UK-based Nu-Heat, a designer and supplier of warm-water underfloor heating, has developed a floor construction that allows underfloor heating to be utilized in more retrofit installations for older properties.
Underfloor heating offers enhanced comfort levels and is able to operate at lower flow temperatures where there is sufficient insulation, so efficiency can be increased and energy bills reduced.
Nu-Heat’s LoPro10 is a floating-floor construction with a height build-up of 15mm that can be fitted on top of the existing floor deck. LoPro10 is based around a composite gypsum construction that has one-third less thermal mass than a screed floor, allowing it to heat up and cool down rapidly – making it more economical for retrofit properties and giving quicker response times than comparable, non-gypsum based products.
LoPro10’s low thermal resistance, high mass properties provide a high thermal output compared to floating floors and similar low height plywood and chipboard based systems, according to Nu-Heat. The floor construction also provides airborne acoustic reduction on timber upper floors by adding mass, and this also means that it feels more solid underfoot than many light-weight floating floors.
Installation of the floor construction is straightforward, as the 10mm ultra-flexible PEX-c pipework is laid in the grooved panels in lengths of up to 60m. Fastrack clip system assists a simple run back to the manifold with pipework laid closely, up to ten pipes side by side.
Ceramic tile, stone and marble are ideal as they conduct heat well and warm up fairly quickly. These can be laid directly on the dense rigid gypsum board with no requirement for a ply layer. Wood coverings can be ‘floated’ directly over the panel. Carpet is also acceptable as long as the tog value (including the underlay) doesn’t exceed 2.5.
Nu-Heat also supplies wireless room thermostats that help when retrofitting underfloor heating systems as they remove the need for potentially disruptive and messy hard wiring. Wireless thermostats provide independent time and temperature control for each room or zone. Nu-Heat’s range includes a basic wired dial version, slimline pushbutton wired programmable thermostats, radio control programmable thermostats, including low-voltage options and touch screen low voltage thermostats with a central touch screen console, that are networked and iPhone enabled. The use of a central console allows overall control of the system without having to program individual thermostats so room temperatures can be controlled throughout the day and can be setback to improve response times from a single point.