Our Underfloor heating Specialist, David Playfoot provides some answers to commonly asked questions in the field of underfloor heating and smart controls.
With improvements in technology, smart controls can offer users enhanced energy efficiency and comfort.
1. What are the advantages of having this level of control over your home’s heating?
All smart control have a degree of intelligence to them, and unlike conventional on/off controls they can react better to your house needs. For instance, on an underfloor heating system a normal thermostat would allow for a massive under and over shoot because it cannot react intelligently early on. This will consequently cause a 3-4 degree variance in room temperature past the set point.
Smart controls on the other hand, allow the system to switch on and off early on from their set point meaning the overshoot and undershoot drops considerably. This in turn, make it a more efficient and more comfortable system.
2. How does it differ in terms of installation and control to a conventional central heating system?
Depending on the level of control you wish to achieve and which system you adopt, smart home controls can be as easy as just replacing your existing thermostat on the wall. However for the most optimum control and comfort, multi zone controls are paving the way by providing individual thermostats throughout your house. This can result in massive energy savings, as controls can be switched off in vacant rooms. However, this is more invasive in your home.
3. How much money in terms of bills could a homeowner save thanks to smart tech?
Different manufacturers mention different figures, however in independent testing of the Uponor smart balancing system it showed a 20% energy saving compared to a normal unbalanced system. The biggest fundamental floor we found with balancing a system is when extra radiators are added. TRV’s are shut down and this throws the whole system out of balance. However, with Uponor’s auto balancing technology the system will react to this and compensate.
4. How do setup prices compare in relation to conventional thermostats?
In comparison to normal thermostats, you are looking at a least £80-£100 premium for a single smart control system. This fee rises for multizone system.
However, the benefits do outweigh the initial outlay.
5. Are there different levels of functionality available for different budgets?
Yes. On our Uponor system we supply a basic range, which offers a degree of intelligent control. At the other end of the spectrum, we offer a smart phone control system.
Yes. We do both a wired system and wireless system (popular for renovations). Although more of a premium is attached, a wireless system gives you so many possibilities and allows for easy retrofitting of multizone controls in your house.
7. What can be installed DIY and what’s best left to the professionals?
If you are using the Uponor system, all of our thermostats are low voltage or wireless which means they can easily be installed by a keen DIY’er. However, placement of the thermostats is important so it in doubt seek a professional. Similarly, the “live side” of any electrical system much be carried out by a professional.
8. What’s the difference in terms of wireless vs wired? Which setups are suitable where?
The use of a wired or wireless system comes down to the best solution for the project, as both have their distinct advantages and disadvantages. Wireless is easier to install and great for renovation, however will require a battery replacement every 2-3 years. Wired systems are great for commercial applications and control items are much cheaper, with a greater range offer. However, installation of the cables can be very expensive and damage may occur causing control issues.