What makes an efficient heating system?

Homeowners are telling us that choosing an efficient heating system is more important than ever before, with low running costs and low energy consumption being the key factors in choosing an underfloor heating system (UFH) or integrated renewables solution. With this in mind, what do you need to consider to make a truly efficient heating system?

Heating system

System design is essential

A good design and supply company will always specify and design an efficient and bespoke system that is well suited to the property and the homeowner’s lifestyle. For every system the bespoke design should be based on heat loss calculations for each individual room (one room could have three external walls, meaning a higher heat loss than another with just one external wall), and early recommendations may be made to improve the system’s efficiency – so you can be confident that the final design will result in a system that will perform. Find out more about what makes a good UFH system design in this blog post.

UFH is an efficient solution

Because the emitting area for UFH is large, sufficient warmth is provided across the whole floor surface to heat the room effectively. And, because UFH uses far lower water temperatures than a radiator system, the heat source doesn’t have to work as hard to reach higher temperatures and makes the most of a boiler’s condensing mode, so it operates much more efficiently, meaning lower annual running costs.

UFH works with gas, oil and LPG boilers as well as ground and air source heat pumps. The lower flow temperatures required for UFH make it an ideal partner for heat pumps, which provide optimum efficiency at low temperatures, therefore reducing the cost of heating. Insulation is extremely important when installing a heat pump – the more insulation, the less heat that is lost.

When paired with a modern condensing boiler, UFH is approximately 25% more efficient than radiators.

Flexible control

Controlling a heating system remotely is now an option offering great flexibility as well as reduced running costs. Remote access to heating controls ensures that rooms are heated only when needed.

Thermostats can be installed with UFH in each room, meaning individual room temperatures can be independently controlled from one single Smart Control – or even a smartphone. The flexibility to control room temperatures separately enables ‘fine tuning’, giving perfect comfort with improved system controllability.

You can find out more about the control options for UFH on our thermostats page.

A closer look at an ErP label

Newly introduced energy labelling and ErP

The introduction of the Energy Related Products Directive, or ErP, means that all new heating systems will now come with a product and package label to give a clear rating of their energy efficiency. Its purpose is to make the efficiency of heating products easier to compare, helping homeowners and installers to make informed and eco-friendly decisions.

Nu-Heat provides system package labels for all of our heat pump and solar systems. You will see the product and system fiche information as well as the energy label for the package in every quote. The label will also be printed and included in the handover pack with the customer user guides.

If you are installing our UFH in a project, the energy label for the heating package will be calculated and provided by the installer – this is because they have all of the relevant information on the heat source, thermostats and any other components. It’s simple for an installer to calculate and generate this label themselves and we have produced all of the required forms and an instructional video, available on our ErP resources page.

Careful integration means better system efficiency for the end user

The importance of system design, installation and commissioning support should not be underestimated when choosing an UFH system or integrated renewables solution – they provide the installer and homeowner with peace of mind that the system is being handled by experts and will perform as expected.

Our team will be happy to discuss or advise on an efficient UFH & renewables heating system for any upcoming projects. Call us on 01404 540650, 8am – 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Supporting charities

Thank you for your feedback – Market Research

We recently commissioned a comprehensive market research project to help us better understand what our customers and non-customers want and need from an underfloor heating company, and specifically from Nu-Heat.

Over 250 people were interviewed, including homeowners, installers, architects and builders, with each interviewee able to nominate a charity for Nu-Heat to donate to. In total, £775.00 has been raised for Cancer Research and £325.00 for Save the Children.

Thank you to everyone who completed the interviews, your feedback is critical to Nu-Heat. The findings will help us to deliver excellence in products and our customer service experience.

 

Prince’s Trust – Get into Construction

Get into Construction

The Prince’s Trust supports 13 to 30 year-olds who are unemployed and those struggling at school and at risk of exclusion. Many of the young people helped by The Trust are in or leaving care, facing issues such as homelessness or mental health problems, or have been in trouble with the law.

Working with construction industry leaders the Prince’s Trust has addressed the skills shortage currently faced by the industry and has developed ‘Get into Construction‘ – a two to four week work experience programme for young people aged 18-25.

