Today, each homeowner can often choose options and methods for heating residential premises. The main thing is that the chosen option for home heating should be done legally, have high efficiency and remain economical. A water heated floor in an apartment is one of the most successful and practical ways to organize high-quality heating at the moment. Today, there are the necessary technical capabilities, materials and components to independently organize a residential heating system in this way.
Underfloor heating is, first of all, a competent project, appropriate preparation and compliance with all technical norms and standards. Compliance with the listed conditions and requirements will allow you to equip a warm floor in your apartment, create the necessary comfort and coziness. What are water heated floors? How they are installed and what are their main advantages and disadvantages, we will understand in more detail.
Underfloor heating — the principle of operation, features and specifics
Underfloor heating is not a new phenomenon in household infrastructure. Even in ancient Rome, air heating of this type was used to heat residential and public buildings. Heated air through the channels located in the floor was distributed throughout the room, heating the interior. The main idea of this method of heating was that the coldest part of the building, on the contrary, became the warmest. Hot air spread across the floor and rose from the bottom up, evenly filling the entire interior space.
This method of heating was remembered when new types and types of heating devices, new materials, fixtures and equipment appeared. Centralized heating, the presence of autonomous heat sources today make it possible to use a water floor in an apartment as the main or auxiliary method of heating a dwelling. The technology is based on the principle of using thermal energy, which has a coolant circulating in a central heating system or through an autonomous heating pipeline. The pipe, which is a heating circuit, is laid directly into the underground. The heated coolant entering the pipeline transfers thermal energy to the floor surface.
Screed, flooring serve both as a heat accumulator and a source of thermal radiation of a large area, heating the interior. Due to its efficiency, such a heating system is actively used not only in private houses, cottages, but also found its place in the organization of heating city apartments.
Structurally, the water floor is a layer cake, which consists of the following elements:
- floor covering (clean);
- pillow (laying cover);
- pipeline made of polymer pipes;
- collectors (devices for connecting the water circuit to the heating system);
- pipeline fasteners;
- heating device or centralized heating medium supply system.
The final coating can be made from any building materials used for these purposes.
Important! When equipping a warm floor, preference should be given to finishing floor materials that not only have good aesthetic data, but also have good thermal conductivity.
Depending on the manufacturability of the premises, porcelain stoneware, ceramic tiles are usually used as a finishing coating for these purposes. For residential premises, laminate, parquet and linoleum are better suited. The floor layer must be not only durable and sufficiently rigid, but also practical, providing access to the heating circuit. Each type of flooring has its own specifics and features.
For example: laminate or parquet will require a special cushion before laying, which will protect the wood from drying out. Linoleum must necessarily comply with the necessary environmental safety standards. Otherwise, under the constant influence of high temperature, the PVC components of linoleum can release chemical compounds harmful to the body into the interior.
Depending on the use of the floor covering and the installation method, the water-heated floor in the apartment can be of the following types:
- polystyrene (synthetic);
In the first two options, mainly decorative and insulating finishing materials are used. In the last, in the third case, we are talking about a concrete screed. This type is the most time-consuming and involves a large amount of preparatory, installation and wet work.
Water floors in the apartment, made of wood, have a fundamentally different design. The water circuit is laid directly on wooden slats or logs. A layer of thermal insulation (wool, polystyrene) in this case is mounted in the spaces between the water pipes. An aluminum layer is laid on top of the pipeline, and cardboard or foam plastic is already mounted on top. This type of substrate is also called a pie, where each layer has its own practical and technological significance.
For the equipment of synthetic underfloor heating, the emphasis is on the use of a ready-made thermal insulation layer, in which a water circuit and plates are already laid that distribute heat over the floor surface. After that, an absorbent material is laid to absorb moisture. A decorative finishing coating is already being installed on top of the cake.
Advantages and disadvantages of water floors
Without going into technical details, the subtleties and nuances of laying underfloor heating, it should be noted that such a scheme for heating an apartment in an apartment building is quite feasible. Even taking into account the objective design difficulties and the official ban on equipment, many residents in city apartments today rely on this method of heating their homes.
The issue is solved much easier when there is an autonomous gas boiler in the house. Installation of heating according to the “warm water floors” scheme can be carried out legally, especially if we take into account the advantages that open up to the owners of the apartment. What does underfloor heating provide in the general context of home heating?
- a warm floor with a liquid heat carrier is convenient and practical in operation;
- the cost of installing and maintaining a water floor is an order of magnitude less than other types of underfloor heating;
- the water floor heating system is absolutely harmless in sanitary and hygienic terms;
- cost-effective operation, convenient operation and adjustment.
