Underfloor Heating

What is Underfloor heating?

Underfloor heating is a simple system where pipes are laid into the floor of the building and then warm water run through them to heat the premises. The floor is around 27oC degrees and acts as a big radiator.  For maximum comfort levels the heating in each room in the building can be controlled individually.
Warm water is circulated around a series of pipe coils which are located within the floor structure. The heat from the warm water is transferred to the floor which in effect makes the floor into a large low temperature radiator which in turn heats the room. Since the area of the floor (our radiator) is so large it only needs to run at a very low level. In fact in a modern well insulated property, to heat a room to comfort conditions it is unlikely that the floor will exceed 25°C, even when it’s -3°C outside!

Why use Underfloor heating?

There are lots of reasons that make underfloor heating a good choice for your project.
• Lower running costs – savings of between 15-40% over a traditional radiator system can be found benefiting the environment and also your pocket! as the water used to heat the system is cooler than in traditional radiator systems
• Comfort – a correctly designed and installed system gives unrivalled comfort
• Aesthetics – as your heating system is tucked away in the floor you have completed freedom for design and furniture locations in your home
• Silent – underfloor heating is virtually silent – no more clunking radiator systems in the night!
• Control – The user has complete control over their UFH system via high quality room thermostats
• Health and Hygiene – Asthma suffers will benefit from reduced dust circulation and dust mites. Small children and the elderly will also be safer as there is no risk of burning from hot radiators and no sharp corners to cause injury.
Underfloor heating not only suits the building’s final occupants but also the team in the installation process:
• There is virtually no ‘second fix’, once the pipe is in the floor it is fully protected from site abuse – there is very little theft potential in UFH pipe
• No costly or disruptive issues in re-siting radiators
• No second line painting or need for exposed pipework
• The pipework, once installed, can be linked to a temporary heat source to assist in drying out the building. (However the system should not be used to dry out the screed floor)

Is UFH expensive to install?

It is true that an underfloor heating system is typically more expensive to install than a traditional radiator system, however since underfloor heating is more efficient the running costs are lower.
What if there is a leak in the floor?
Our underfloor heating systems do not have any joints in the floor so it is very unlikely that you will get a leak.  Our design, coupled with the rigorous materials testing, means that you can have peace of mind in your system.
Our UFH systems are designed in a way that ensures there are no joints under the floor. We strongly recommend that every system is pressure tested and kept under pressure whilst the floor is laid. The pipe has a service life in excess of 50 years and unlike the majority of other suppliers, from the date of installation we offer a 10 year guarantee which not only covers the original materials but also third parties and consequential damages incurred. In the unlikely event that a nail is pushed into the pipe, fittings are available for fixing the hole.
Our design, coupled with the rigorous materials testing, means that you can have peace of mind in your system.

Can I use and Underfloor heating system with towel rails or radiators?

Absolutely.  Our clever control systems mean that hot water can be used for radiators and towel rails and warm water for the floor.  This means that you can add an underfloor heating system into an extension when the rest of the house is radiator heated, or keep your towels lovely and warm in your Underfloor heated bathroom.

Do I have to leave the system on all the time?

Not at all – just like radiators you can switch the system off as needs be.  However, the response time will differ from radiators although this does depend on the type of floor construction that is used. Within a screed floor for example, since there is a large thermal mass (due to the entire screed being heated) the system will need to be switched on an hour or so earlier but it will also take longer to cool hence the system can be switched off an hour or so earlier.
Some customers prefer to use Night Setback control (often abbreviated to NSB). It is designed to ensure that a system is never allowed to cool excessively and thus reduces the time taken to get back up to temperature. During the system ‘Off’ periods, the system is in effect in standby in that if the temperature in a given room drops 4°C lower than the thermostat set point, the system will run to maintain this reduced (or setback) temperature.

Will my Underfloor heating system require servicing? And how often?

Underfloor systems require no annual servicing. The Maincor manifolds include automatic air vents so it is not even necessary to manually bleed the circuits.

Are there any restriction on carpets, tiles etc?

Most types of floor covering are fine to use with underfloor heating, tiles, vinyl, and stone coverings are particularly suitable as they allow the heat to pass through easily.   Wood and carpet are also suitable too, however thick carpets and underlays will affect the performance of the system. We recommend that a carpet and underlay has a combined thermal resistance not exceeding 0.15m2K/W which is equal to a tog value of 2.5.
Consideration should be given to both the carpet and underlay. Whilst it is important to ensure that both items are to the occupants requirements it is also important to ensure that adequate heat can pass through. Felt underlays are generally poor conductors of heat and are not recommended where as thin rubber underlays usually perform the best. Tredaire Technics 5 (tog value = 0.5) offers good thermal performance without compromising comfort. Choosing an underlay with a low tog value will allow for greater flexibility over the carpet used.

Can I use Underfloor heating for old buildings?

Yes you can, just make sure that the insulation is good enough in the floor and building itself.  You may also need to make some adjustments to floor height to accommodate the pipes and insulation materials, but by using Underfloor heating you get to keep the charm of your old building by not having to add modern radiators. However, if the building has particularly high heat losses and it is not feasible to insulate supplementary heating may be required during peak design conditions.

When is the Underfloor heating system installed?

UFH can be installed during all seasons. Prior to installation ensure that the area is clean and dry. If the building hasn’t been weather proofed ensure that electrical and mechanical products will not affected or damaged. During the winter months if the pipes have been filled with water and the building has not be weather proofed a glycol solution is to be added to prevent the water in the pipes from freezing.

Who should I use to install my system?

Maincor do not directly employ installers however we can put you contact with installers though out the UK. Please contact your local area manager [link]for details of contractors whom would be happy to supply an installation price for your project.

Can I extend my system at a later date?

Yes you can. The heat source which is being fitted is to be sized to accommodate the future planned extension and the UFH will also require some forward planning. It is likely that an additional manifold port (or ports) will be required which will then be capped off until the extension is built. It is also likely that distribution pipe work will need to be run from the manifold to the entrance of the future extension. Please contact a member of the Maincor team will be happy to offer assistance for your specific project.

Where should I locate the Underfloor Heating manifold?

The UFH manifold is effectively the distribution point for the UFH coils. In a two storey domestic property which has a floor area of less than 150m2 per floor it is likely that two manifolds will be installed, one of the ground floor and one on the first.
Ideally a manifold will be centrally located which will reduce the amount of distribution pipe work to each heated area or zone. Thought has to be given to ensure that there aren’t too many pipes running together down a corridor or through a door way. Maincor manifolds range in size from 2 – 12 port.

Are water based Underfloor Heating Systems better than Electric ones?

Providing that a building is well insulated then both systems will be suitable. The size of area, type of floor construction etc will influence the capital price of each system, in addition to these factors, the fuel source should be considered. The UK is the largest producer of gas and within the EU and the domestic gas supply network allows access to approximately 75% of domestic dwellings in the UK. Although tariffs differ dependant on supplier and region, electricity is approximately 2-3 times more expensive than gas.

Will Underfloor heating cause my feet to ache?

No, this used to be a problem with some very old electric underfloor heating systems where sufficient temperature controls where not incorporated. This is not an issue with correctly deigned modern systems.