Installing wet and dry Underfloor Heating — Tips and Hints

Installing wet and dry Underfloor Heating - Tips and Hints

Installing Underfloor Heating

Tips and Hints

Introduction

All underfloor heating systems, whether «wet» or «dry», essentially work in the same way. Heat energy derived from warm water flowing through pipes, or from electrical heating cables, or mats, beneath the floor is radiated upwards into the space above.

This effectively means that not only can comfortable conditions be achieved at lower air temperatures typically 2°C lower than with traditional radiators, but also that underfloor heating systems can be more energy efficient, and economical.

Types of Underfloor Heating

Wet

So-called «wet» underfloor heating systems circulate warm, rather than hot, water typically at a temperature of around 50°C and therefore much cooler than a traditional radiator, which may have an operating temperature of 80°C or 90°C around a series of continuous pipe loops beneath the floor.

Gas, oil and solid fuel boilers can all be used as a source of heat for a wet underfloor heating system although condensing boilers are usually the most efficient in this context and integrating a system with your existing plumbing, including radiators if you do not wish to have underfloor heating throughout your home, is a definite possibility. Be aware, of course, that like any form of heating system, wet underfloor heating will only work efficiently if your home, including the sub-floor, is properly insulated against heat loss.

Dry

So-called dry. or electric underfloor heating systems, on the other hand, are available in the form of basic heating cables, sometimes loosely woven into mesh mats, flat, or ribbon, cables, or heating films.

Electric underfloor heating systems, on the whole, allow a room to reach the required temperature faster than wet systems, because they are direct heat sources, but may also be anything up to 40% more expensive to run than wet systems.

Some less expensive electric systems may be unsuitable for installation beneath engineered or laminated, wood flooring, but ribbon cables which operate at a temperature as low as 30°C, are available and these can be installed without danger to the colour, texture, etc. of these and other sensitive floor coverings, such as carpet, or linoleum.

Installing wet and dry Underfloor Heating - Tips and Hints

Underfloor Heating Installation

The pipework installed as part of wet underfloor heating systems nowadays, is typically high quality PEX (the generic name for polybutylene, or polyethylene) and Alupex (a five-layer composite of PEX and aluminium) are popular materials and are continuous, so there is no danger of leaking from joints.

Wet underfloor heating systems are, however, best suited for inclusion in newly built homes because of the disruption and expense involved in taking up the floor(s) of an existing property. Repair, or maintenance, of wet underfloor heating systems, if it is required, may prove troublesome and costly, so reliable materials are a necessity. A wet system also requires space for timer controls, individual valves for each room, etc. but these can often be positioned together in a single location, such as a cupboard.

Electrical underfloor heating is more appropriate for renovation projects in existing properties, as heating cables, or mats, are laid on top of the existing sub-floor, or insulation board, such that the height of the floor need only be raised by a few millimetres, at most.

Electric underfloor heating is easy to install and inexpensive, especially if you wish to heat a single room, such as bathroom, for short periods. You can, of course purchase electrical floor heating online, and fit it as a DIY project, but you should secure the services of a qualified electrician to connect the cables, or mats, to the mains electricity supply.

This article was originally supplied by hot-floors but the site now appears to be offline.


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