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Many people can be wary of attempting to lay underfloor heating, as any DIY project can seem daunting at first – however, providing you have the right tools, have sufficiently prepared and are willing and ready to spend time getting everything in place, it’s an extremely rewarding and surprisingly simple process! While you will receive detailed instructions for either ‘wet’ or electric underfloor heating, here is a quick guide to advise on what you can expect.
Preparation for underfloor heating is key. Consider the floors in your home and how easy it will be for you to access them to lay underfloor heating – how many rooms you are wishing to heat, and how effective you need it to be. It’s also worth bearing in mind that ceramic and stone floors will benefit much greater from this type of heating, and that carpets of a certain TOG will be unlikely to be compatible.
Firstly, when installing an electric system, ensure you can enlist the services of a qualified electrician to set things up for you – for safety reasons as a priority!
Depending on whether your floor is built on concrete or timber, you will need a certain type of electric heating – but before getting to this, it’s essential that you fix insulation boards to the sub-flooring to allow you to really feel the effects of the heat beneath your feet. If you have a concrete floor, you’ll be able to fix the boards using an adhesive, and if you have timber flooring, you’ll be able to drill in with ease.
Once this is done, it’s time to lay underfloor heating! If you have a standard, square room with very little jutting or awkward spaces, it’ll be easy for you to measure, cut and lay down a mesh system, which can be rolled out with ease. For more awkward rooms, consider a ‘loose wire’ system, which will require laying out in circuits over the insulation boards. As this method is more flexible, it’s better suited to more obscurely-shaped rooms. For laminate flooring, you may even consider foil insulation, which can again be rolled out with considerable ease.
With electric systems, make sure the cabling and power supply can be fitted to your home’s electric supply easily – this is maybe an obvious point but it’s very important if you are halfway into the process and haven’t allowed for it! It’s then time for a few last checks as laid out in your manual and you’re ready to go.
Installing a ‘wet’ or water-based system is a little different as it will firstly not be dependent upon your electricity supply. A wet system works particularly well with wooden floors or finishes, and can be fitted just as easily as a dry system.
With a wet finish it is important that you ensure the sub-flooring is clean and clear of debris before you lay underfloor heating. As with the dry model, it’s important to lay down insulation boards before applying any pipework too this will reduce the heat loss and give a more efficient system.
Once again, you will be provided with a clear and easy-to-understand manual that will offer you each and every step you need to get your pipework laid out in a manner that will offer the best and most efficient heating possible. Before doing this, it is important to install the main heating manifold, ideally this is sited as close to the area or areas being heated this will also aid you in monitoring the temperature of the water being circulated through the underfloor heating system. Your guide will advise you on the loops you need to install.
Once everything is laid out and securely fixed to the insulation, simply run a water pressure test and start to apply the screed mix. It is crucial that the manifold is plumbed directly from your boiler and before any radiators on the system. This will ensure that your underfloor heating benefits from a direct flow and return from the boiler itself – this means that it’s advisable to consult a plumber at this stage!
Once the screed has cured and everything is in place, you’re good to go!
While this is a simple guide and there will be further information available in applicable guides you receive with your product, don’t forget that while you’re attempting to lay underfloor heating you can always call UK Underfloor Heating’s support centre directly on 0800 232 1501 for friendly, one-to-one support and advice
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