Whilst not the proverbial ‘rocket science’, specifying an underfloor heating (UFH) system correctly is important to ensure a number of things:
- It adequately heats the space in question
- It provides the heating efficiently
- It ‘future proofs’ the property over the years for different floor coverings
- It gives the customer complete satisfaction in their space heating needs.
To specify a system properly, the following information is required:
- Accurate floor plans!
- Heat source, boiler or Air/Ground source heat pump etc
- Floor construction, screed floor/joists etc
- Preferred manifold location
- Notification of any areas with a larger than normal percentage of glass
- Any details/plans for kitchen units, bathroom fittings and anything that wouldn’t have UFH pipe fitted below
- Any specific customer requirements i.e smart phone controls/wireless controls etc.
Here’s why the information is important:
Accurate floor plans
Self explanatory really, the more accurate the plans the more accurate the quote and design will be. We don’t always need detailed architects plans, even hand drawn sketches are of good use providing the measurements are accurate.
We generally specify boiler based UFH systems with pipe at 200mm spacing and heat pump systems with pipe at 100mm spacing. What this means is in a boiler based system there’s 5m of pipe per m2 (boiler) and 10m of pipe per m2 (heat pump) i.e twice the pipe is required for systems using a heat pump. If you are considering the possibility of a heat pump at a later stage, please inform us and we will discuss a ‘future proof’ design.
Different pipe fixing methods are used for different floor constructions plus we like to offer customers additional installation aids/fixing methods.
Preferred manifold location
As all of the pipe is connected to the distribution manifold, it’s position is important. See our other articles on positioning the manifold and common misconceptions.
High glazed areas
Glass is a high heat loss material. Even with the advances in glazing, triple glazed, argon filled etc etc it’s still not an insulator and we usually increase the pipe volume near to any high glazed areas, such as bi-fold doors.
Kitchen designs etc
We design pipe around kitchen units and appliances. Heating beneath appliances could invalidate their warranties and heating under units would warm the contents....warm beans still in the can!! We also design around toilets/basins (unless wall hung) and showers/baths to avoid issues with their fixings or existing plumbing.
Specific customer requirements
Ultimately we’re providing a bespoke heating solution for you/your home/your clients. Everyone is different and many customers have their own ideas and preferences, maybe based on items seen elsewhere. The more information we have upfront, the better the overall design, supply, installation and ultimately, customer satisfaction.
UFH systems are bespoke. Yes, there are some basics that apply to all UFH systems, however, nearly all systems are for a one-off property and should be designed and installed that way. The better the information, the more appropriate the quote, design and installation will be.