11 tips for new UFH installers

Starting out on any new venture can be daunting and these days there is so much information around that it can become overwhelming. To keep things simple when it comes to starting out with underfloor heating installations here’s our top 11 tips!

  1. You’re not on your own.
    Multipipe’s friendly team are always on hand with helpful advice and are happy to answer any questions you may have about the best system for your project. Get in touch on 01245 227 630.
  2. Consider heat output.
    It’s vital to consider the fabric of the building as this will affect the heat output required by your underfloor heating system. The needs for a well-insulated new extension are very different to those of a room with several windows and high ceilings.
  3. Renovating?
    Select a low profile system. Traditionally installing underfloor heating in a renovation project has meant high levels of disruption as the floor needed to be dug out and doors and skirting boards adjusted. However, modern solutions like Multipipe’s Altis range have a build height of just 18mm and can often be fitted with minimal disruption to existing fittings.
  4. Be mindful of the final floor covering and maximum temperatures.
    All flooring laid over the UFH system will have a top temperature restriction, so it’s important to consider what will be used. For example, Vinyl flooring has a maximum temperature limit of 27°C. Most carpet, wood and laminates have similar temperature restrictions too.
  5. Plan & Measure.
    Zoning areas, room stat positions and types of controls are vital for best performance. The heat source can be crucial in achieving desired heat outputs, especially on older, poorly insulated, exposed properties.
    When supplying details to us to create your system drawing, ensure you have accurately accounted for all the fixtures and fittings that will be installed. We always recommend that UFH runs under kitchen units and islands as the system is likely to be in place longer than the original kitchen design – this will ensure the customer is not left with cold spots at a later date. Running UFH under units will not cause any issues with stored items.
  6. Use appropriate insulation to improve efficiency.
    Insulation is key to ensure that the system runs effectively and heat loss is minimised. Therefore, insulation should be laid before installing the manifold or pipework.
    Building Regulations currently state that users must use at least 100mm of insulation and 50mm for retrofit projects for new builds. Properly insulating the system will decrease the amount of time needed to heat the system leading to energy savings and lower running costs.
  7. Ensure the subfloor is clean before installing the pipe.
    Multipipe MLCP is tough and durable, but you must ensure that the subfloor is clean so that nothing remains that could cause damage to the pipework. If it’s a wooden subfloor, check that there are no squeaky floorboards, as fixing this afterwards will not be easy. Remember that the maximum length of pipe that can be used in any one room is about 100m and should be set between 150-200mm apart. Your Multipipe drawing will specify this detail.
  8. Select your manifold location with care.
    Ensure you place the manifold in a central, easy to access location. By choosing a central location, you can limit the chances of running pipe circuits across multiple rooms, reducing the overall length of pipe needed and saving cost and time. Reducing pipework lengths increases energy efficiency, as the water won’t run through multiple zones before reaching its intended destination.
  9. Label your pipework.
    Labelling your flow and return pipework is a helpful tip for future maintenance. If these are not marked and subsequently get mixed up (e.g. the flow is fitted to the return network), the system will not operate efficiently.
  10. Fill the system carefully.
    To maximise the lifespan of the UFH system, it’s best to fill it with demineralised water (we recommend the Elysator Purotap). Once filled, you will need to pressure test the pipework before laying the screed and check there are no air bubbles. The best practice is to fill one circuit at a time to minimise the possibility of air bubbles, which will reduce the system’s performance. Airlocks can stop the system from circulating and ultimately mean less heat is transmitted in the floor space.
  11. Test the complete system.
    Before the screed and final flooring go down, test the system again to ensure it operates as expected. Here are our top tips for a foolproof system test;

    1. Pressure test at 2 bar for ten minutes
    2. If everything appears okay, then continue the test at 10 bar for another ten minutes.
    3. If after this time the system is still okay, reduce the pressure down to between 3-5 bars until the screed is in place
    4. After the screed is laid, you can reduce the pressure to the standard working pressure (usually between 1-2 bars)