Today it is possible to choose between multiple heating systems. Underfloor heating is one of the alternatives with the best aesthetic result after installation. It is totally invisible. Are you thinking of installing this type of heating on your own? We tell you how to install underfloor heating step by step.
How to install underfloor heating
Underfloor heating is an invisible heating system that is placed under the floor. First of all, we would like to point out that, although there are those who decide to put it on their own, the installation is not particularly simple. It is necessary to carry out certain masonry tasks that, without experience, can end with a bad result.
Materials and tools
Cement mortar – Perimeter strip – Polyethylene film – Collector boxes – Insulating panel or insulation plates – Underfloor heating pipes – Fixing clips to hold the pipes.
1. Prepare the surface
First of all, prepare the ground on which the underfloor heating is to be installed. To achieve a suitable surface, it is necessary:
Clean and level the floor, when necessary. It is essential that the surface is level since the insulating panels used in this type of installation can deteriorate due to the irregularities of the ground.
To isolate from possible humidity, it is convenient to put a film or insulating material.
A plastic perimeter band must be placed as a skirting board to avoid as much as possible the stresses produced by the expansion or contraction of the floor. In bathrooms and kitchens, it is advisable to surround the drains to avoid thermal bridges and humidity problems.
2. Install the collectors
The next step would be to install the manifolds to connect the heating system to the boiler or heat pump. From this point, the different piping circuits will come and go, and it will allow us to regulate the temperature individually in each room.
The collectors can be installed embedded in a partition, in a built-in cupboard … The important thing is that a searchable and easily accessible area is chosen, since from time to time it may be necessary to purge the circuit.
3. Place the insulation panel
Next, you have to proceed to place the insulating panels or plates. They have usually installed relatively easily thanks to a tongue and groove system.
IMPORTANT: It is essential to place the panels correctly so that the joints are completely closed. Otherwise, the mortar added later could cause a thermal bridge.
4. Install the pipes
The tubes are installed on the insulation plates. Some panels come pre-built with protrusions so that the pipe will fit when laying. If the panel is smooth, it will be necessary to use staples to fix the tubes.
The tube is usually marketed rolled up in spools. In this sense, the participation of two people may be necessary: while one is in charge of unwinding the coil, the other is placing the tube on the panels.
During the process, aspects such as the distance between the tubes must be taken into account, which can vary depending on:
Orientation: Normally, the temperature is lower in rooms facing North.
Possible points of heat loss: There are certain elements that favor heat loss, such as windows or doors.
The use of the room: There are areas, such as corridors, where it is not necessary that it be so hot.
And you also have to sit down to think and plan the length of the circuits, since longer circuits can suffer pressure losses.
5. Check the installation
Before pouring the mortar and covering the installation, it is necessary to check that the circuit works properly. In particular, it is important to check the pressure and carry out a hydraulic balance to verify that the temperature remains constant at different points.
6. Pour the mortar
The mortar pouring (with a thickness of about 5 cm) and the screed is carried out. It is advisable to purchase a self-levelling mortar to facilitate the laying of the floor and promote better heat distribution. If the mortar is not poured well, it can increase the thermal resistance of the floor, which would be counterproductive.
It is usually necessary to wait a certain time from when the mortar is poured until we can place the floor.
How to install electric underfloor heating (radiant wire)
As we had anticipated, when we talk about underfloor heating, there is a second alternative with a somewhat simpler installation: electric underfloor heating. However, it is necessary to take into account the high electrical consumption that this system can suppose.
Materials and tools
Pliers – Cutter and scissors – Screwdriver – Electric underfloor heating – Probe and thermostat – Terminals and connection cables – Adhesive tape. – Protective film.
1. Install the register boxes
To begin with, it is necessary to locate the point of light that will supply our underfloor heating system to install the register boxes. Two are installed: one for the thermostat and one for the electrical connection of the system.
The thermostat box will communicate through two tubes with the electrical box. In turn, two other tubes will come out from the register box. The objective of the first will be to power the system or device while the second is necessary to install the probe.
2. Prepare the soil
Surface preparation is similar to that carried out with underfloor heating by water:
First, the floor is cleaned and leveled (if necessary).
Afterward, a thermal insulation sheet is placed to prevent heat from being lost downwards.
It is important to leave a cable ready to connect later to the underfloor heating. It is necessary to calculate well that the length of the cable is sufficient.
3. Install the radiant wire
Once we have conditioned the room, we can proceed with the installation:
First, you have to lay the circuit, distributing it so that we can occupy as much space as possible.
When we are done, we will have to heat seal the end of the cable and make the necessary splices, connecting the circuit to the connection box.
4. Check it out
Before covering the ground, we will have to check that. Indeed, it works. In fact, it is very important to check the continuity of the heating cable.
5. Cover the underfloor heating
We will have to take care of covering the installation. To do this, we mainly have two options:
As in the case of underfloor heating by water, we could cover the installation with a mortar (in this case, about 3 cm). Later we would let it set and lay the floor.
The second alternative consists of combining the installation with thermal blankets and directly laying a laminate floor or similar surface.
It is essential to previously check that the floor we want to install is compatible with the heating system.
6. Install the thermostat
Finally, we will need some kind of device to control the temperature. That is, we will have to install the thermostat. The necessary cables will have to be raised from the register box, without forgetting the probe cable.
And in a very short time, we will be able to start enjoying our underfloor heating!
Where is it advisable to install underfloor heating?
Especially in homes and buildings where continuous use of heating is necessary.
How much does the underfloor heating consume?
Underfloor heating is a very efficient heating system that can work at low temperatures and which, combined with aerothermal systems or condensing boilers, can contribute to energy savings. In fact, we could point out that its use is associated with low energy consumption.
What types of flooring can underfloor heating be combined with?
It is always recommended to choose materials that make heat transmission easier, such as natural stone or ceramic floors. It must be taken into account that both wood and laminates, although they may stand out in terms of aesthetics, conduct heat worse.
What if the system crashes?
As you can imagine, when this happens, you have to raise the pavement again. In this sense, the best thing is to bet on professional work and quality products, to avoid breakdowns as much as possible.