Underfloor heating is taking over the world as the number one choice for warming up your house. Unlike traditional radiators, underfloor heating systems offer more energy efficiency around your home and heat an entire room more effectively. But how are these systems installed, and can you do it yourself?
DIY underfloor heating kits are a thing; you can purchase them from trusted suppliers in your area. However, you need to have a certain level of know-how about how the systems work and how to perform the installation before you start.
Below is all the information you need to know about installing underfloor heating systems yourself.
Underfloor heating is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a central heating system that warms up a room or a whole house by generating heat under the surface of the floors. The warmth travels upward and very quickly turns an area into a comfortable and cosy oasis.
There are two types of underfloor heating systems you can choose from:
Water underfloor heating involves the installation of a network of pipes and tubes underneath a floor’s surface. The network is connected to a manifold, and once the system is turned on, warm water starts to flow out of the manifold and throughout the series of pipes, ultimately heating up the room above.
Electric underfloor heating is similar to its water counterpart. A series of cables or heating mats are placed underneath the floors of a room and connected to the property’s mains. When turned on, an electric current rushes through the cables or mats, warming up the room above.
Once you’ve chosen which underfloor heating system is best for you, it’s time to install it. Let’s start with wet underfloor heating systems:
First things first: You need to clean the layer underneath your flooring thoroughly, called the subfloor. This will help eliminate dirt, grime, or sharp objects that could damage your pipes.
To make your underfloor heating as energy-efficient as possible, you must first put a layer of floor insulation down. Fit the boards as precisely as you can and tape the seams to reduce the potential for heat loss.
You connect your pipes to the manifold in each of your rooms. You must attach it to a strong wall to support itself and the pipes you’ll connect.
It’s now time to do the heavy work and start laying the pipes. You must snake them from the manifold to the furthest part of your room and then back again. Ensure there is 20mm between each piping run to allow the heat to be evenly distributed.
Before you do anything else, you must perform a pressure test to see if there are any leaks in any part of the system. If there are, you may need to tighten the affected area.
It is highly recommended for any water underfloor heating system to have a layer of concrete screed added on top. You must keep your system under pressure while laying the screed and while it dries.
All that’s left to do is connect the manifold to your boiler pump and ensure the system does its job correctly. You can then add the thermostat, and you’re ready to go.
If you’ve chosen to install an electric underfloor heating system in one of your rooms, here’s the process you need to follow:
Start your electric underfloor heating installation by measuring the room in which you’ll be installing it. Ensure you subtract measurements from any fixtures in the area and allow an additional 50mm for the outside of the room.
Like a water underfloor heating system, you must insulate your flooring before adding any cables or mats.
Your underfloor heating system needs electricity to work, so you must locate the power source you’ll be connecting it to in the room and cut out a hole in the wall for the cables. If you need more clarification, you can always seek help from an electrician.
You can now start the heavy lifting by placing down all the heating mats, ensuring all floor areas are covered. If you’re using cables, you’ll need to connect them similarly to the pipes in a water underfloor heating system.
All that’s left to do is put the sensor in place by positioning the probe as close to the element’s centre as possible and securing it with tape. From there, you can turn the system on and see if everything is working.
DIY underfloor heating installation isn’t always the easiest thing to do, so you want to follow the best practices to guarantee success. Here are some additional tips we think could help you out:
- Get your DIY underfloor heating kit from a trusted supplier or even a company that performs installations themselves.
- Do lots of research before you start your installation to ensure you know the best methods to use.
- Contact a trained professional to help you out in case you ever find yourself struggling and to do the final checks for you at the end.
- Choose the best flooring to install on top that has a high level of heat conductivity for the best results.
- Consider the costs of installing the system by yourself compared to hiring a trained professional (If you’re new to DIY, you might end up saving more in the future based on repairs).
Underfloor heating can bring so much to a home. It can make you feel warm and comfortable during the colder months and reduce stress levels when you’re worried about heating up. While installing the system yourself can be extremely beneficial and maybe save you some costs, you need to be sure you can do it before you get started. If not, we highly recommend using a trained professional to get the most out of your underfloor heating.