Case Study: Underfloor Heating and Ceiling Cooling

Installing domestic hot and cold services with Underfloor Heating and Ceiling Cooling

Already working with Multipipe for the underfloor heating system and domestic hot and cold services for the build, Excelsior Heating Services asked if we could also help with the cooling system, as they had no previous experience in it.

Because it is well insulated and has a lot of glass, one of the challenges was the heating in the building. The client’s consultant wanted to use cooling via the heat pump system, and the original design for the cooling involved using ceiling panels and wall panels. We suggested it would be better to install the system directly into the fabric of the building and plaster it in to give it a true thermal mass.

Project at a glance:

  • Executive home
  • Ground and second floor
  • Combined area 823sqm
  • Domestic hot and cold services
  • UFH heating system throughout
  • Cooling system in ceilings
  • Pumpstations

“After working with Multipipe for this project, it has made us far more confident to move forward on other projects, specifically with cooling. The support I’ve always had through ordering, design, and supply from Multipipe has been amazing.”Matthew Smyth Excelsior Heating Services Ltd

Read the full case study here.

How to select the right room control for your heat emitter

 

How to Select the Right Room Control for Your Heat Emitter

Do you remember the delights of the brown & beige Honeywell thermostats? The good old days when ‘stats were far simpler to work with and to wire. But let’s be honest, they were inefficient!
Room control technology has come on leaps and bounds since the old fashioned bi-metallic thermostats (the clicky thermostat). The industry now has a far better understanding of how the various heat emitters need different controls to provide the best performance. Next time you are looking at a room control system for an underfloor heating system, make sure you pick the right one.

Most older thermostats work on the theory of a 0.5 – 1°C span (or gap) from switching the system on from the temperature setpoint. This theory stopped nuisance switching whereby the thermostat would click in and out every 5 seconds on a radiator system.
These days modern houses are far more energy-efficient, and therefore a span of 0.5-1°C is far too much and can seriously overheat your room. If you apply this same switching theory to an underfloor heating system, then you would see massive over-and-under shoots in temperature.
Fortunately, modern heat emitter controls now come with built-in intelligence and self-learning capabilities which reduce the chances of under and overheating. For instance, these controls will learn to react when they perceive the need to switch on or off the heating system. This artificial intelligence learning may result in some ‘mad moments’ where you feel that the room temperature is correct, but the system has switched on the heating. In this scenario, we must learn to accept that technology is smarter than us! The system has ‘learnt’ that whilst the current temperature is just right it will start to fall in about 15 minutes and therefore has started the heating system to prevent a drop in temperature BEFORE it happens. Smart huh?
In my own home, I have a screed underfloor heating system (the Altis Flow) and because I run my heating based on “always-on” my house is kept between 0.1-0.5 degrees from the setpoint temperature at all times. Awesome! Check out our How You Should Run Your UFH System blog for why I set my system up in this way and the benefits.
Next time you specify controls for a job, make sure they are the best option for the emitter you have. Remember, cheapest might not always be the best in the long run.
If you’ve any more questions about how to select the right room control for your heat emitter, our technical team are always here to help you out. Get in touch with us


Underfloor Heating Systems and Cold Weather

Underfloor Heating Systems and Cold Weather – Why aren’t I Warm Enough?

Whilst we’re all dreaming of warm summer days and the easier jobs that seem to come, there’s no doubt that the dreaded cold weather is good for business. We have developed a love/hate relationship with freezing conditions as an industry. On the one hand, it’s good to be busy and get the money rolling in, and on the other hand, there are frozen pipe emergencies and unrealistic customer expectations. 

Can we ever win? 

Over the years, I’ve noticed that many customer calls I receive have similar points regarding underfloor heating. Why aren’t I warm enough? Why isn’t my system heating the house like I thought it would? I understand the customer’s frustration. They have invested in a system and want it to perform – it’s not unreasonable to want to be a toasty warm 25°C degrees inside whilst it’s -6°C outside, is it? I’m sure, like me, you are secretly rolling your eyes at the thought of explaining that modern underfloor heating systems are excellent at generating high heat outputs but don’t have infinite capacity like every other heat emitter. They are influenced not only by how well they are installed. But also by the type of house in which they are installed in.

The current trend for new-build constructions aiming to achieve a net-zero carbon footprint means that these new buildings could heat a whole home by a candle. Okay, it’s an exaggeration, but you know what I mean. However, there is a big difference between these new builds and a ‘normal’ British home. Most owner-occupied dwellings in England were constructed in 1980 or before, and as of 2019, more than three million owner-occupied houses were built before 1919. That means that most homes in the UK could lack the insulation that will allow the newly installed underfloor heating system to meet the homeowners’ expectations. To help you overcome any challenges you might encounter, I’ve listed below a couple of helpful tips to help you explain to a customer the limits of a ‘normal’ house and its underfloor heating system.

1. The Heat Loss.

Depending on how involved you get with a job, we always recommend that heat loss is assessed and carried out for each property. Implementing current industry guides and best practices will not work on a pre-1950s property due to the nature of construction.

There are some amazing software and apps now that can help you. Like:

https://www.heat-engineer.com/

2. All Heating Has Limits.

Reminding customers that a system has been sized to operate in a way that mitigates the heat losses from their property based on a particular outdoor temperature is important. However, suppose the actual external temperature drops well below that used in the calculations. In that case, the UFH system may not maintain, and certainly not increase, the indoor temperature past a base temperature.

3. UFH Is Best Left On In Winter.

Our previous article, “How You Should Run Your UFH System” can be used to help explain the benefits of running a UFH system. But keeping your UFH system on at a constant temperature is always going to be more efficient than turning it on and off. 

4. The Heat Source. 

The most significant issue we see with an air source heat pump (ASHP) is the unit freezing in cold weather. This is because the potential energy outside is limited (by the cold temperatures), meaning that when we put a massive load into it, like when we try to run a system from cold (see point 3.). The unit can go into a defrost cycle. The air source heat pump starts using your generated energy to defrost itself. Again, this hits home with the importance of the article above and running the system constantly, especially on ASHP. Remember that an ASHP and UFH might not be the right decision for high heat-loss houses.

If you’ve any more questions about underfloor heating systems and cold weather or need help specing the right system. Our technical team are always here to help you out. Call us on 01245 227630

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

 

Underfloor Heating Installation. The 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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