Under floor Heating - Opinions?

Hi,
We plan to tile an entire flat, with under floor heating beneath. Can we get rid of the conventional radiators? i.e. is the heat generated from under floor heaters comparable or better than conventional heating? Or does it just keep your feet warm!
Also how popular is tiling an entire house/flat these days?
Would someone prefer living in a flat that has complete/partial tiling as opposed to carpeted or maybe even wooden floors??
Any kind of opinion is greatly appreciated!
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Hello,
We are planning to get an entire flat tiled, and have under floor heating beneath. Can we then get rid of the conventional radiators? i.e. Is the heat generated comparable, or better than the conventional radiators? Or does it just keep your feet warm!
Also, is tiling living areas common these days? i.e. Anyone out there doing / considering doing it?
Would any of you prefer to live in a flat that has a tiled, under floor heated throughout as opposed to carpeted or even wooden floor?
Opinions of any kind welcome!
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We've had a wet underfloor heating system for many years now, and compared to the old radiators hung on the walls, it's much better. Because the heat is spread all over the whole room area and percolating through the whole floor, it makes the rooms feel lots more comfortable to relax in. When I think back on how we all used to crowd around the radiator in the big lounge to get heated up in the winter time. Then we installed the underfloor system and now everyone sprawls all over the place.
I personally wouldn't go back to a wall hung radiator system now. We have 10mm pipework snaking around under all the floors. The rooms are all separate little circuits being fed from two 22mm pipes along the centre of the house and the boiler is allowed to spread its heat right throughout the house in one go. No more of this waiting ages until each radiator gives off enough heat to fill the room, because the heat is already being spread over a larger area of the room.
We have stone tiles on the bathroom floor and they feel great when you step out the shower onto lovely hot stone. They also seem to hold their heat for a long period, so they don't go freezing after a short time of the boiler being off. This is great when you have get up for a ..you know.. during the night.
Everyone in this house seems to like it, so I'll go with that.
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Can you tell me anything about the economy of underfloor heating when compared to the radiator method. Also - do you have to keep the underfloor system running virtually continuously so that there is no lag time to heating the room when floors are covered by either laminate floors or carpet.
Thanks
David
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We are using a lot less fuel to keep this big old house warm in the winter when compared to the radiators. I think its because the heat is being spread more evenly across the rooms that it is far more comfortable to live in and doesn't take long for the system to actually start to heat the whole fabric of the building, and this in turn is what is spreading the heat around better than a radiator stuck in one spot in a huge big room.
It definitely is a lot better and lot more economical to run than our old system. We also have lots more stored hot water than we ever had in the past, and it heats far quicker than it ever did, yet it's the same old hot water cylinder that was fitted to the old system.
For sure the best move we made in deciding to go this route.
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Thanks. Also, which kind/make of UFH is most popular? In the event of digging the floor for work ( for eg; in the event of a pipe burst etc) is it possible to repair with out damaging the UFH?
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<<<snipped>>>

