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We all know that a well installed and insulated wet underfloor heating system can save households money on their heating bills when compared to a traditional radiator set-up.
Plus, underfloor heating is extremely reliable and it’s very rare that it will require any form of servicing – unlike a radiator system that may require regular checks and bleeding.
But, one question remains – how to get the most out of the system in terms of efficiency. Should I really leave my underfloor heating on all day?
In order to maximise the potential savings while maintaining a warm and comfortable living space, take a look at the following advice to help make the most of your radiant heating system.
Is it best to leave my underfloor heating on all day?
In a nutshell – yes – however, it does depend upon the season.
In winter months keeping the underfloor heating on will ensure faster response times when the heating is needed. It may sound odd to leave the heating on when everyone is out for the day, but with underfloor heating it can take two or three hours to warm up to the required temperature from stone cold.
This is simply because the screed in which the radiant heating pipes are laid takes a while to conduct the heat and radiate up through the floor to provide the air temperature you desire.
But, when left on at a reduced heat it can make it up to a comfortable level very quickly.
However, it’s still advisable to reduce the temperature overnight by using your thermostats effectively.
Use thermostats efficiently
A good underfloor heating system should be highly programmable and many are even remotely accessible via mobile devices now thanks to the growing popularity of smart thermostats. This gives you full control over your system, ensuring that you are not wasting any precious energy when it is not needed.
A properly installed system should also allow the family to determine exactly what temperature they would like in each room over the course of the day, often referred to as ‘zoning’. According to BEAMA, a home fitted with modern heating controls can save a family up to 40% on their energy bills.
It’s a good idea to reduce the air temperature to the mid-teens overnight with the help of your thermostats. Scheduling them to become warmer in the morning will give you a comfortable temperature to start the day and make getting out of bed easier. Then, once everyone is up and out, set them back down to a resting temperature during the daytime if nobody is in.
Once again this can all be achieved via your control panel. Setting it up correctly will make sure that it is warming automatically before anyone comes home, ensuring that a nice and welcoming temperature awaits their return.
Maximise efficiency with insulation
Insulation is very important to any underfloor heating system but it is, unfortunately, often an overlooked part of the installation process.
When people complain that their UFH system isn’t working properly or it is failing to heat the whole room, there’s a good chance that poor insulation is to blame.
Insulation works in two main ways:
1) The system itself needs to be installed upon a well-insulated subfloor in order to work at its optimal level. This will ensure that the heat radiates up and through the floor – instead of warming the concrete below.
2) Remember that radiant heating is based upon the simple principle that heat rises. Therefore it is important to ensure that this heat does not escape through a poorly insulated roof, or through thin walls and draughty windows. It makes sense to fully insulate your home at the same time as you install your underfloor heating so you ensure that the whole home is as energy efficient as possible.
Use heating only where it’s needed
Many families, especially those with larger homes may find that they use some rooms every day and others very rarely.
During colder seasons it is definitely a good idea to limit the heat used in rooms that aren’t commonly inhabited (spare bedrooms, dining rooms etc.) and instead prioritise heating in communal areas.
A zonal control system will allow you to regulate the temperate of each room independently so you can enjoy the warming comfort of radiant heating where you need it most – without wasting excess energy elsewhere.