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Apr 3 12

Running costs of Electric Underfloor Heating

by reza@rayotec.com

 With the price of fuel increasing between 15%-20% a year, the running costs of any heating system becomes an important consideration. This article speaks about the costs of running electric underfloor heating and how to reduce them. Please don’t hesitate to contact us directly (01932 784848, info@rayotec.com) our main website  to discuss your particular project or visit our online shop for underfloor heating mats at great prices.

 Table of running costs

The table below shows the average running cost of different rooms within a family home. The calculations are based on an average cost of 10 pence per kWh and the room being insulated up to current building regulations, including the appropriate floor insulation.

Room Bedroom 1

Bedroom 2

Bedroom 3 Bathroom & Hall Living Room & Kitchen
Room Area 12m2 16m2 18m2 12m2 26m2
Heated Area 10m2 12m2 14m2 10m2 22m2
Running Cost/hr 15p 18p 21p 15p 33p
Average Daily Cost 60p 72p 84p 60p £1.32

 The average daily costs are based on keeping a room warm for 16 hours and with a 25% duty cycle. Matting is based on a 150W/m2 model with a Rayotec digital thermostat and either Insomax or Palziv.

  • What affects the running costs?

Insulation

The most important thing that effects running costs is insulation. The insulation of the floor, roof, walls and windows.

 Height of room

Rooms with vaulted ceilings need more energy to heat them up due to the higher volume of air. However underfloor heating is much more effective at heating rooms with high ceilings when compared to radiators. The heat of the radiators (convectional) tends to heat the top of the room before it reaches the bottom. Underfloor heating actually heats the area where people stand and sit making it more fuel efficient.

 Heat loss

Bathrooms or toilets with extractor fans will suck out all the warm air making the heating stay on for longer. Draughty rooms let the warm air escape also, increasing the amount of heating required.

 Desired temperature of room

The warmer the room the more energy is required for heating. It is best to keep rooms to the standard temperatures of 18C for bedrooms & hallways, 21C for living spaces and 23C Bathrooms.

 Period of Heating

The longer you heat up a room the more it will cost. Each room should only be heated when it is being used to reduce running costs.

  • What can I do to reduce running costs of my underfloor heating system?

Insulation

New Concrete floors: For a new concrete floor, insulate the subfloor with as much insulation as possible and install minimum 10mm insomax insulation on top of the screed.

Suspended floors: In a suspended wooden floor insulate with a good quality foil faced insulation between the joists to reflect the heat upwards.

All floors: Always insulate with Palziv or Insomax insulation. Insomax comes in various thickness’s – try to use the thickest possible.

Cavity Wall insulation: Many UK homes do not have cavity wall insulation. Typical costs are just £150-£350 with a typical payback in just 2-3 years. It is an absolute must to reduce fuel bills.

Loft insulation: By increasing loft insulation from 100mm to 270mm you can further decrease your energy bills with minimal costs (typically £100-£300).

 

 Control

Good control is key to reducing fuels bills. All Rayotec underfloor heating systems are “zoned”. This means that every room or open space will have its own thermostat. This allows you to have full control with each room on the correct temperature. By having a digital programmable thermostat this added level of control becomes incredibly easy.

 Solar Electricity / Photovoltaics

By installing a Photovoltaic system you can generate free electricity for your building. This free electricity goes to the fuse box and is distributed to which ever appliance is calling for power at the time (including electric underfloor heating). Rayotec has been installing solar systems for over 25 years and would be happy to provide you with a proposal for your property. Please see our main website for further details (www.rayotec.com).

      • Cost of Electricity vs Gas

Although the cost of electricity is currently higher than the cost of gas they are getting closer in cost. Even though it is predicted that the cost of electricity will go up by 14.1% this year (2012) the price of gas is predicted to go up by 19.8%! (source: bbc news website).

 Rayotec can give indicative running costs for your project. Please contact out team (01932 784848 info@rayotec.com) or look on our website http://www.rayotec.com/electric_underfloor_heating/

Mar 21 12

Advantages of electric underfloor heating over warm water underfloor heating

by reza@rayotec.com

After being informed of the many benefits of underfloor heating, your next dilemma however is which system to go for; warm water underfloor heating or electric underfloor heating? This article highlights the advantages of electric underfloor heating over warm water underfloor heating.

(1)                Ease of installation

New Builds:

Both electric and warm water underfloor heating are very cheap and simple to install on new concrete floors.

