Floor heating is mainly used in new builds, as the pipework is usually laid within the slab of the building.
Underfloor heating provides a hydronic solution without panels. However, consideration of floor coverings is required. Polished concrete and ceramic tiles are best suited for this type of heating. Timber and cork, for example, do not allow the heat to radiate as effectively.
Rather than relying purely on underfloor heating, most buildings require a combination of underfloor and panel heating (eg slab heating downstairs, panels upstairs).
In our underfloor heating systems, Ascot Heating uses brass headers. Brass is chosen due to its ability to retain its form once heated and also because it has certain properties which prevent oxygen entering the system. Oxygen within a hydronic system causes inefficiencies. Furthermore, it’s presence can adversely affect the life span of the materials used in such systems.
Installation of multi-layered pipe by Ascot Heating guarantees minimal expansion of the pipework within the concrete slab. In fact, the expansion co-efficient of such pipe is a 10th of that relevant to pex and poly pipe.
The multi-layered pipe also contains an oxygen barrier.
In terms of installing the pipe, there are 2 options:
Insulation and pipework is placed upon the structural slab, which is positioned 90mm below the finished floor level. The concrete/tile screed is then laid over such pipework in the final stages of construction. This minimizes the likelihood of damage to the pipework and finished flooring.
This option is particularly suitable for Melbourne’s climate, with heat and cool times less than 2 hours.
In addition, such a system is incredibly cost effective to operate – with only the final 40mm of the slab being heated.
Further, as the pipes are at a consistent depth below the floor, an even temperature displacement occurs.
An advantage to choosing this option is the client’s ability to use coloured concrete as finished floor.
Pipework is tied directly to the structural slab.
Although not as conducive to the changeable Melbourne weather, it is a less expensive option.
By attaching the heating pipes to the structural slab, the efficiency of the system is somewhat compromised with the entire slab and house footings being unnecessarily heated.
Further, such a system can take up to 4 days to heat and cool; it is therefore less responsive to Melbourne’s climate.
It is worth noting that there is a greater risk of the pipes being damaged during construction. Additionally, if the finished floor is polished concrete, it is also more susceptible to impairment (having been poured much earlier in construction).