Mar 27, 2015

What to be Aware of When Installing Underfloor Heating During the Winter

Many people make the decision to install underfloor heating once winter has already started, which often means that it’s often a few months before they’re enjoying the benefits. If the installation is set to occur during the winter, there are a number of mishaps that could occur, which can severely damage your system before you’ve even used it! In this article, we have outlined some of the main things that you need to be aware of to avoid these mishaps.

There is always a chance that the pipe will burst
Firstly, we felt it is was important to stress that, no matter what the manufacturer has claimed, if water expands with the pipes there is always a chance that they will burst. Whilst some pipes really are more robust than others, you have to wonder whether you’re willing to take the risk. Consider the fact that, if a pipe were to burst, you will have to find the leak, dig up the screed, fix the pipe and re-test the system in order to get it back up and running.

So, what do you need to be aware of when installing underfloor heating during the cold winter months?

  • Introduce Anti-Freeze
    After the pipes have been laid and the system is pretty much ready to go, ensure that an anti-freeze inhibitor has been introduced. This will help to prevent the water from freezing in the pipes and should be introduced to your system every winter. Freezing is the main cause of bursting, as it causes the water to expand and break through the pipes. When the weather or system warms up, the water melts and leaks through.

  • Pressure Test
    Before the underfloor heating system is signed off, it needs to be pressure tested to ensure that the pipes can withstand the force of water being pumped around. You have the option to pressure test the system using air rather than water, which greatly reduces the chance of water freezing somewhere in the pipes. If the installer is performing the test for you, they may have already decided to use air rather than water.

  • Drain the System
    If the system will not be used immediately and your installer has decided to pressure test it using water, it is important that you completely drain the pipes once the test is complete. Air can be used to force the last of the water out of the system, ensuring that not a single drop is left to freeze and wreak havoc in the pipes. If the system is going to be used straight away, however, the water can be left and anti-freeze added.

At the end of the day, the best way to avoid mishaps with the installation of underfloor heating is to have it installed at a warmer time of year (such as spring or summer). For some homeowners, however, this is simply not an option – perhaps you’re building and the system needs to be installed before the next stage can commence, for example. In these cases, it is important that you complete the above steps to ensure that mishaps are kept to a minimum.

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