Evolution of UFH and Things to Be Aware of as an Installer

Evolution of UFH and Things to Be Aware of as an Installer

We know that you want to be proud of every installation you do so this week’s blog looks at how best to install underfloor heating systems.
UFH (Underfloor Heating) is not a new commodity, but in recent years we have seen a surge in popularity driven by advances in technology. The first UFH systems were installed as far back as the 1970s, but these were very basic and too expensive to install in your average house. Fortunately, some major technical innovations were introduced around the 1990s, which meant UFH became more affordable and is now a very realistic option for many households.

Different Types of Underfloor Heating

There are different types of UFH systems available including:
  • Solid screed construction
  • Timber suspended
  • Overlay systems

The type of system used will usually be determined by the environment that the UFH will be installed in. Screed applications are becoming particularly popular in new property developments.
One thing to be aware of if you are installing UFH for a customer is that the industry is mostly unregulated, meaning that the quality of products could be sub-standard, without the same level of regulations as you see with other plumbing products. Therefore, it is really important to make sure that you are using a supplier that you can trust, so that your customer does not end up with a UFH system that causes future problems.
A lot of new UFH products have come onto the market with reduced prices but as with most things, you get what you pay for and good UFH systems won’t come cheap. That doesn’t mean that they are unaffordable, just that by buying the cheapest options, you could be causing big risks regarding the repercussions of a failing UFH system.

To help you to decide on which UFH system to use and to give you some considerations to bear in mind for installation, we have provided some key Do’s and Don’ts

Do – Know where your system is coming from, due to the unregulated industry there are many cheap pipes and systems available everywhere. You need to consider that if you save some money by buying a cheaper system, if the quality is poor, you could end up losing money when it comes to rectifying issues. A good quality pipe installation should last a minimum of 50 years due to the nature of burying pipe in the floor.
Don’t – Assume that UFH will automatically heat the property, it is always recommended that a heat loss calculation is done for a room to make sure that the UFH will perform sufficiently, taking into account the heat transfer rates and insulation in the property.
Don’t – Always believe what you see, always make sure that the output listed in the brochure matches what is required in the BSEN 1264 standard and that the floor surface temperature does not exceed 29°C in living areas or 33°C in bathrooms. Any system stating over 100w/m² output is probably in breach of this limit and could damage floor covering or even be hazardous to health.
Do – Use the knowledge of your UFH supplier/manufacturer. A good UFH supplier will have an in-house qualified design team to quote and design your system and offer advice on complicated systems. If you are using a system for the first time or require any product advice, you should definitely seek the advice of the product experts.

Multipipe Ltd has been trading in UFH systems for more than 20 years and has a dedicated technical team on hand to help you on your next project. For further in-depth help on UFH systems, we recommend a great all-in-one guide to purchase on the CIBSE website which explains everything you need to know about UFH design and installation.

Alternatively, just give our friendly technical design team a call and we’ll be happy to walk you through everything to do with our UFH systems.

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Underfloor Heating or Radiators – Which is Better?

Underfloor Heating or Radiators – which is better?

On the surface it may seem that the conventional radiators would be the better option. They certainly can be less expensive to install than underfloor systems.
But what about ‘under the surface’?  Let’s look at some of the reasons why UFH might be the better option.
Running Costs
On average a properly installed UFH system reportedly costs around 25% less to run than radiators. UFH is more thermally efficient so the heat source can run at lower temperatures.
Health benefits
You don’t have to worry about dust trapped in the nooks and crannies on radiators. There are no exposed hot parts of the system so no scald risk.
UFH is ideal for lower temperature heat sources so it’s perfect for use with renewable energy. It typically runs at 40-50% lower temperature than radiators.
Individual room control is possible so there’s better comfort with lower energy consumption you don’t get those annoying draughts. Instead you get comfortable, warm rooms and total zone based control.
Space saving – UFH is embedded so it frees up wall space.
Which would you install in your next project?

