Each heating system is a whole set of various materials, devices, units and devices. In the complex, all these devices and materials represent a single working mechanism, a communication line through which the coolant, the blood of the heating system, circulates. Warm water floors belong to this type of heating equipment, which not only needs to be adjusted for the operation of each structural element, but is also considered the most convenient to manage.
Technological parameters of water underfloor heating, the functionality of each unit and unit requires competent management of a water-heated floor, which should result in a comfortable temperature inside the heated room. There are simple options for monitoring the performance of the heating system. The most affordable and cheapest way is when underfloor heating is controlled by water pumps and safety valves. However, to increase the level of comfort and safety, it is better to equip such heating systems with automatic control and management devices.
Let us consider in detail which control option is preferable, and what is the difference between manual and automatic adjustment of underfloor heating.
What is the feature of water floor management
In order to understand in general terms how it is possible to control the heating communications of a warm water floor, it is necessary to have an idea of what this type of heating is. It is important to know the structure of each unit and unit, how and by the principle of operation this or that equipment differs and what is its place in a single complex.
The figure — the diagram gives an idea of what devices and devices make up a single control unit for water floors. This includes:
- pumping unit;
- collector with two parts (supply and collection);
- bypass with safety valves;
- air temperature controllers;
- floor heating thermostats;
- control module for working units and system communications.
At first glance, a fairly large number of various devices can be misleading that a warm floor is a heating system that is difficult to heat. In fact, a properly configured pump, adjusted thermostats on safety valves, adjusted flow meters, air vents and bleed valves are quite understandable and quite easy to operate.
On a note: any control scheme for heating equipment, including underfloor heating, should be as clear, accessible and easy to use as possible.
The fundamental difference is automatic or manual control
In order to make a choice in favor of the manual control option or to bet that automation is better for controlling the operation of a water heated floor, you need to understand the basic concepts. Is automation of heating equipment necessary? How laborious and expensive this process is. Is manual adjustment of the heating system convenient or practical?
On a note: automation of underfloor heating differs significantly in price from similar work related to the electric heating option.
It should be said that for heating, in which the main focus is on the liquid heat carrier, the control and adjustment mechanisms look much more complicated than in the case of electric analogues of underfloor heating. The whole difficulty lies in the fact that the management of the water floor is carried out in constant dynamics. In order to obtain the desired temperature in the heated room, to ensure that the flow of hot water reaches the most extreme sections of the water loop, it is necessary to change the technological parameters of each element of the equipment. The thermostat readings affect the operation of the three-way valve and the operation of the pump, the flow meter determines the speed and intensity of the coolant flows in each water pipe.
To shoulder the burden of self-manual adjustment of the operation of each device means to forget about peace and comfort. This picture is typical for a full-fledged underfloor heating system that works for the main heating of a living space. Here, underfloor heating automation plays a key role in maintaining optimal operation.
In cases where we are talking about heating floors in a limited area, you can solve the problem much easier by resorting to manual control. Is there an alternative to automation? There is, if we talk about the fact that heating is carried out by heating circuits of short length and in a limited, small area.
With manual adjustment, the manipulations look like this:
- a jumper is installed between the supply pipe and the return;
- instead of the usual tee on the site, a three-way valve is installed between the jumper and the main pipe, which starts or blocks the water flow;
- immediately after the three-way valve, a circulation pump is mounted;
- the collector has throttles on the combined comb, which regulate the operation of each water circuit separately. The upper part of the manifold is equipped with shut-off valves;
- a bypass is installed on the return pipe, a jumper that allows water to flow from the return pipe in a small circle.
A simple and understandable diagram gives a complete picture of how the underfloor heating system is controlled in manual mode.
On a note: should be said right away. With manual control, underfloor heating will cost you much less. However, this scheme has a significant drawback. This adjustment principle has a large inertia. In other words. After rearranging the regulators of instruments and devices, changes occur within a certain time. Giving results in just 3-4 hours.