A bit of a long rant follows.
We sealed all the pipework before connecting everything and pressure tested with it, with a foot pump, up to 32 psi, left it overnight at that pressure and in the morning we saw that nothing had escaped so carried on with the full connection to the boiler. The only reason we done this was to make sure nothing under the floors was going to blow apart because we were laying laminate all over the house after the heating was installed. Safe than sorry came to mind when the mention of leaks was brought up.
Someone else in the thread brought up the idea of laying insulation between the joists before installing the heating, but because we are on the first floor in a one hundred year tenement with enough deafening material between the floors to build a new housing estate, we didn't bother, but is may be a good idea in a newer build. Don't want to give anyone else the benefit of your heating do you ?
Our system is under the original floorboards with 6mm plywood on top, then laminate flooring on top of all that. We were told by many so called pros' that the heat would be lost and we wouldn't gain anything from this type of system, but I can assure you, we are all perfectly comfortable in our nice warm cosy home now that it's installed. Three plumber friend now recommend them to clients instead of the old radiator systems. So our experiment here worked and has now been keeping us supplied with hot water and heating for many, many years.
I wish I could lift the flooring and take pictures, but that's out of the question until we think about changing or rebuilding the place, but it is so easy to install and maintain that we forget about it actually works. I'll try to explain the principle so bear with me.
The main heating elements, if you like, of the system is made up from 10mm mini-bore copper pipe. This is wound, if you can imagine, snake like between the joists for the whole length of the room. A bit more detail is needed here so I'll go a bit deeper into it. If you can think of the length of the joists under the floor, then imagine the pipe being laid from one end, rolled out along the edge of one joist for its full length, looped around when it reaches the other end and returns down the edge of the joist. So we literally have two lengths of pipe in between each pair of joists. The pipe is then poked through a hole in the joist and in to the next gap between the other joists and it carries on like that for the full width of the room. The circuit then returns to the doorway of the room and is connected to normal manifolds on the main flow and return from the boiler. The pipework is clipped loosely to the sides of the joist with clips meant for 15mm copper pipe, so it has room to move but is now allowed to stray to far away from the joist. These circuits are literally form radiators the full size of the room floor.
The pump is fitted to the cooler return side of the system and has always been set to its lowest speed because it isn't really fighting gravity trying to lift the water back up into radiators and is only circulating the water around a system that is all on one level, so it doesn't need any real pressure behind it and has never needed replaced. The boiler cycles on and off for about three minutes at a time, so the gas bills are very small. The room 'stat in the hall is set at 21 degrees and only controls the zone valve to heating circuit. There is nothing fancy about the old Baxi fanned flue conventional boiler. It has an output of 33Kw, but the thermostat has never been set to full apart from the testing it got when first installed. It does have to be turned down a bit in the summer when it is only supplying hot water, but I can live with that.
All in all, the system works great in this old place with all its draughts and gaps, and the other similar systems that plumber friends have fitted in newer builds with all their insulation and sealed double glazing, tell me that they never have any problems with major breakdowns and burn outs. So idea works.
What ever way you go, good luck with it, but try not to get ripped off with the fancy talk. Circulating hot water around a house is just that, and it depends on the method you use to allow the hot water to give off its heat to the rooms. A radiator is stuck in one spot of the room and has to depend on air circulation to transfer its heat around the room. With an underfloor heating system, installed properly, it gives its heat out to the whole area of the room in one go, so you would imagine it to be a more efficient way of heat transfer.
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BigWallop wrote:
Excellent report. That may be the most cost effectve way to UFH under boaraded floors. The tem reduction stuff is needed in screed, to avoid cracking screed in close contact with pipeowrk.
You have use an airgap and copper pipe too reduce floor temps. Intersting you went copper rather then plastic..but if it works, use it!
The issues of insulation and what you put on top are simple.
If more insulation below than on top, heat will mostly escape upwards, not downwards. In your own house heat going downeards is not lost - it reduces heat need below anyway!
Too much insulation on top will simply lead to a hotter space below it for a given heat output into the room. t doesn't waste the heat, just lowers the peak power from teh UFH system. So run more pipes or up the temp.
The only danger from too much wood/carpet on top is that the underfloor space gets so hot its messes up the floor structure.
Be interesting if you have any feedback on that.

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DCMyers1 wrote:

It seems comparable.
The pluses are that because its so even, one seems to feel warm at a lower temperature, espcially as FEET are warm.
The disadvantage is that it takes about 2-3hours to really start getting the room up to cosiness.
Over Xmas, and because there are now two of us at home, I have started running it from dawn to midnight. It cycles slowly +- a degree or two on the stat in that period...basically it is almost not worth switching it off as the floor temperture is no near the room temperature that it sort of keeps the room as warm as the floor anyway, and it does not cool down much at night. So the heatloss whether or not you switch it off stays almost the same.
In scandinavia where they need it on all the time anyway, my sister reckons her fuel bill is similar for a house half the size and triple insulated etc. But its COLD.
I thbk that for a DINKY couple - both working, no one at home in teh day, cool bedrooms at night, well insulated, its provabably a bit more expensive, because it does heat most of te house most of te time if you use it at all.OTOH if you are in the house during the day or one of you is - and need some heat, its really not much difference IMHO.
Its certainly not WILDLY expensive.

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The system is virtually a 24/7 system. Best use a night setback temp stat.
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Then you didn't have enough rads, or they were not spread around the room enough.

