
How does UFH work?
Underfloor heating works through warm water pumped through pipes laid in the floor of the room. Much lower water temperatures are required as the large surface area of the floor is enough to warm the room efficiently as the heat rises. An underfloor heating system will generally run at around 45 degrees as opposed to 80 degrees used in radiator systems, which means that there are energy and running cost savings, especially when used with renewable heat sources such as heat pumps.
The diagrams below illustrate how the heat travels around the room in a radiator system on the left and from an underfloor heating system on the right. The underfloor heating system heats mainly the living area in the room, whilst the heat from the radiator system collects at the ceiling – a much less efficient heating method!
Radiator Heating Heat Movement
Underfloor Heating Heat Movement
Hot water sources
Underfloor heating can work with a large range of hot water supplies – usually with condensing boilers, but is often used in conjunction with renewable energies such as solar and geothermal systems where greater.
Air Temperature Control
A thermostat is positioned in the room which is being heated, and set to the required temperature. Once that room gets up to temperature, the thermostat will send a signal to the wiring centre, which will close the actuator fitted on the manifold. This stops the flow of water around the underfloor heating circuit until there is a further heat demand from the thermostat. To offer ultimate comfort, Maincor advises the use of a separate circuit and thermostat for each room or occupied area, since the heat demands and losses will differ throughout the property depending on usage and external conditions.
Water Temperature Control
A range of factors will determine the water temperature required for your Underfloor Heating system, these will include
· The floor construction
· The heat requirement of the space
· The floor coverings
· The pipe diameter and pipe centres that are used.
Generally, underfloor heating systems will run at temperatures ranging from 35 – 50 degrees. If the boiler or heat source cannot supply the water at the required temperature, either thermostatic or actuated blending controls can be supplied. Typically, a secondary circulating pump would also be required where there is blending control on the system.
As previously mentioned, the underfloor heating requires a low flow temperature, at design conditions there will be approximately a 7 degree temperature drop through the underfloor heating circuits. Maincor supplies 3-port thermostatic blending valves to blend the primary flow from the boiler to mix with the underfloor heating return water to maintain the required temperature for the underfloor heating system. Maincor can supply a pre-assembled thermostatic mixing valve and pumping unit which fits directly onto the Maincor underfloor heating manifold.
An alternative method of blending the water is to use an actuated blending valve and weather compensation controller. This is generally a slightly more expensive way of controlling an underfloor heating system, however, it does offer a more efficient way of controlling the water temperature. As the outside temperature decreases, the heating requirement of the building will increase, hence the amount of energy we have to put back into the building will also increase if comfort conditions are to be maintained.