Winter is well on its way, officially starting on Friday the 21st of December, and this means that thermostats across the UK are going to be cranked up to keep homes cosy and warm for the festive season.
However, if the heating system has developed any faults or problems over the summer period, homeowners could be disappointed when they turn their heating on for the first time! That’s why underfloor heating installers should be encouraging people to get their underfloor heating serviced now to prevent any issues occurring during the winter months.
Does underfloor heating need servicing?
Although underfloor heating is largely maintenance-free, regular servicing is highly recommended. It’s always better to regularly maintain a system to ensure it’s constantly running smoothly and efficiently.
Servicing allows plumbers and heating engineers to proactively look out for signs of any failure in the heating system, and offer tips to homeowners to maximise the efficiency of their heating. This will also illustrate that you care about your customer and may open the door for more future business from them.
Being proactive like this is much better than waiting for a fault to occur, and then having to reactively resolve the issue. In most cases, this can be more expensive for the customer and lead to the heating not working as effectively (or at all!) until it is fixed, which is far from ideal in the depths of winter. Living without heating in the winter is not only uncomfortable but bad for the occupants’ health as cold houses are usually very damp and can cause people to develop respiratory symptoms. Living in a cold environment is also physiologically stressful for people who are old, sick or very young.
Ambiente recommends that every UFH system is serviced and checked annually to keep it running smoothly, efficiently and effectively.
Issues that regular servicing may identify?
The consequences of not regularly servicing underfloor heating can be varied and, at worse, mean that the heat output is very limited.
There are a few common problems that can occur such as trapped air in the system, incorrect or unbalanced flow rates, blockages in the system, wiring issues, zones not heating up adequately, and malfunctioning pumps. This can lead to inconsistent heating output, certain rooms not heating up properly, and potentially higher heating bills.
Ambiente can recommend a network of reliable and professional servicing engineers, who can diagnose any problems you may be experiencing and to carry out preventative servicing and maintenance works.
What are the benefits of servicing UFH?
Regular servicing ensures that the underfloor heating system is running efficiently and effectively, and is not at any immediate risk of breaking down. Knowing their system is in great shape will give customers peace of mind.
If a system is left for a number of years, it is likely that there could be some build-up of debris in the system, which can affect moving parts such as valves and flow meters. By keeping the system clean, there will be less risk of these parts failing further down the line.
When should underfloor heating be serviced and how often should it be serviced?
Ambiente would recommend a quick service a year after installation, and then every year after that. This will ensure that the system is kept in good working order, and will help to identify any faults before they cause damage.
How to service underfloor heating
We have put together a checklist for filling and flushing underfloor heating systems to help installers. A printer friendly version of the checklist can be found in our underfloor heating resources where you will also find a pressure test certificate form and a pipe warranty certificate.
Sequence 1 – System pressure: This can be checked quickly using the pressure gauge on the flow bar of the manifold. Normal operating pressure should be 1-2 bar.
Sequence 2 – Check the colour of the water in the flow meters. It is normal to get some discolouration, but if the glasses are very brown or dirty then we would recommend that the system needs flushing through and re-dosing with an inhibitor.
Sequence 3 – Remove any excess air in the system, via the air vent on the top bar of the manifold. If there is an automatic air vent fitted, this is unlikely to be required.
Sequence 4 – Check that the system is independently firing the boiler, making sure all demands on the boiler are stopped, then activate one zone of UFH by turning the thermostat right up. This should activate the pump, the boiler, the relevant actuator valve, and the zone valve (if fitted).
Sequence 5 – It is wise to repeat the above process (Step 4) for each individual UFH loop, to make sure each thermostat is sending the correct signals when calling for heat. This will need to be carried out with the rest of the system cold (not calling for heat), so you can test each UFH Zone independently.
Sequence 6 – Especially with digital/programmable thermostats, it is wise to check that the programming is both an efficient heating pattern, and matches the homeowner’s preference.
Sequence 7 – Lastly, ask the homeowner if they have any complaints or questions. This will direct you towards any potential issues with the system!
How to encourage customers to service their UFH
We would recommend that underfloor heating installers encourage customers to get their underfloor heating systems serviced in time for winter.
Spread the message across your social media channels by posting about the benefits of regular underfloor heating servicing. You can also get in touch with previous customers who had their underfloor heating installed over a year ago to ask them if they’ve serviced the system since installation.
Include the benefits of servicing in any email marketing, or possibly consider putting a short message in your email signature to explain the benefits of regular servicing underfloor heating to new customers.
Don’t be afraid to explain to customers during installation that all UFH systems (just like cars and boiler systems) need maintenance and propose a servicing contract.
Do you have a new build or refurbishment project coming up?
Get in touch with our team today to discuss your underfloor heating project. Simply call us on 01707 649 118 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Did you find this article useful? Check out our guide on ‘What should you consider before installing underfloor heating with an acoustic layer?’ or ‘An installer’s guide to wet underfloor heating manifolds’.
This article was written by Robert Tuffin.
Robert is the General Manager at Ambiente and has been working in the underfloor heating industry since 2012.