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Underfloor Heating - Rising Renewables!

The drive to reduce the UK's carbon emissions over the next ten years, by introducing renewable energy systems such as solar heating and ground source heat pumps, is increasing the demand for trained electricians and plumbers qualified to be competent installers across the domestic residential market.Many new builds and property renovations have been also turning to the installation of underfloor heating (UFH), which consume between 15 - 40 per cent less energy than traditional heating systems and have seen widespread use in northern Europe for over thirty years. The UK market, although much younger, saw rapid growth in the early part of the decade, gaining popularity in the self build and luxury sectors of the house building market in particular, and has been steadily increasing to its present 5 per cent of the total UK heating market.Underfloor heating works by separating areas into zones, usually one zone per room, and each is heated and controlled independently. A controlled flow of warm water is pumped from any heat source through plastic tubing embedded in the floor, which itself becomes the heat emitter and the heating of the room is thus, from the floor up. A traditional central heating system operates by the heat emitters being radiators mounted on the wall and the room is heated from the ceiling downwards. As the emitting area is large, sufficient warmth is provided, even on a cold winter day, with no need for supplementary heating.Underfloor heating uses water heated to a lower temperature than conventional water central heating (typically 50??C rather than 60??C plus), which makes it ideal for use with a high efficiency condensing boilers. The lower operating temperature also makes it more suitable for use with heat pumps or solar water heaters. In new builds with solid floors, the heating pipe/cable is normally embedded in the floor screed.Where the electric element is to be laid on a surface rather than embedded in screed, electric underfloor heating normally uses heating mats which are usually just the cable attached to a flexible, mesh backing to ensure that the cable remains adequately spaced.Heating and plumbing engineers, HVA contractors and Heat pump/solar installers can add to their present service skill offering by undertaking a 2 day underfloor heating installer course, which has been developed by BPEC in association with the Under-floor Heating Manufacturers Association (UFHMA) and is recognised by IDHEE (Institute of Domestic Heating and Environmental Engineers) at Able Skills Renewable Technologies centre.