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Turning On Underfloor Heating For The First Time

Turning On Underfloor Heating For The First Time

So you've made the great investment into your home and have installed underfloor heating. You're really keen to test it and get it running, to experience the incredible ambience and comfort underfloor heating gives your home.

However, there are a few things that are worth looking into before doing so, and some practical measures to take whilst turning on your underfloor heating system for the very first time.

Is the screed or self levelling compound dry?

It's important to make sure that the screed, self-levelling compound or any adhesives used in the process are fully dry. You want to make sure that they have naturally dried, allowing for all moisture to be removed. Heating up your underfloor heating system too quickly whilst screed is still drying can result in damage leading to compromised foundations in your underfloor heating build.

Always check with your installer which screed you are using and how long it usually takes to dry before turning on your system.

Flooring type chosen for underfloor heating

It's also important to understand that the type of flooring you have also determines the best method for turning on your underfloor heating for the first time. The most obvious example is engineered wood, as this flooring type needs to be eased into being exposed to direct heat from your underfloor heating system. It is advised to slowly build up to a higher heat to avoid warping and cracking to the surface of the wood.

Again, always refer back to your installer to understand the correct starting procedure for your floor type.

Turning off your heating in the summer

You'll likely have some down time with your underfloor heating system throughout the summer months, this means your heating will be dormant and inactive for a while. When it comes time to turn on your underfloor heating again, it's really important to follow the same steps you used in your first time turning it on as this will enable your flooring and the system itself to get used to the heat and process of a flowing underfloor heating system again.

We've written a piece on why turning off underfloor heating in summer is worthwhile.

Best first-time underfloor heating temperature for your flooring

Vinyl Floors

Vinyl, linoleum and laminate floors should be laid flat for at least 24 hours prior to installation and turning on for the first time.

It is recommended that you test the underfloor heating function and then switch off again 48 hours before the flooring is installed, and post-installation, equally remains off once again for 48 hours.

These floor types can be heated up to 27°C, but for best practice it's worth ensuring that the heat doesn't exceed this temperature.

Stone, Tiles & Ceramic

Stone, tiling and ceramic flooring is probably the most adverse to any negative affects of heat exposure. Fitting a decoupling membrane is the main recommendation when installing these flooring types. Whilst these flooring types aren't susceptible to heat shock, it is still recommended not to exceed 29°C.

Carpet & Rugs

For carpets and underfloor heating, it's recommended that you switch off the heating system 48 hours before installing your carpeted flooring and then again 48 hours afterwards. It's then advised that you gradually increase temperature to full working temperature over the course of 7 days.

It's recommended that you use carpet with a combined rating of 2.5 tog for the best performance, and the recommended maximum temperature for carpet being 27°C.

Wood & Engineered Wood

It is recommended that you do not exceed 27°C for wood flooring, as exceeding temperatures could lead to expanding and warping of the wood floor. It is also recommended to work up to full working temperature across seven days, slowly increasing temperature in small increments.

How long will it take for my underfloor heating to warm up?

There are a few factors to consider here, mainly the type of underfloor heating kit you have installed and the flooring type you have.

With water underfloor heating systems, as they are heated with water from your homes boiler, the time it takes to heat up will be longer than alternative systems, this however is still an efficient way of heating your flooring. If it does not heat straight away, we recommend you wait for this process to run rather than increasing the temperature when you turn on your underfloor heating for the first time.

Electric underfloor heating works with a ultra-thin heating wire connected to mains electric, which as a result has a much faster heat up time.

Both types of underfloor heating will heat up to your desired temperature, however you'll find that water systems will just take slightly longer than electric underfloor heating.

The type of flooring can also play a part in the warm up process of underfloor heating, with particular flooring types conducting far easier than others - tile, ceramic and stone are a few examples of flooring that will heat up very fast. Flooring such as wood will take slightly longer to heat up.

What's the best way to control your underfloor heating?

Smart thermostats are a fantastic way to fully automate and control your underfloor heating - this could be particularly helpful through the process of turning on your underfloor heating for the first time, as you may need to gradually increase temperatures each day.

These thermostats allow you to tell your underfloor heating system when to turn on and off, and also at what temperature, or even what room if you have underfloor heating systems set up in multiple rooms of your home.

Check out our thermostats for our recommended smart & programmable thermostats to fully automate your home heating, and experience ultimate home comfort.

Next article Does Underfloor Heating Increase Property Value?
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