Underfloor heating is a luxurious, cost-effective, and energy-efficient solution to keep your home warm. If you're considering installing it in your existing home, this blog is for you. We will walk you through the step-by-step guide to retrofitting underfloor heating in your home.
Determine Your Heating Needs
The first step is to assess the specific heating needs of your home. Think about the rooms where you need underfloor heating. A thorough analysis of your heating needs helps you choose the right system—whether it's hydronic (water-based) or electric. Keep in mind that electric underfloor heating is typically better suited for smaller rooms, like bathrooms, while hydronic systems are ideal for larger areas or the whole house.
Plan Your Budget
Next, consider your budget. This will dictate the scale of the project, type of heating (hydronic is generally more expensive), and choice of flooring. Remember, though the initial cost might seem high, underfloor heating is an investment that pays off in the long run with reduced energy bills and increased home value.
Choose the Right Flooring
Different flooring types have varying levels of heat conductivity, affecting the system's efficiency. Tiles, stone, and concrete are the most conductive and therefore the most efficient. However, if you prefer wood or carpet, ensure they're suitable for underfloor heating to avoid damage and inefficiency.
While keen DIY-ers might be tempted to handle the installation themselves, hiring professionals is recommended for retrofitting underfloor heating. It's a complex process that involves technical know-how to ensure a safe and effective installation.
Before installation begins, remove the existing flooring carefully to avoid damaging the subfloor. Ensure all furniture and appliances are removed from the room, and the area is clean and free from debris.
Proper insulation is crucial in ensuring the efficiency of your underfloor heating system. The insulation is laid down first to prevent heat from escaping downwards, pushing it upwards into your room. This step also involves laying a vapor barrier to protect against any potential moisture damage.
Install the Heating System
This is where the actual installation takes place. For electric underfloor heating, a mat with heating wires is rolled out across the floor according to the preplanned layout, ensuring even coverage. In the case of a hydronic system, a network of pipes is laid out according to the system's design. These pipes will carry the hot water that heats the floor.
Connect to Power Source
Once the heating system is in place, connect it to the power source. For an electric system, this involves wiring the mats to the thermostat and mains power. For a hydronic system, connect the piping network to your boiler or heat pump. At this stage, it is crucial to test the system to ensure it's working correctly.
Lay the New Floor
After the successful testing, it's time to lay your new flooring. Remember to allow the adhesive to dry fully before testing the system again.
Run the System
Once the installation is complete, run the system for a while before using it normally. This helps to acclimatize the flooring and ensure everything works as expected.
Retrofitting underfloor heating can significantly enhance your home's comfort and value. While it may seem daunting, this step-by-step guide will help you navigate the process with confidence. Remember, the key to a successful retrofit lies in careful planning and execution, so take your time to understand your needs and hire professionals to ensure the job is done right.