Do-it-yourself collector for underfloor heating

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For many of us, under­floor heat­ing is pre­sent­ed as some­thing com­plex, bulky equip­ment, through which it is pos­si­ble to heat liv­ing quar­ters well. Talk­ing about the fact that the instal­la­tion of a warm floor is asso­ci­at­ed with hard work and great tech­no­log­i­cal dif­fi­cul­ties often becomes the rea­son for refus­ing to try to make such a heat­ing sys­tem in your house. How­ev­er, for that cat­e­go­ry of peo­ple who have an irre­sistible desire to cre­ate com­fort­able con­di­tions in their own home dur­ing the cold sea­son, to make a warm water floor with their own hands, the task is com­plete­ly solv­able.

Here it is impor­tant to have an idea of ​​​​what the prin­ci­ple of oper­a­tion of the entire sys­tem is and how impor­tant the pres­ence of indi­vid­ual ele­ments, com­po­nents and assem­blies in the home-made heat­ing design is. Do-it-your­self instal­la­tion of water pipes, lay­ing a screed is half the bat­tle. The main thing is to equip the sys­tem with the nec­es­sary instru­ments and devices that will not only per­form the main work, but also con­trol the entire process.

The value and place of the collector for warm water floors

Start­ing the instal­la­tion of a warm floor with your own hands, you should be ready to install such a device as a mix­ing unit. In this sit­u­a­tion, you can not do with­out such devices as a dis­trib­u­tor, a cir­cu­la­tion pump and a drain valve. All this and much more in the fac­to­ry con­fig­u­ra­tion costs a lot of mon­ey. A par­tic­u­lar­ly expen­sive col­lec­tor, which per­forms the main func­tion — mix­ing cold and hot water for the sub­se­quent sup­ply of a coolant of the required tem­per­a­ture to the water cir­cuit, reg­u­lates the oper­a­tion of the entire heat­ing com­plex. The device is a rather com­plex and high-tech design. Fac­to­ry mod­els are made of brass or stain­less steel, so the price of such devices is cor­re­spond­ing­ly high.

Not every­one can afford to spend sig­nif­i­cant funds to equip a warm floor with the nec­es­sary equip­ment. In addi­tion, if we are talk­ing about heat­ing small rooms.

For exam­ple: heat­ing with warm floors in the bath­room can be done by hand at a min­i­mum cost by con­nect­ing the water cir­cuit to the heat­ed tow­el rail. Buy­ing an expen­sive col­lec­tor for these pur­pos­es with all addi­tion­al devices and equip­ment is inex­pe­di­ent and unprof­itable.

In this sit­u­a­tion, you can assem­ble a col­lec­tor for a warm floor with your own hands from avail­able scrap mate­ri­als, valves and acces­sories. If the col­lec­tor can be assem­bled from impro­vised means, then you can­not do with­out a cir­cu­la­tion pump, drain and three-way valve. If you have the courage, have the nec­es­sary finan­cial resources, cer­tain knowl­edge and patience, you can get to work. You should not rush, first try to under­stand and fig­ure out how the col­lec­tor works and why it is installed.

On a note: do not lis­ten to those who claim that the col­lec­tor is need­ed only in order to dis­trib­ute flows through dif­fer­ent heat­ing pipes of the water floor. This is super­fi­cial knowl­edge. The so-called comb or dis­trib­u­tor is engaged in the dis­tri­b­u­tion of flows. The task of the col­lec­tor is much more com­plex, larg­er and larg­er, from a tech­no­log­i­cal point of view.

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The col­lec­tor for a warm floor per­forms not only the func­tions of dis­trib­ut­ing flows through the water pipes of a warm floor, but also par­tic­i­pates in man­ag­ing the oper­a­tion of the entire sys­tem. Thanks to the col­lec­tor, you will make your under­floor heat­ing as effi­cient as pos­si­ble. It should be said right away, do not con­fuse the mix­ing unit with the man­i­fold. The mix­ing unit is a set of con­trol equip­ment, while the man­i­fold is an inte­gral part of the mix­ing unit, which is equipped with any “warm water floor” heat­ing sys­tem.

