Underfloor heating – solutions, advantages and disadvantages

Underfloor heating is a so-called low-temperature heating system, therefore, we refer it to modern standards for arrangement in houses with low energy consumption. With conventional heating (radiator, convector), the heater transfers its heat to the surrounding air, and it then transfers heat to the walls of the living room. Due to this, the air temperature in the room is higher than the temperature of the wall itself. This creates an increased air flow in rooms and a significant temperature difference between the air under the ceiling and on the floor. Compared to conventional heating, such systems distribute the temperature evenly. They have much lower airflows, resulting in less dust..

Private house floorsSuch systems are characterized by a radiating component that heats the walls. Further, the air is heated from the walls, due to which the optimal relative humidity is ensured. It ranges from 45 to 55%. With such systems, due to the low temperature, the air does not dry out as much as when using radiators. Due to the high temperature of the water in the radiators, the humidity often drops below 40%.

Since this heating system is low temperature, the temperature of the floor surface is relatively low, often between 22 and 25 ° C. In rooms for long stays, such as the living room, the floor surface temperature can be a maximum of 29 ° C. In rooms for short stays, such as a bathroom, the floor surface can be heated up to 35 ° C.

The best way to heat the heating medium is a condensing boiler with modern regulation. It works most efficiently / economically in low temperature mode. Heat pumps and solar systems are no less suitable heating systems for underfloor heating. Below we briefly summarize the main advantages and disadvantages of such solutions..

Underfloor heating system – benefits

First of all, it is the aesthetic and spatial aspect. It is not necessary to install large heating radiators in the premises, and it is also not advisable to place anything above or in front of them. Installation of underfloor heating is carried out in such a way that the heating pipe is hidden in the floor. Therefore, it does not take up much space. Even dusting heating radiators is much more difficult than dusting the floor. It is also true that the swirl of dust in heated floors is minimal (unlike conventional radiator heating).

In various discussions, one can often come across the opinion that, due to the low temperature of the floor surface, the rooms are not heated with sufficient quality when heating! It is not true. This is a low-temperature system with a large heating area – an order of magnitude larger than the area of ​​conventional radiators. This means that underfloor heating can deliver more low-grade heat due to its surface area than radiators can transmit at a much higher coolant temperature. At the same time, the lower temperature of the heating medium saves on heating costs. The large area of ​​underfloor heating ensures an even temperature throughout the entire floor area, even in living rooms with high ceilings. With radiator heating, heat rises quickly and is not as optimally distributed in space as heat from a warm floor.

Another advantage is that such systems are maintenance-free. Of course, subject to professional installation and use of materials from well-known manufacturers. Due to the minimal accumulation of dust in the living area, this heating method is a suitable choice for people with allergies and asthma. They ensure optimal humidity in living spaces. You cannot get burned from such a surface, since this is a low-temperature system with a maximum temperature of 35 ° C. The surface heats up longer than radiators, but the warm floor remains pleasantly warm for several hours after the heat source is turned off.

Such systems can be installed under almost all types of floors, even if heating under a wooden floor is required. The lower the thermal resistance of the surface, the better the heat transfer to the space is ensured. It is not recommended to lay wood floors over warm floors and thick carpets. Suitable material – ceramic tiles or PVC, vinyl, which have good thermal conductivity.

Disadvantages of underfloor heating

The disadvantage of underfloor heating can be considered its slow response, which means that the heating time of the heating system and space heating is longer than with conventional radiator heating. However, this disadvantage is compensated for by the high inertia of the stored energy in the floor itself. This means that the surface takes longer to cool. Therefore, it is best used in residential areas that are operated for a relatively long time, and not where it is necessary to provide rapid heating of the residential area in short heating cycles. If the warm floor is made of high-quality materials, according to the correct technological procedures and with the required quality, then failures in its work occur relatively rarely. The installation price of the system is higher than that of conventional radiator heating, so it is necessary to estimate the installation costs when making a decision. At the same time, you get higher comfort and lower operating costs..

FloorsThe final disadvantage of such systems is the problem of sturdy furniture placement. It is recommended to consider its distribution during project preparation. It should not cover most of the floor area, because in this case the heat is retained mainly in the furniture and is not sufficiently distributed over the space. This can lead to insufficient heating of the room. However, the design of the underfloor heating is also taken into account in this furniture. The project is considered taking into account future changes in the use of premises or the risk of “cold” thermal bridges.

Professional installation

The pros and cons of underfloor heating are obvious from the above. If you decide to make underfloor heating in a private house, it is advisable to have a developed project and not rely on your own opinion. It is important that quality materials are used during installation and that the work is carried out professionally. If these principles are observed, the built heating system will be a good precondition for trouble-free, reliable and efficient operation..

How to make a heated floor

Underfloor heating types are divided into water and electric. There are big differences in their use, so it is recommended that you carefully consider which option is best. Consideration should be given to the thermal requirements, the type of building and the total cost associated with purchasing such a system..

Water systems

The system works thanks to the distribution of pipes, which are located under the floor covering, through which water circulates. The water heats up the surface and the whole room heats up to a pleasant temperature. This system also allows you to cool the air in the room with cold water flowing across the floor and absorbing heat from the room. However, the cooling options are limited. If the floor cools down too much, unwanted condensation may occur. Long-term cooling – not recommended.

Electrical systems

These systems use foil or mats for heating. They are placed under the floor covering. Heating is carried out by electric current. Consequently, a cooling function is not possible as in a hot water system. It is a good choice for refurbishing individual rooms such as bathrooms. Heating should not work constantly, but, for example, during the morning shower. Electricity costs don’t have to be high.

How to make underfloor heating in a house – various installation options

For a long time, there were only two ways of laying: wet or dry. The wet method consisted of immersing the pipes in a freshly laid cement screed. In the case of dry installation, the pipe is laid on the hardened surface and covered with a protective layer, on which the floor covering is subsequently laid.

However, for several years now there has been a third method, in which grooves are cut in a dried cement screed using a special machine. The pipes are laid in these grooves. In the case of the electric method, installation is possible by laying mats or foil directly on a damp screed. They stick to the screed after drying. If the cement screed is already dry, special adhesives can be used..

Wet way

This method is ideal for new buildings or for complete renovations of existing floors. An insulating layer is first laid on the floor, on which the pipe is laid. Then a cement screed is applied. Once dry, you can install any kind of floor covering such as laminate or parquet.

Dry method

When renovating or installing underfloor heating in old buildings, we use the so-called dry-laying method. We lay the pipes on an insulating layer and cover them with boards, which can be made of various materials – plastic, wood, stone. Finally, we lay the required floor covering.

Milling method

This relatively new method is most often used in renovations when an increase in the floor is undesirable. The base must be thoroughly cleaned first (remove the carpet glue). Then the grooves are milled on a special machine. This machine is equipped with a powerful vacuum cleaner that immediately removes dust during milling. Then pipes are laid in these grooves. At the end, any floor covering is laid.

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