If you are considering installing underfloor heating in your home in Northampton, there are a lot of advantages to it, one of which is the amount of energy you will save vis-à-vis a radiator system.

Radiators use a lot of energy because they heat the air in the room and the heat is carried around by convection. So, the heat goes upwards because hot air rises, and it hits the ceiling and then spreads out around the room. What this means is that there are warm spots and cold spots in the room. In fact, you may feel too hot if sitting right next to the radiator, but other parts of the room will be cooler.

An underfloor heating system heats the room perfectly evenly because it covers the whole of the floor and produces radiant heat which gently warms up the room and everything and everyone in it.

As an underfloor heating company in Northampton, at UK Screeds we can install underfloor heating for you as a retrofit and, of course, we can also install in any new builds.

There are two types of underfloor heating that you can use, either electric or water based. We install water based heating because of the advantages that it has over electric, not the least of which is that it can be a lot cheaper to run. However, you should note that if you are installing it as a retrofit, you will lose a certain amount of height in the room. This is because it is necessary to install insulation under the heating pipes so that all the heat goes upwards, and none is lost. Then the heating pipes themselves take up a certain amount of space, but on top of that it is necessary to install a layer of screed on which to fit the final floor surface.

Water based underfloor heating systems use a continuous pipe through which heated water is pumped and produces the heat. The heat source can be a boiler, but it could also be a ground source or air source heat pump.

A ground source heat pump does mean that you need to have a garden because it works by installing water pipes in the ground which collect heat from it and then an electric pump is used to pump the heated water into the underfloor heating system. An air source heat pump works by extracting heat from the air and using that to heat the water, again using an electric pump. If using a ground source heat pump, it is possible to install the system using a borehole if you do not have sufficient garden space. An air source heat pump is fitted outside the home and is only about the size of an air conditioning unit.

When installing water based underfloor heating systems the first step is to lay insulation boards. These must be laid flat and if there are any service pipes such as gas pipes running across the floor the boards need to be grooved underneath in order to accommodate them. Next is to lay a tanking membrane of 500-gauge polythene which will stop the screed from escaping when it is poured. This needs to run 100mm up the wall so that the perimeter edging strip can be laid on top.

The underfloor heating pipes are then laid on top of the tanking membrane and fixed down so that they do not float upwards when the screed is poured. The heating pipes then need to be filled with water in order to check that there are no leaks, and they also need to be pressure tested. Control joints are then installed where needed.

Once everything is in place, we then pour the screed. Only approved contractors such as ourselves are permitted to lay liquid anhydrite screed, which has the big advantage of totally covering the heating pipes, leaving no gaps or air pockets. This means that the heat will be distributed throughout the room absolutely evenly.

The screed then needs to be left to dry for up to 48 hours, at which point it is OK to walk on it. The final drying process before the flooring can be fitted on top can be accelerated using dehumidifiers if required.