Have Amtico type of plastic tile and they are always warm, and they outlast most ceramic tiles.

They have a long response time and really only suitable for houses were there is a high occupancy. If the house is empty most of the time and people come and go at irregular intervals then this is not suitable. Forced air is the most responsive heating system, and coupled with heat recovery and ventilation certainly the best by a mile..
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IMM wrote:

I used to think the same, but having UFH has caused me to reconsider this.
For example, I have a well insulated house with concrete floors downstairs. her is an aga in the kitchen. This kicks out 600W continously. The kitchen floor is WARM not because it has UFH (In fact I turned it off) but because it takes up teh temepature of teh air over time (being well insulated naturtally).
In short, scred floors and in other rooms the massive brickwork of chimneys represenst SUCH a huge thermal mass, that to heat those romms properly to teh piunt where you dont have a cold floor and cold feet almos requires constant input anyway.
The experience of having te UFH on continuosly is that feet are warm, and the confortable room temp is lower anyway, and all te brickwork stays warm.
So, unless you live in a house that is not only well insulated, but also hasd very little thermal mass, I don't think the downside of heating it 24x7 offsets the higher temps you need to get comfortable when you have thick walls and floors needing to be warmed.
At lest by enough to make much difference.
I am monitoring the fuel levels, and boiler burn periods and seriously, its not burning that much at all.
I DO have fan heaters upstairs, where its just timber and plasterbaorsd and insulatiin everywhere. But he greatest gains are by simply tiurning offheating in the bits of teh house not in use. (about half, in general)

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We have electric underfloor heating in the kitchen (only) it's far better than the alternatives, for kitchen heating because it lets you use all the wallspace and there's no nasty draught as you get from fanned radiators in kick panels. Unfortunately the rest of the house isn't suitable for u/f heating so we have to have radiators.
I find the only real PITA with u/f heating is that you need to be careful what you put on it. Don't for example wander in and dump the frozen food on the floor, or drop your newspaper.
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BobTheBuilder wrote:

Yers. Better.

You can also lay laminate.

The nicest floors for UFH IME are tiled/stoned and wood block.
Laminate ain't bad.
I prefer a wood floor with rugs to tiles frankly for living areas.
Fully tiled flats area bit 'continental' I would imagine it would reduce resale value. people are not used to them. I have stayed in such often in hot climates tho. Not bad at all.
I see no reason why you could not fit carpet to UFH either, but one of the big plusses of carpet is the insualtion it offers, which is not needed of course.

Definite yes on UFH. suggest soul searching on what to put on top. Kitchen/bathroom/halls - tiles fine. Living room? Think about it.
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Totally and whole heartedly agree.
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Thanks. Also, which kind/make of UFH is most popular? In the event of digging the floor for work ( for eg; pipe burst etx), is it possible rectify the problem without damaging the UFH?

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BobTheBuilder wrote:

I used polyplumb (www.polyplumb.co.uk) for pipe, manifold pump and temp mixing valve.
The pipe is tough butyl rubber, and you do *not* join it. Lenghs are tyically 50 m, though you can run up to 100 with a string pump. Where it may be subject to movement, you encase it in conduit so it can slide.
You simply will NOT get a pipe burst. If you drill through it trying to fix teh bog down, that's it mate. You are screwed!
Mine was laid at the screed base on top of reinforcing mesh (tie wrapped to it) with about 85mm of screed over the top. It nees presurising to a few bar when the screed goes down.
Keep an exact scale drawing wof where the pipes are, and use it when drilling in, and use a stop gauge on a drill.
It needs a completely separate zone to any other CH you may use, and you CAN fit motorizd valves to any ofor all of the circuits to contol flows although each circuit on the poyplumb manifold has its own balancing valve/cut off valve and individual flow meters too.
Because ther is a requirement to run the bolier pump when the UF pump is not required, you need to use a relay to isolate the two so that UF pump omn switches boiler pump on, but not the reverse.
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BobTheBuilder wrote:

Oh, OK. First, I hate underfloor heating, and it would be a positibe dis-incentive for me when buying property. Second, I can't abide tiled floors, except (possibly, dep. on tile) in the kitchen.
HTH.
J.B.
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