The reason for such a slow reaction is not in the equipment itself, but in the principle of heating. A concrete screed, excessively heated by a hot coolant, will cool down for quite some time. And, conversely, with insufficient heating, it will take a lot of time for the concrete floor to heat up to the required temperature. To achieve in this case the optimal parameters of the air temperature inside the room is a problematic task.
In order to have a comfortable temperature in the room, you will need to independently regulate the patency of the heating circuit collector several times during the day and evaluate the operation of other devices.
Automation is everything
With manual control, the situation is more or less clear. Let’s find out another question. How important is automation in managing a water-heated floor, what is the efficiency of such a heating system?
Let’s note the following! For modern country houses, cottages and other living quarters with a high level of comfort, a controlled underfloor heating is almost a mandatory attribute today. The control system for other heating systems is similarly constructed. The presence of automation significantly increases the comfort of residential premises and at the same time solves the issue of security control.
The control and adjustment mode is determined depending on the tasks set, the location of the heating system and your personal desires. There are several types of process automation:
First of all, automation for underfloor heating is designed to solve the problem of optimizing the temperature regime. We are talking about the state of the coolant at the inlet to the heating circuit, in the return, as well as the parameters of heating the floor surface and air in the heated room.
With group use of underfloor heating, the control generates the operation of all system components. This includes control and regulation devices on heat sources. These can be autonomous gas boilers or a centralized heating system.
Of great importance for group regulation is the installation of control and measuring devices on group mixing blocks, which distribute water flows to different heated rooms. Most often, with group control, the devices are installed in the “constant” mode, i.e. by default controlling the set temperature. For perfect heating systems, in which a “climate control system” is provided, the control of the main components and devices of heating equipment changes dynamically in automatic mode, depending on climatic conditions.
Important! For each category of consumers, a control method and a complete set of devices are determined. Thermostats compatible with devices for adjusting the flow rate and heating temperature of the coolant are installed on each pump-mixing unit, manifold.
The most priority seems to be an individual adjustment option, i.e. zonal operation of monitoring and control devices. Here we are talking about automation installed in each separate room, performing control tasks depending on the specified parameters and personal priorities of the inhabitants of the house. In this option, the temperature of heating the air in the room is a controlled value, while the degree of heating of the floor surface is a controlled value. In such a situation, air temperature becomes important. On the contrary, the heating control system operates, where the intensity of heating the warm floor (bathrooms, saunas, pools) becomes important. The air temperature in this case will be simply controlled. Automatic mode independently sets the temperature of the coolant in the heating water circuit, in accordance with the specified parameters.
With complex regulation in heating equipment, devices of both the first and second groups are engaged in regulation. Automatic complex mode involves a combination of group and individual regulation designed for combining equipment at different time intervals.
On a note: some users, neglecting automation, try to control the functionality of underfloor heating manually. Such actions cause imbalance not only in water circuits, but also in other operating devices and units.
A control unit designed for comprehensive maintenance of the entire heating system of a residential facility will be ineffective in solving individual problems of heating a particular room. Thermostats, adapted for individual control, solve only a narrow range of tasks, not reacting to changes in the temperature regime as a whole.
Each of us has to decide for himself which method of controlling underfloor heating to choose. It has been said more than once that for small rooms where the use of short single water circuits is expected, manual control can be dispensed with. To heat the bathroom, you can get by with a minimal set: a thermostat and a safety valve.
As for the whole heating complex, whose tasks include underfloor heating throughout the building, here only automation is able to solve the problems of controlling numerous equipment. Thanks to temperature sensors installed in the floor or on the walls of heated rooms under each mixing unit, you will be able to create the required temperature in every room, in every room of a residential building. The automatic control device largely relies on electronic and electro-mechanical devices, which are compact and highly sensitive. With the correct setting of each control unit, you can achieve optimal temperature indicators in the house.