With a strong link to our industry, Nu-Heat has chosen to support the Prince’s Trust programme and we hope that our final donation total of £1448.83, raised from our annual Summer Party raffle, will go some way to adding value to the lives of the young and vulnerable adults enrolled onto the Get into Construction programme.

We would like to say a big thank you to our fantastic suppliers and contacts for the wonderful prizes donated for the raffle. You have helped us reach a fantastic donation total.

Underfloor heating and floor coverings

Did you know that underfloor heating (UFH) can be paired with a wide range of floor coverings, including vinyls and even carpet?

In this blog post we take a look at the most popular floor coverings and their compatibility with UFH, any considerations or limitations and also which are the best partner for UFH, offering a good heat transfer.

LoProMax in kitchen

The best choice – Stone and ceramic

The best floor coverings for use with underfloor heating are hard surfaces such as stone and ceramic tiles as they have the least resistance and transfer heat effectively.

Stone and ceramic are the most thermally conductive of all floor coverings allowing the energy from the UFH heating tube to transfer quickly to the surface of the stone/tile.

Increasing the thickness of the tile will have little effect on the heat output, but it will slightly increase the heat up time.

With stone and ceramic tiles it is always advisable to use a de-coupling membrane and flexible adhesive to reduce the potential for any hairline expansion cracks.

  • Polished screed – By its nature, screed is very conductive and although unusual, it is well suited for use with under floor heating.
  • Limestone – Of all stone floor coverings, limestone requires the most care and attention during installation.
  • Slate – An extremely conductive natural finish, ideal for use with underfloor heating
  • Marble – An excellent conductor available in varying thickness

 

Timber

If the desired look includes a wood floor, engineered timber is the best option for use with underfloor heating, as its structural stability allows it to perform well with fluctuating temperatures.

Solid hardwoods and soft woods also transfer heat well but care should be taken when specifying the board width and thickness, as these can warp under temperature.

  • Engineered timber – A more stable option than solid timber, due to being cross-laminated, its moisture content is less critical. It can be laid directly over the underfloor heating as a ‘floating floor’ or nailed into battens or joists. Unless installed over a screeded slab, engineered boards of less than 20mm thickness should be supported and fixed to an additional decking material to lend suitable structural support.
  • Solid hardwood – It is always best to use a kiln-dried timber with minimum moisture content, store it in a dry place before installation and fit a floor temperature sensor to reduce the chance of the timber overheating.
  • Soft woods – Most soft woods can be used with underfloor heating but it is not recommended for use with any high heat output systems as it can cause them to warp under temperature. Always fit a floor temperature sensor.
  • Parquet – Also suitable for use with underfloor heating, these floor blocks should be continuously glued onto the screed or timber deck for good heat transfer. Again, always fit a floor temperature sensor.

 

LoProMax in bedroom

Laminates and vinyl

Many homeowners are unsure whether they can use a laminate or vinyl with underfloor heating but this type of floor covering actually performs very well.

It’s important to check the manufacturer’s recommended maximum floor surface temperature to ensure that the covering is suitable for use with underfloor heating. Most manufacturers state 27°C, which is more than adequate in most situations. For any sensitive floor coverings, or where a system with a high heat output is being installed, a floor temperature sensor should be fitted to limit the heat output from the floor.

  • Vinyl – Vinyl works well with underfloor heating as the heat can easily permeate the slim layer. However, as most vinyls should not be heated to above 26°C, the underfloor heating should be restricted. Because of this, vinyls are not suitable for any rooms with high heat losses, like a conservatory, as it would not be able to sufficiently heat the room when restricted.
  • Amtico – A practical and highly versatile flooring, Amtico is a popular choice of floor covering. To avoid any discolouration or damage, the floor temperature should be limited to 27°C.

 

Carpet

Carpet is still a popular floor covering, especially in bedrooms. Carpet and underlay with a combined tog value of up to 2.5 can be used effectively with underfloor heating, anything thicker than this will act as an insulator and stop sufficient heat reaching the room.

Don’t forget the design

The choice of floor covering should be taken into account before you choose an UFH system. Nu-Heat will be happy to advise on the suitability of any floor coverings and will also consider this in the design, making sure that floor temperature sensors are provided for particular rooms and that the heat outputs are sufficient in others.

For more information on floor coverings and their compatibility with UFH, visit www.nu-heat.co.uk/floorcoverings or call us on 01404 540650.