Underfloor heating is becoming installed more and more widely in new buildings and also in buildings which are being refurbished. There are several reasons, not the least of which is that, while it was once thought to be only for high-end housing, and does actually cost a little more to install, the running costs are going to be quite a bit less than a radiator system, so you will save money over the whole life of the building.
Underfloor heating has so many benefits it is difficult to know where to begin. A radiator system heats the room by convection: in other words, the radiator heats the air above it and around it and that air rises. We all know hot air rises. So, in large part that hot air heats the ceiling before anything else.
The heated air circulates around the room but cannot heat everything evenly. It will depend on where the radiators are situated, but there will be parts of the room which are warmer than others. Many installers, for some reason, place a radiator underneath a window and depending upon the type of window, to a greater or lesser extent some of that heat will, quite literally, go out of the window. Hardly the most efficient form of heating!
By comparison, underfloor heating is installed under the flooring, obviously, and produces a much more even heat in the room. There are some things to take into account here, such as the type of screed used, and the type of heating which can be either electric or water-based.
Electric underfloor heating uses either a continuous cable or a mat with an electric cable embedded in it which is laid under the floor and when switched on produces heat. Water-based underfloor heating uses a plastic pipe which is laid under the floor and is filled with water heated by an outside source. This can be electricity, or better still gas, and can also be powered by an air-source or ground-source heat pump, either of which, incidentally, is the most environmentally friendly. Heating large rooms with an electric system can be fairly expensive. Both air-source and ground source heat pumps use the heat that is either in the ground or air and extract and increase the heat that is inherently in it.
Both types of heating – electric or water-based – cover the whole of the underside of the final floor finish in the room and because they do, the heat they produce is distributed evenly throughout the room. There are no cold spots or hot spots. The electric cable, heat mat, or water pipe is covered with a layer of screed which envelops the pipe or cable – or should do – and this screed is then heated and transfers the heat through the floor to the room. There are a number of provisos about just how well the heat is distributed and how efficient one system is compared with the other, but we won’t go into that just now. The material used in the screed has a bearing, and also the way in which the screed is laid.
With either system, the heat transfer is more effective and even than using a radiator system, so all being well, less energy is required to heat the room and it can heat very quickly.
However, as with anything else, underfloor heating can suffer problems and if that happens, at Exeter Heating we can carry out underfloor heating repairs in Exeter and the surrounding areas.
So what can possibly go wrong?
Well, with water-based underfloor heating, a single zone can fail to heat up as expected or can fail to turn off. This can be caused by a sticky pin valve underneath an actuator, or the actuator may have failed. There could be a faulty thermostat or low battery (f the system uses battery-powered thermostats). The thermostat may not have been set up correctly. There could be an air bubble in the loop. There might be a wiring issue. If the whole zone fails to heat, the pump may have failed.
There can be problems with electric underfloor heating, such as not warming up or it won’t turn off. The room may not get up to the desired temperature.
At Exeter Heating, we can take care of any underfloor heating problems for you. The foregoing are just some of the things that may go wrong, but by and large underfloor heating is very reliable and has definite advantages over a radiator system.