The device and principle of operation of the collector

The col­lec­tor, or as it is also called, the comb, is includ­ed in the mix­ing unit. With­out this device, it is dif­fi­cult to imag­ine a nor­mal­ly func­tion­ing warm floor. With­out this device, the whole point of heat­ing through under­floor heat­ing is lost. Being the most impor­tant ele­ment of the mix­ing unit, the col­lec­tor ensures the mix­ing of water flows of dif­fer­ent tem­per­a­tures and their sub­se­quent dis­tri­b­u­tion through the heat­ing pipes of the water cir­cuit. In fact, the device con­sists of two sim­i­lar parts, one part is sup­ply­ing, while the oth­er is col­lect­ing. Hence the name that exists among spe­cial­ists, the dis­tri­b­u­tion comb.

For ref­er­ence: the dis­tri­b­u­tion part is a node for sup­ply­ing warm water to the under­floor heat­ing pip­ing sys­tem. The col­lect­ing part is spe­cial­ly designed to col­lect the waste coolant flow­ing in the oppo­site direc­tion (return).

Struc­tural­ly and exter­nal­ly, both parts are prac­ti­cal­ly the same. The device is based on a large-diam­e­ter tube equipped with thread­ed side branch­es (holes). The num­ber of holes cor­re­sponds to the num­ber of water cir­cuits con­nect­ed to the equip­ment. In sim­ple terms, a comb is a tee with the same para­me­ters, twist­ed togeth­er. There­fore, for those who have at least some idea of ​​​​plumb­ing, mak­ing a home­made col­lec­tor will not be a pipe.

Hav­ing an idea of ​​​​what a col­lec­tor is and what its main tasks are, you can start plan­ning your own heat­ing sys­tem. In order to make a dis­trib­u­tor, you need to know in advance what area the heat­ed room will be, and what your heat­ing needs are. So ask your­self the fol­low­ing ques­tions:

  • how many heat­ing cir­cuits will you have;
  • what type will be the main source of water heat­ing (we are talk­ing about either a cen­tral heat­ing and hot water sys­tem, or an autonomous boil­er);
  • what addi­tion­al devices and devices will the heat­ing sys­tem be equipped with (pump, tem­per­a­ture sen­sors, pres­sure gauges).

On a note: it is nec­es­sary to start mak­ing a floor heat­ing col­lec­tor with your own hands from choos­ing the design of the device. In oth­er words, it is nec­es­sary to decide how the water pipes will be con­nect­ed, respec­tive­ly, in what posi­tion the dis­tri­b­u­tion and col­lect­ing combs will be locat­ed.

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There are a lot of tech­no­log­i­cal nuances that you should pay atten­tion to before you start assem­bling your device.

For exam­ple, gas or elec­tric heaters are con­nect­ed to the col­lec­tors from below or from above. When installing a cir­cu­la­tion pump in the sys­tem, the con­nec­tion will be only at the end of the comb.

In cas­es where you use an indi­rect heat­ing boil­er, sol­id fuel boil­ers as a heat­ing device, the col­lec­tor can only be con­nect­ed from the end.

If you want to use water from the cen­tral heat­ing sys­tem for under­floor heat­ing, your col­lec­tor must be con­nect­ed from above or below. The fig­ure-scheme shows the option of con­nect­ing the col­lec­tor to the ris­er of the cen­tral heat­ing sys­tem.

If it’s not dif­fi­cult for you, trans­fer the design dia­gram and the posi­tion of the dis­tri­b­u­tion combs to paper. At the same time, you can spec­i­fy the dimen­sion­al para­me­ters that you can rely on already in the process of work. It is appro­pri­ate to say here that the dis­tance between the indi­vid­ual sup­ply and return pipes must be at least 10 cm and not more than 20 cm. The same dimen­sions can also be used with the dis­tance between the indi­vid­ual nodes, the col­lec­tion comb and the dis­trib­u­tor.

On a note: Try to make your device not only effi­cient and tech­no­log­i­cal­ly advanced, but also com­pact. Oth­er­wise, you may face the prob­lem of installing a home­made col­lec­tor in the future. An over­sized device is more dif­fi­cult to hide in a col­lec­tor box, and the instal­la­tion of an under­floor heat­ing col­lec­tor will neg­a­tive­ly affect the inte­ri­or of the heat­ed room.