Warm water underfloor heating however is more time consuming on suspended wooden floors as:

  • Each joist has to be notched to allow the piping to pass
  • Expensive diffusion plates must be used to transfer the heat across the wooden floor
  • It is more difficult to work off a floor that isn’t solid (ie walking on joists).

electric underfloor heating is simply laid under the floor covering so is just as easy to install on top of a wooden suspended floor as installing on top of a concrete floor.

Refurbishments:

Warm water underfloor heating is often difficult to install in refurbishments as the concrete floors are often already down so you have to build a false floor to accommodate the piping. Even installing under wooden suspended floors is time consuming (see above).

Electric underfloor heating is incredibly easy as it simply lays under the new floor covering.

(2)                Warm up time

Concrete floors:

In a concrete floor the warm water underfloor heating pipes are buried in 75-90mm of screed. Although the screed is a relatively good conductor of heat it does take a while for the warm water underfloor heating pipes to heat the screed before the room can be heated.

In the case of an electric underfloor heating mat, a thin layer of insulation is placed on top of the concrete floor to reflect the heat upwards. As the heat only has to travel through the floor covering the warm up time is very fast.

Wooden suspended floors:

Wood is not a great conductor of heat and as the warm water underfloor heating pipes have to be installed under the wooden floors it limits the choice of floor covering. It is fine if the floor covering is tiles or the wooden floor boards are to be the final covering. It is not however suitable for thick carpets or floating laminate / engineered wooden floors.

As electric underfloor heating is installed onto the wooden floor boards you have much more freedom when choosing your final floor covering.

(3)                Delivery Time

 The lead time is generally much shorter for electric underfloor heating as the mats are standard off the shelf items.

(4)                Cost of Installation

 The material cost of electric and warm water underfloor heating are often very similar. The installation time and therefore cost of installing is where they vary.

The most cost effective place to install warm water underfloor heating is within a new concrete floor. All other scenarios tend to be more expensive than electric underfloor heating. With electric underfloor heating all installation scenarios are very fast and easy. The easiest and fastest floor coverings to install under are floating wooden floors or carpets. Tiles are a little more time consuming and the lengthiest are Amtico or Karndean floors as the mats have to be covered by a self levelling compound.

(5)                No boiler

  • The cost of installing a new boiler can easily be £2000 or more. By going all electric you can save all that money.
  • In a new build there is no need to run a gas pipe to your property from the street gas mains saving you money.
  • The ongoing maintenance and repair of boilers can cost hundreds of pounds every year.
  • Increased safety by reducing gas appliances in the property.

    (6)      Cupboard space

Warm water underfloor heating systems require a manifold on each floor, for large properties there may even be multiple manifolds on each floor. This obviously takes up valuable space which you could put to better use. There are no manifolds required for electric underfloor heating systems.

     (7)     Floor height when retrofitting

When retrofitting warm water underfloor heating on top of an existing concrete floor, you have to build a false wooden floor to accommodate the piping. By raising the floor height you have a whole range of problems such as door height, sideboards, kitchen units, electric sockets etc. As electric underfloor heating is so thin it doesn’t effect the floor height avoiding all these problems.

If you would like more information on any of these points or get a price for a system then either contact us directly (tel: 01932 784848, e-mail: info@rayotec.com or look at our website http://www.rayotec.com/electric_underfloor_heating/

Mar 16 12

Debunking the Top Ten Solar Myths

by reza@rayotec.com

There are many myths surrounding solar power in general, this can be attributed to many factors but most crucial of all is a lack of awareness and understanding from the general public with regards to the benefits of solar power and what it can do for people.

Some of the most commonly held misconceptions about solar energy are that solar panels are too expensive, do not work in cloudy weather and that they are unreliable. However, it will now be explained why this is not the case.

Myth 1. Generating solar energy is only possible in countries with a lot of sunshine
Fact: The energy of the sun is the most evenly spread source of energy in the world. In any part of the world where there is light, solar panels will work. The world’s biggest market for solar energy is … Germany, a country not particularly blessed with long days full of sunshine, but a country with a smart government nonetheless. In the summer, more than 10% of the household electricity in the south of Germany is generated by solar panels.

Myth 2: They are expensive to maintain & I’ve just paid a lot for the installation
Fact: Solar electric (Photovoltaic) panels have no moving parts and do not require regular maintenance. However we do recommend that you hose off the panels once a year or so, nevertheless many of our customers actually never clean their panels and instead rely on the rain to do the job for them. Of course, if any large debris falls onto the panels, we recommend you remove it as this may cause shading and a dip in productivity.