If you’ve any more questions about Underfloor Heating, our technical team are always here to help you out. Get in touch with us

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Water quality in metal pipe systems

Water quality in metal pipe systems

Although copper pipework system failures are rare, we are finding more and more issues with copper corrosion in systems and now that pipe walls are getting thinner on copper, these systems are not lasting as long as they used to. One problem we see more through our helpline (which is more of a concern) is blue water.
This is a problem in copper pipe systems where, through water standing in a new pipe system for a long period of time, poor installation, electrolysis or excessive flux entering the system can cause a breakdown in the pipe wall.
This happens because instead of the pipe oxidising (like it should do), it keeps an unoxidised layer on the pipe wall. This then breaks down the copper minerals into the water, causing blue copper crystals to form making blue water. If it is a new system, then keep flushing the water through every day and over time the copper pipe will get lined with an oxidised layer. However, if the blue water persists it must be investigated.  Copper (although a natural antibacterial) in larger quantities can be hazardous to health.  If you have more than 2 mg/l of copper in your water, this can be dangerous to health. But if you see persistent blue water or your water has a metallic taste then consult your water supplier to get this tested.


An alternative solution to this problem is to use our MLC system as you do not get corrosion, plastics do not suffer from electrolysis and it do not require flux to carry out jointing which can damage your entire system if not used correctly.  

Ref: http://dwi.defra.gov.uk/consumers/advice-leaflets/copper.pdf
 
If you’ve any more questions about water quality in metal pipes, our technical team are always here to help you out. Get in touch with us

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A beginner’s guide to getting tooled up

The minefield of pressing tools.
A beginner’s guide to getting tooled up

Press-fit systems are a newer way of carrying out fittings and, when compared with more traditional solder and screwed methods, can save both time and cost in addition to many other benefits. To reap the benefits, you’ll need to know how to use the tools to your best advantage.

Modern press-fitting systems use hydraulic press technology to provide a high-quality and easy-to-fit joint method. Even though it saves a considerable amount of time, with more manufacturers coming on board, it can be difficult for first-timers to know where to start. 

With the help of Klauke UK, #TechTuesday will provide answers to the most popular questions a press-fitting novice might have about these increasingly commonplace systems.

Where to start – Installations

The first question you need to ask yourself: what will I be installing? 

With more systems coming onto the market, selecting the right pipe type is key.

For more traditional methods you’ll have manufacturers of metal press systems. Still, plastic composite systems like Multipipe MLC is gaining popularity. These hybrid pipes are a great alternative to conventional methods which might struggle on specific jobs where flexibility and hygiene are key to a quality installation.

Where to start – the right type of pipe

All pipework systems in the UK are made to a BS EN standard, but depending on the manufacturer, these standards might differ.

BS EN 7291 – is the most common British standard for Plastic pipes
BS EN 21003 – is the multilayer (MLC) standard
BS EN 1057 – is the Copper tube standards

These standards dictate the manufacturing process, pipe dimensions and wall thickness, all of which are hugely important in selecting the right pressing jaws. To press a joint onto these systems, you’ll need a set of compatible jaws as different pipe and fitting manufacturers use different jaw profiles.

Selecting the right jaw profiles

These profiles manufactured to the pipe dimensions and the set of ridges inside the profile help to press down on the sleeve to get a watertight joint. You cannot mix jaw profiles of different manufacturers. There are common types of profiles used by several manufacturers which would give you the best flexibility across different pipe types. But there are also a lot of inndiviual company profiles so making sure you have the right jaws is key to a good joint.

U/TH– profile the Universal profile for MLC pipe systems for most MLC providers including Multipipe

M/V profile – Used for most copper press systems on the market

These cross-sections of the most popular jaws and they show the subtle differences across the profiles when they are pressed.
For a full list of profiles, Klauke has made a handy guide which shows which jaws can be used with each manufacturer.   Klauke Guide

A pressing matter – the difference in tool strength

The last consideration is the pressing strength of the tool. Most press tool manufacturers have a small and larger gun, but what exactly is the difference? The answer is that it’s mainly the strength of the hydraulic press.

Usually, the bigger the gun = the bigger the hydraulic press. Compact guns typically press up to 28/32mm pipes, with larger guns up to 108/110mm. 

This means you need to consider what sizes you need to press. Some fitting manufacturers require specific press strengths for their systems, so be sure to factor this in. Our Multipipe MLC press system requires a 15KN press tool (Klauke MAP115) for sizes up to 32mm and 32KN press tool (Klauke UAP332) for up to 110mm pressing.

If you’ve any more questions about pressing tools, our technical team are always here to help you out. Get in touch with us


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