If you want comfortable, natural warmth in your home, choose underfloor heating. It can be used as the only source of heating or in addition to existing heating systems, depending on your property
Can be the primary source of heating
Can reduce heating energy use
Can be used in new builds and also retro-fit applications
Gives an even warmth to the whole structure
Very low maintenance and perfect for heat pump systems
Our Expert View
Why choose undefloor heating?
'What have the Romans ever done for us'. OK, so it wasn't on Monty Pythons list but it should have been. There is nothing wrong with radiators and in some instances can be a more appropriate option but UFH brings a new dimension to comfort levels from central heating systems whatever the heat source. Using the floor slab to warm structural elements of the house including things like tables, chairs, internal walls and furnishings provides a uniform even heat throughout the entire room being heated. With good control systems the 'hot one-minute cold the next' cycle from poorly controlled radiators are a thing of the past.
UFH provides radiator free walls, does not limit furniture placement within the rooms and means folding curtains up on to the window sills are a thing of the past. UFH provides a clean silent and invisible heating system free of dust traps.
Again, with correct control UFH systems can also be used for comfort cooling by using the floor slab as a heat sink as opposed to a heat emitter. Just one more reason to pick a heat pump as the primary heating and comfort cooling source to perfectly compliment the UFH system.
As a leading specialist in heating and cooling homes, Hex Energy can offer design, specification, installation and service to give you peace of mind. Unlike UFH merchants who often issue generic designs, all HexEnergy designs are bespoke to your property. We consider the heat load for each room, pipe work requirements, controls and efficient installation of the UFH pipe work. We do not simply use 150 mm pipe spacing because the heat source is a heat pump. There is more to UFH design than churning out generic installations which can lead to poor comfort with overheating rooms and 'yo-yo' temperatures.
What will underfloor heating bring you?
A lower energy bill
Floor heating is particularly energy-saving when compared to other heat emitters. It tends to heat the areas of the room you move about in via radiated heat, rather than the corners and high parts of the room from convecting radiators. The radiated heat is felt as infrared warmth by us, which enables the room temperature set point to be lower and still achieve the same if not better levels of comfort. Typically, a room set point of 21°C using radiators would have the same comfort levels as set point of perhaps 19°C when using UFH.
Utilisation of UFH systems has several positive impacts in real world operation of heating systems. Reducing room temperature set point reduces heat loss to the outside which reduces heating energy. It enables UFH flow temperatures to be reduced which improves efficiency of the heat pump system and in some cases, the heat pump controls can be used to perfectly balance the heat in put to the room load yet further increasing the heat pump efficiency.
Complete freedom of design
All of the heating installation is concealed in the floor. You do not have radiators and so are completely free to design the room just as you like.
The air circulation associated with floor heating is minimal, therefore airborne dust is significantly reduced. The absence of radiators means considerably fewer dust traps and the end of that 'singed dust' odour when radiators start to heat. This is a huge benefit for people with allergies or lung conditions or people who simply hate dust!
You can use an underfloor heating system to provide comfort cooling to your home. A GSHP can use the natural coolth from the ground to provide passive cooling using just a small circulating pump with suitable ground conditions, design and controls.
Underfloor heating - floor and structure considerations
In screed UFH
Using UFH within a floor screed is perhaps the most efficient use of an UFH system. Pipe work is embedded in to the floor screed over the insulation layers providing not only a heat emitter but also a heat storage device in one. Various screed types can be used including liquid screed and cement screed and concrete floors depending on the application. The design must carefully consider the room load, pipe spacing, pipe depth within screed, floor coverings and controls to ensure the perfect operation of the UFH system.
Using underfloor heating with floor joists
Where in screed options are not available for example when there are floor joists in place, perhaps in upper floor installations, various UFH systems are available for such situations. With any UFH system, insulation is vital in the correct places and with floor joist systems this is no different. Spreader plates are aluminium plates which hold pipe work within groves in the plates between floor joists. Insulation must be installed below the plates and the plates should have good contact with the underside of the floor boards to provide as much conductive heat flow as possible upwards and through the boards. There are several types of overlay systems with varying heat output and thermal mass. From simple overlay boards made of insulation materials with aluminium coverings to fibre cement and gypsum boards with provide increased thermal mass. A vital element of the UFH design is to firstly understand the room heat requirements and then to design a system to provide the necessary output based on the floor system chosen and the floor coverings proposed.
Using underfloor heating with existing and newly installed solid floors
An additional alternative UFH method is to cut groves into the floor surface and fit pipe work into the grooves. This method of installation is ideal with retro-fit situations where clients do not want to break up existing floors and do not want an increase in floor height which can impact doorways, floor to ceiling heights and threshold areas. Where concrete or screed floors are on subbase this is a cost-effective solution providing the benefits of UFH and also fast heat emitter warm up with the pipes essentially in the surface of the floor. With existing floors without insulation, the floor will not be as efficient as a fully insulated floor but with main heat loss to ambient conditions through the floor perimeter along outside walls the additional losses are acceptable and still proves to be an efficient option.
The potential for grooving floors is not limited to existing floors. Newly installed solid floors can still be grooved after screed has been laid and means that screed can be installed at any point during the build and the drying time can be accounted for prior to tiling or finished floor coverings being laid down as soon as the pipe work is installed.
Where a new build extension is added to an existing structure, floor grooving provides an excellent method of fitting UFH to the new build section and the existing floors maintaining the same system and floor heights throughout.
Underfloor heating and floor finishes
The floor finish is a vital consideration for the efficient design of an UFH system. Solid tiled or stone floors are excellent choices as they increase the thermal mass of the floor and provide good thermal performance.
It is a given of course that hard wood floors and carpets by their very nature will inhibit floor performance to some degree however with fine control of the heat input and selection of appropriate floor coverings and more importantly taking consideration of floor coverings in the detailed design of the floor, most floor coverings can be made to function well with UFH.
Underfloor Heating & Ground Source Heat Pump in a barn conversion
HexEnergy completed a renewable energy project for a domestic installation on a barn renovation. The project involved a number of renewable energy items including a Mastertherm ground source heat pump, underfloor heating and engineered wood construction for internal fixings. The underfloor heating around the property covered all floors and the heat pump provides both hot water and heating.
'Now that we have successfully completed the installation of both the ground source heat pump and underfloor heat, I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to all at HexEnergy for providing a professional service and excellent product knowledge base. The installation team really excelled in their commitment to the job in hand, At times offering their expertise in guidance and actually appearing to enjoy and take pride in what they did. I would have no issues recommending HexEnergy Ltd in any project one would wish to undertake, I am confident that the continuing success of the company is well and truly assured.'