Underfloor Heating is the perfect choice where comfort and running cost are required in a heating system. The comfort delivered by a designed underfloor heating system cannot be replicated by conventional radiator or forced air heating systems.
Floor heating when guided by a weather controller has the ability to provide constant comfort maintained effortlessly. Floor heating is radiant heat from a low floor surface temperature (25 ºc to 29ºc depending on external air temperature) similar to that experienced by standing in direct sunshine on a cold winter’s day. The air around you is not yet warmed up, never the less by absorbing the suns rays you feel comfortable. The entire floor surface area of the room is heated to a low temperature and as this area maybe ten times the surface area of a typical radiator to heat a similar space you do not require high temperature. Think of the floor as your radiator, it would not be possible to mount this radiator on the wall, it is too big. Using this low surface temperature will not effect the relative humidity in the room it feels warmer as a result even when the stat is set at a lower temperature. For example a room heated to 22ºc using radiators or fan coils has a comfort valve similar to 19ºc using floor radiant heating. When you consider the energy reduction due to lowering the room thermostat 2ºk, it is safe to assume a saving of at least 12%. This is due to the Delta T between inside and outside temperatures being reduced, the heat in the room escapes at a much slower rate as outside and internal temperatures get closer.
Floor heating has in the past been associated with poor control, the room temperature continues to rise after the thermostat closes, or the desired room temperature is delayed by the screed warm up time. Due to modern technology, automatic optimization and predictive learning the balance has been tipped in the opposite direction. Using Smart Controls floor heating is now much easier to control and outshines radiators or fan coils in holding the desired flow temperature with no over or under heating of the occupied space. The target temperature is maintained and the familiar heat up time disappears. It is now possible to heat a building faster using underfloor heating compared to radiators using Smart Controls and modern screed technology. Floor heating has developed rapidly in the past 10 years however many installations today are similar to those installed over 30 years ago, care must be taken to research and select systems which embrace the latest technology and use modern software solutions to design the system.
When using floor heating solutions it is precisely important to insure the design has incorporated European regulations and applied them in the software with evidence of compliance and reference details. Floor heating releases all of the interior space for décor as it is completely out of sight with safety related benefits when used in child care and nursing facilities. Installation time is short and systems can be operational within one week of being fitted. There are wet and dry systems available with only 35mm of floor space required in retrofit solutions. Floor heating systems can be laid directly on to the existing floor using the latest technology. Many believe floor heating is slow to respond, this is no longer the case as new designs can raise a room by 10ºc in under 40 minutes with no over heating. Floor heating in both domestic and commercial buildings can future proof the building against high energy costs. These systems are more suitable for use with condensing boilers or heat pumps, taking advantage of low tariff electricity by storing available energy for later use. Many different floor finishes are possible ranging from carpets to wood and stone finishes. There is no increase in energy consumption by choosing alternative floor finishes; however care must be taken to avoid using floor with good thermal resistance such as wool carpet in rooms with high heat loss. By thermally lining the floor you will reduce the performance capability of the floor in that area. When you consider the broad implications of using floor heating there are benefits which are often overlooked.
Heating areas with high ceilings such as, hallways, churches, hospitals etc. the cubic area is not important and the space is effectively heated to 3m high which will often reduce the actual heat load by 50% as the high un-occupied space is not heated. Floor heating systems may also be used for cooling
in summer reducing the installation cost by often over 55%, passive cooling when possible delivers savings in excess of 80% and by design requires little or no maintenance.
Floor heating is also a healthy heating system preventing dust mites as the floors become low in humidity where dust mites can no longer survive. Living organisms require moisture to survive and by removing the moisture they die off. Floor heating also increase safety areas such as Nursing Homes, Hospitals, and Crèche’s as there is no hot surface or obstruction to bump off. There is particular benefit to clubs, training facilities etc as the system cannot be vandalised and operates effortlessly in changing areas and wet rooms to eliminate smells and dampness with very low cost. Living with floor heating becomes a way of life and the vast majority of people using the system would not consider an alternative solution when redeveloping. The improvement is insulation standards has a positive knock on effect for floor heating as a well insulated building can be heated with lower floor surface temperatures e.g. 24 ºc which will allow a reduction of 6ºk on the flow temperature. This reduction can reduce running cost by up to 20% using a heat pump and 10% using a smart condensing boiler which is weather guided. Introducing floor heating to those who have no experience of it the initial reaction is high comfort valve. Regardless of huge reduction in running cost, it is the comfort which is valued most by the end user. This comfort is impossible to repeat with any other heat distribution network as it creates a pleasant day environment with no heating required.