After draw­ing up a sketch, it will become clear how much and what you will need for fur­ther work on the man­u­fac­ture of a home-made switchgear.

The process of assembling a homemade collector

If for you the heat­ing sys­tem is con­cen­trat­ed in one room and for this you need only one water cir­cuit, pro­ceed with assem­bling the sim­plest col­lec­tor. For these pur­pos­es, you will need:

  • mix­ing valve ¾ inch;
  • ¾ inch adapter;
  • nip­ple;
  • tees;
  • 90 degree elbow0;
  • clamp­ing sleeve ¾ inch.

As addi­tion­al equip­ment, you will also need a cir­cu­la­tion pump with an inlet with pipes with a diam­e­ter of 1 inch, a ¾ inch ball valve, air vents and a drain valve.

To make a man­i­fold with your own hands, you can use brass com­po­nents or met­al-plas­tic valves, elbows, tees and adapters. Met­al-plas­tic shut-off valves used for these pur­pos­es are cheap­er and make it easy to improve the design of a warm floor, with the expec­ta­tion of increas­ing the con­tours of a warm floor.


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It is bet­ter to use round and square pipes for sup­ply and return col­lec­tion units. Rec­tan­gu­lar met­al pipes are con­sid­ered the best option, since accord­ing to experts it is more con­ve­nient to work with them. Let’s con­sid­er how a home-made col­lec­tor from met­al-plas­tic pipes is assem­bled.

The man­u­fac­tur­ing and assem­bly process can be divid­ed into stages.

The first stage: in accor­dance with the dimen­sions indi­cat­ed by you on the sketch, pipes are pre­pared from which sep­a­rate frag­ments of the struc­ture will be made.

The sec­ond stage: indi­vid­ual ele­ments are com­bined into a sin­gle struc­ture in accor­dance with the tech­no­log­i­cal need and pur­pose;

The third stage: the instal­la­tion of indi­vid­ual ele­ments is car­ried out in places pre­pared for cold weld­ing. Next, weld­ing work is car­ried out using a cold weld­ing machine;

The fourth stage: hav­ing assem­bled your own col­lec­tor, you need to check it for leaks. Hav­ing closed all the pipes, one is left open in order to sup­ply hot water to it. The absence of leaks at the joints indi­cates that you did every­thing right;

Fifth stage: instal­la­tion of the col­lec­tor at its per­ma­nent loca­tion and con­nec­tion of the heat­ing pipes of the water cir­cuit to it.

Fur­ther, as nec­es­sary, the mix­ing unit is equipped with a cir­cu­la­tion pump, a three-way valve and oth­er ele­ments of shut­off valves.

Conclusion

If you approach the issue of com­plet­ing and equip­ping under­floor heat­ing prag­mat­i­cal­ly, then a home-made col­lec­tor ful­ly jus­ti­fies the efforts expend­ed on its man­u­fac­ture. The only “but” that can call into ques­tion all your efforts is the reli­a­bil­i­ty of the design and func­tion­al­i­ty. A ready-made col­lec­tor, which you can buy for a large invest­ment, may not fit your exist­ing heat­ing sys­tem. Your work will be the oth­er way around, as close as pos­si­ble and adapt­ed to exist­ing tech­ni­cal con­di­tions.

A home­made comb, in which you prob­a­bly tried to take into account all the design nuances, should work nor­mal­ly and effi­cient­ly.

Com­par­ing the amount of mon­ey spent on cre­at­ing a home­made col­lec­tor and the cost of the fin­ished device, we can safe­ly talk about sig­nif­i­cant sav­ings. Many mod­els of col­lec­tors today are not cheap. As a rule, the price of one device is com­pa­ra­ble in terms of costs to half the funds spent on con­sum­ables and the sub­se­quent instal­la­tion of a warm floor.
For those who want to equip the heat­ing sys­tem in the coun­try in this way or make a warm floor in the bath­room, this option will be very con­ve­nient and prac­ti­cal. The instal­la­tion of under­floor heat­ing as the main heat­ing sys­tem in a house on a cap­i­tal basis puts increased demands on you. In this case, it is bet­ter to buy a fac­to­ry mod­el, for the qual­i­ty and reli­a­bil­i­ty of which the man­u­fac­tur­ers are respon­si­ble.

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