The main comparison that water floor heating stands up to is with electrically powered heating systems. In terms of ease of installation and further maintenance, electric floors look preferable. In terms of profitability and efficiency, a water heated floor is unrivaled.
As for the shortcomings that can be encountered at the very beginning, the difficulty of installing a heating system of this type comes first. Further, we can talk about the high cost of such a heating system. In the absence of components and materials of proper quality, there may be problems with the integrity of the heating circuit, which makes the subsequent operation of the heating equipment in the house problematic and costly.
For reference: in the event of a breakdown (breakthrough of the heating circuit), you will have to look for the place of the breakthrough, removing fragments of the concrete screed. In the conditions of a city apartment, such events are quite problematic. When using a component cake (prefabricated substrate), it is much easier to find a breakdown and fix it.
For residents of new private houses, owners of cottages and other buildings, installing a warm water floor from scratch is a good and appropriate engineering and technical solution. In apartment buildings, in houses of old construction, the arrangement of a heating system with underfloor heating is fraught with a large-scale reconstruction of existing engineering networks. Accordingly, the cost item for dismantling, laying and connecting the system to a heat source increases.
Practical application of underfloor heating. What are the options?
Given modern heating devices, high manufacturability of heating equipment, it has become possible to install warm floors even in a city apartment. The main feature is that such a system does not require large-scale work and special permission.
Important! It is forbidden to officially install a warm water floor in an apartment where central heating is the main one. The ban is associated with an increase in the technical load on centralized heating. Thermal calculations made at the time of construction of the house did not take into account the additional load on the heating circuit.
The simplest scheme for connecting a warm floor is shown in the diagram
In order for the underfloor heating system to work efficiently and safely for the main district heating, additional equipment is required to provide forced circulation. For these purposes, a mixing unit and a pressure pump are usually installed. For centralized heating, where natural circulation is present, the installation of such equipment requires additional thermal and hydraulic calculations.
Important! It is extremely dangerous to connect the underfloor heating system to hot water supply. The increased consumption of hot water required for circulation through the heating circuit will cause a weak pressure in the DHW system of the whole house.
Assessing all the existing difficulties and difficulties for the equipment in an underfloor heating apartment, one must be prepared for a large amount of work. Reconstruction of an apartment involves, in this case, the dismantling of components and elements of the old heating system, including unnecessary wiring and heating radiators. An ideal option for arranging a warm floor in a city apartment would be to connect to centralized heating in the ground floor rooms, when the main coolant flow does not lose its power and speed, going upstairs to other apartments.
In this case, you will need to install special collectors — mixers on the risers of the central heating system. The presence of three-way valves will ensure the required temperature of the coolant in the heating circuit of your underfloor heating and maintain the permissible temperature of the boiler water in the central heating pipes.
For reference: the optimal temperature for heating a warm floor is 35–450C, while the water in the central power riser has a temperature of 900 and higher. Such a temperature is unacceptable for heating a house according to the underfloor heating scheme. The mixing unit copes with the task of lowering the temperature of the coolant.
In order for the entire system to work normally, a prerequisite is the installation of mud collectors. Boiler water coming from the heating plant does not have high technological parameters. Thanks to this device, it is possible to maintain the coolant in good condition, retaining large fragments of scale, preventing large debris from entering the rather narrow pipes of the water floor heating circuit. In addition to mixers, your underfloor heating system in an apartment needs to install pumping equipment that circulates the coolant through the internal circuit.
The operation of the pump will allow maintaining the necessary working pressure in the underfloor heating pipeline, equal to the pressure in the centralized system. In the absence of a pump, there is a real threat of stopping the circulation of the coolant in the circuit. Accordingly, the heating of the floor will become uneven.
Often, a successful way out of this situation is the installation of a heat exchanger, with an intermediate function. In this case, your heating system, connected to the central line, becomes almost completely autonomous.
If you manage to carry out your plan, to make heating a warm water floor in your house, the effect will be instant. For apartments that have one facade wall, this heating option is very effective. With the appropriate heat efficiency of the dwelling, the heated floor becomes a good heating resource.
The main feature of the system is the low heating temperature. In most cases, the temperature of the heat carrier entering the central heating system is not as high as required. Thermal energy through radiators in insufficient quantities enters the interior of the room. But for a warm floor, this heating temperature of the coolant is ideal. With the help of mixers, it will be possible to easily compensate for the temperature difference, achieving the required temperature regime.