Myth 3: Solar will get more efficient, so I should wait
Fact: The media will always create hype around emerging technologies, but the truth is solar technology has proved itself over the last 50 years. Since the early years, solar efficiency has risen, and products offer a long working life, with guarantees of 25 year for continued performance standard in the UK. Given this stable technology profile and the current 21p rate for the Feed-in-Tariff, solar makes sense right now. Once installed, your panels will continue to work for decades.

Myth 4: Solar panels will cause my roof to leak, deteriorate, or collapse
Fact: Solar panels actually protect and preserve the portion of the roof they cover. However, if there ever is a problem with the roof that needs to be repaired, panels can easily be removed. Most solar panels are not attached directly to the roof itself, but rather to a mounted railing system. Please note that if your roof already leaks or needs to be replaced, it makes sense to make roof repairs before installing solar panels.

Myth 5: You will need to invest at least £10,000 to gain any financial benefit from installing solar panels
Fact: The Government announced on the 20th June 2011 the Renewable Heat Incentive Plan had come into to effect. What this essentially means is that you can install Hot Water Panels instead of exclusively solar panels and Hot Water Solar Panels are a lot cheaper to install than Electricity Solar Panels.

Myth 6: Your roof has to be directly facing south
Fact: Yes it is true that south is the best direction for your roof to face in order to utilise the suns rays, however the any direction facing roof will still yield great long term money feedback & bill savings.

Myth 7: When the power goes out, my home is still powered
Fact: When the power goes out, grid-tied systems go out too. That’s because it’s not safe to be pushing electricity back out onto the wires while workers may be trying to fix the problem, so your inverter (the big box near your meter that turns DC electricity created by the panels into usable AC current) recognizes that the grid is out and shuts your system off.

Myth 8: Solar will make my home look ugly
Fact: Haven’t you heard? Solar is the new black. In the last ten years there’s been a growing awareness of how smart renewable energy is from both environmental and economic perspective, so solar panels are finally coming into their own and being regarded as an enhancement instead of an eyesore. It’s about time! Beauty is in the eye of the beholder (and the money holder)!

Myth 9: I cannot move / sell my house for 25 years
Fact: Obviously to receive the feed-in-tariff for 25 years you will need to own the property until the end of the term, however this does not mean you cannot sell your house. Solar panels will increase your house price and the next people moving in will make large savings on their bills. They’ll also be eligible to receive the feed-in-tariff whilst still under the 25 year period, therefore you can negotiate a higher price for your home

Myth 10: The panels won’t last 25 years
Fact: The known and accepted lifespan of solar panels is 25 to 30 years, with some lasting even longer. In fact, there are solar installations dated back to the 70s that are still producing cheap clean electricity. The Government’s 25 year guarantee for the feed-in tariff scheme is there for a reason, because it mirrors the expected lifespan of the solar PV panels used in a household installations.

 

Feb 29 12

Why choose photovoltaic solar panels to meet your Part L renewable requirements?

by reza@rayotec.com

 

As well as the many people buying photovoltaic’s as an investment opportunity, many companies are choosing PV to meet their renewable requirements under the new Part L regulations.

There are quite a few reasons but here is list of the main ones:

  1. Simple to install on any roof area, flat or pitched
  2. Very little maintenance for the client unlike other technologies
  3. Cheaper and quicker to install than other technologies
  4. System parts take up very little space inside a building/inside a plant room
  5. Long term dependable technology with no moving parts
  6. No problems with storage of energy as the excess is sold back to the grid
  7. Government incentives (FIT)
  8. Can help improve the EPC rating of the property
  9. Long lifespan of products (solar panels come with 25 year performance warranties)

Rayotec are able to do SAP calculations to show how much energy (kWh) is created by a proposed system for our customers planning submittal.

What is Part L?

The Government has a requirement that all new homes are to be net zero carbon by 2016 and all new non-domestic buildings net zero carbon by 2019.

To get to be net zero the building must have:

1. High levels of energy efficiency

2. Mandatory level of renewable energy

3. Use of energy efficient appliances

Part L is the part of building regulations that covers the conservation of fuel and power and states the minimum standard in insulation, the allowable area of windows, doors and other openings, air permeability of the structure, the heating efficiency of boilers and the insulation and controls for heating appliances , hot water storage and lighting efficiency. It also states the renewable requirement for the building.