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Underfloor heating - confused how to use it properly!

(21 Posts)
EmGee Thu 27-Nov-14 23:09:38

The whole of our new (open plan) house is u/f heating with tiled floors. Never having had this kind of heating before and having a DH who seems impervious to the cold....what is the best way to use it?

A friend said put it on and leave it on all day because it takes a while to heat up/cool down.

I think the thermostat is set at 20 degrees.

PigletJohn Fri 28-Nov-14 08:52:34

Is it electrically heated, or hot water from a gas boiler?

Look at the meter, preferably once a day at first, but certainly weekly, and note down in your diary against the meter reading whether the weather has been cold or mild. Look at your fuel bills to see what you pay per kWh (electricity) and calculate the cost per cubic metre (gas). Once you have got the hang of it, meter readings once a month will do, and you can input them online to your suppliers' websites to generate accurate bills and avoid estimates.

The more hours you run the heating, the more it will cost. There will be a delay between turning the heating on or off, and the room getting warm or cold. It might be half an hour, but with concrete floors could be longer depending on placement of the heating elements and the insulation. Heating your home while it is empty or when you are in bed is wasteful.

Electric heating is much more expensive to run than gas.

Have you got thermostats in each room, or just one?

EmGee Fri 28-Nov-14 20:26:19

Thanks for your help Piglet. It is electrically heated. And we have no gas. There is a control-type unit (on the walls) for each 'zone' downstairs (four in total but one is in a bedroom so has never been on). But just one thermostat. We have to do a reading this weekend and transmit it to the electricity company. I will start to do weekly readings and keep a record.

It definitely is not on at night, morning or when we are away.

I tend to put it on early afternoon when it is cheap rate and either light the fire, or switch it down when the kids have gone to bed (8pm). Trouble is, it is still quite mild at the moment. It definitely takes a while to 'kick in' - the floors start to feel warm after about 40-60 minutes (in some zones) but they stay warm for a long time after we have turned it right down.

themagicamulet Fri 28-Nov-14 22:27:10

I have gas ufloor heating - we really like it but have found it's really important to programme it carefully to get the best out of it. I wouldn't leave it on all day. You have to get used to the slower warm up times offset by much better heat retention, so it needs a different approach compared to programming radiators, which warm up very quickly but don't retain their heat for as long. I time the heating to come on about an hour before we get up so it comes up to temp. The heating then goes off at the time we get up but the floors and therefore rooms stay warm. I do the same in the evening - make sure it comes up to a comfortable temp before we get home, but heating goes off as soon as the right temp is reached and stays warm all evening. So at the moment as it's so mild it's only on between say 5 and 6 pm but my sitting room is still 22 degs by 11pm. In colder weather it might take longer to come up to temp. It took a while to programme it so that it worked for us - bit of trial and error.

ChishandFips33 Fri 28-Nov-14 23:13:55

Magicmulet thanks for the detail - sounds fab that it stays warm for so long

Are you in a new build with underfloor or retrofit? Is yours buried in the concrete or on the insulated boards? What flooring do you have - tiles or wood?

Sorry for all the ??? but we are going down this route on an open plan kitchen/diner/living room and am worrying its not going to be warm enough! - retrofitting water UFH on insulated boards then potentially engineered wood on top would really like tiles throughout but am worried on resale it would put families off having tiles and I realise it will be cooler in the summer

Sorry for hijack Emgee!!

themagicamulet Sat 29-Nov-14 11:21:32

it's a Victorian house but we fitted the u floor heating throughout the largely open plan downstairs when we did an extension and refurb 8 years ago. So the piping is laid into concrete screed and then covered with engineered wood. We love it - it's the only warm Victorian house I have ever lived in, and I have lived in a few! Lovely with tiles too I think but it depends on the type of house - that look fits better with new build/modern I think.

Apatite1 Sat 29-Nov-14 12:00:04

Does anyone have UFH with carpets? I really don't want to get both UFH and radiators but I also want carpets which I'm told does not conduct the heat well with UFH.

3littlefrogs Sat 29-Nov-14 12:05:28

Just a general comment about underfloor heating in case anyone doesn't know, never, ever put a baby in a carrycot or moses basket on the floor if you have underfloor heating. The baby gets way too hot very quickly and it has been a cause of infant death in the past. (personal/professional experience).

Graciescotland Sat 29-Nov-14 12:11:43

I have underfloor heating, I put the kitchen zone (open plan) on for early morning but it's nice to have warmth underfoot for making breakfast. Living room on in the evening. I do have a big woodburner in the living room which takes care of most of the heating.

PigletJohn Sat 29-Nov-14 12:32:52

I believe carpets will insulate the floor and reduce heat to the room. Rubber backed carpets (not common now, I think) will perish and crumble.

Wet ufh (from a boiler) has a thermostat and blending valve to mix cool and hot water to about 30C so the pipes and floor do not get very hot. I don't know how hot electric UFH could get underneath something that blocks heat escaping.

The "baby on hot floor" sounds very worrying.

Apatite1 Sat 29-Nov-14 12:45:05

Gah, I'm going to have to get radiators aren't I?

PigletJohn Sat 29-Nov-14 13:43:19

various colours that you can mix if you like

PigletJohn Sat 29-Nov-14 13:43:47

mistake, sorry

sacbina Sat 29-Nov-14 17:11:25

we have wet ufh throughout our house, upstairs and down, on and under all manner of surfaces. we only have towel rads I'm the bathroom.

yes, carpet does insulate, and It's not as noticeably warm underfoot as tiles. but it's about the ambient temperature of the room, not the stuffy direct heat from a rad.

consult with a ufh supplier, they are very helpful smile

Apatite1 Sat 29-Nov-14 18:33:02

Thanks sacbina, could you tell me who did your UFH please? Many thanks!

sacbina Sat 29-Nov-14 18:40:29

nu heat, bit this was 10 years ago, probably many companies operating now

Apatite1 Sat 29-Nov-14 18:55:37

Thanks very much, I'll definitely be contacting them. Much obliged!

sacbina Sat 29-Nov-14 19:42:51

the only room that hasn't worked so well is the smallest bedroom, where the loop is not very big, and it's carpeted.

It's still warm, just not as warm as the rest of the house, so beware of small area zones.

go for it, rads take up so much room!

googlenut Sat 29-Nov-14 22:52:07

Is underfloor heating very expensive to run compared with gas radiators?

PigletJohn Sat 29-Nov-14 23:15:08

electrical costs about three times as much as gas.

if the home is intermittently heated there will be an extra cost as it takes longer to heat up and cool down.

It is said to be more comfortable as the room is more evenly heated.

themagicamulet Sun 30-Nov-14 09:10:44

ours was also nu heat. I think it's quite a bit cheaper to run and is definitely a more even heat, but ours is complicated by the fact that we only have it downstairs, with trad radiators upstairs. Sometimes we'll have to have the rads on upstairs when the heating downstairs has been off for for hours. Wish we'd had it all the way through tbh.

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