Under floor Heating is a panacea for most of the problems faced by architects, interior decorators and the HVAC designers. As the saying goes heating and air conditioning should never be seen but only felt. Unfortunately due to a multitude of complexities faced by the above parties while implementing, in most of the existing and emerging constructions, the opposite has been the end result.
The Architects and interior decorators form their concepts for the mechanical systems and expect the mechanical services designer to twist and mould their creations to reality. A rather hard task, with the limited resources and implements available to them at their disposal you could say. What with energy and environmental conservation, cost cutting, minimizing carbon foot print etc. The bitter truth is that the traditional heat distribution terminal devices like radiators with their controls are ugly hulks in otherwise well designed and pleasing interior of a room.
Radiators are Inefficient
The facts are clear. The radiator is rather an inefficient and inconvenient piece of machinery. Not only that. They require regular maintenance done on them for best possible performance. The wall space they occupy not only spoils the décor but also waste about 30 percent of the room space. (The device may be small but air distribution patterns and maintenance space are things you cannot do without. It is nightmarish to attempt furniture placing in such a scenario).
The radiator needs blowers for heat laden air distribution through out the room. Though relatively less noisy at first, as time passes by, the loosened components, wasted bearings, corroded and imbalanced blower blades, all contribute to increasing noise.
In reality radiators are stuffy, ungainly, uncomfortable heat exchangers which promote wasted heat through window and door gaps, walls, roofs, ceilings and other unexpected places. Wastes your energy, wastes your money too.
The way out!
Ever improving under floor heating systems (UFH) is one way out for the designers as well as the home owners. You can take it for granted that every square metre of the floor space of your rooms will be usable the way you want it. Incidentally what is under floor heating?
It is a system where a very basic and simple heat exchanger is buried evenly spaced under the floor. There are three main heat sources which are being utilized and according to which they are categorized.viz.
Electricity for Under Floor Heating
The electrical energy powered UFH systems are simple and easily manipulated for obtimised energy utilization. Electricity at the point of usage being highly efficient the users save money and also conserve the environment. The heating elements are available in mat form ready to lay and connect to supply, functioning similar to an electric blanket.
However most of the times the electrical energy is obtained from fossil fuels which makes many frown on the system.
Hot Water under floor heating
A popular and efficient system where even waste heat and a lot of other renewable heat sources can be used. It is the most efficient and easily incorporated system for geothermal heat, heat pumps, solar heated water, etc.
The basic system has a minimum of 3 main components. Viz.
In addition there are accessories such as clips, manifold/ major component mounting brackets, aluminium distribution plates, high density insulation, thermal storage tanks etc.
Advantages over Radiator systems
What ever the source of energy, all under floor heating systems display the following advantages.