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Hydronic Floor Heating from Devex Systems

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Devex Systems presents their range of Hydronic floor heating. These systems are quite sophisticated in design and consisting of the circulation of warm water through an intricate network of polyethylene oxygen resistant piping under the floor surface.  This ensures a gentle, warm heat that is evenly distributed throughout the entire living space.

How it works

Hydronic, Water-Based Systems
In hydronic floor heating systems, water is warmed to 35-45 degrees celcius using a boiler and circulated at a safe, low pressure through extremely durable plastic pipes laid in or under the floor. This system typically requires a minimum area of anywhere from 60 m2 to 90 m2 to be running at any given time if used with a gas boiler for best results.  They are usually installed at the time of construction.  They are composed of a network of pipes, valves, manifolds and switches, all of which must work together to heat the zoned areas; there are some restrictions when it comes to zoning preferences as a result. They remain turned on over the duration of the period or season that the floor heating is required providing a constant, gentle heat.

Hydronic Floor Heating IN SCREED
In screed hydronic heating involves the laying of extremely durable piping on top of the slab and insulation in a sand/cement bed of at least 50 mm in depth and covered by a suitable floor surfacing i.e. marble, stone, slate and all varieties of tiles. This system is generally faster acting than an in slab system. Similar to other systems, this system radiates heat from the floor upwards creating a comfortable, gently heated environment with no draughts, dust or noise. The heating is controlled using floor or air sensing thermostats that regulate the flow of hot water through the pipe circuits.

Hydronic Floor Heating IN SLAB
In slab Hydronic floor heating is a storage heating system. The slab is heated by pumping hot water through pipes laid in the concrete slab. This process can take one to two days at the beginning of the winter season, depending on the thickness of the slab and the amount of floor insulation used. Once the slab is heated through, it radiates heat from the floor upwards into the room creating a comfortable and gently heated environment with no draughts, dust or noise. The heating is controlled using floor and air sensing thermostats that adjust the flow rate of hot water through the pipe circuits. We recommend extruded polystyrene insulation beneath the slab and on exposed slab edges to minimise system heat loss and ensure the highest level of energy efficiency and cost savings.

Hydronic Floor Heating UNDER BATTENED TIMBER
Hydronic floor heating can also be used under battened timber floors. The pipes are laid over insulation panels and sit directly beneath the floor boards. The pipes run in between the battens, which are typically laid at 450 mm centres, and pass through small grooves in the battens to cover the entire floor area. The heating is controlled using floor and air sensing thermostats that adjust the flow rate of hot water through the pipe circuits. The thermostats are typically set to a maximum floor temperature of 27°C to ensure the timber is not over-heated. We recommend using diffusion plates in addition to 25 mm polystyrene insulation beneath the pipes. The diffusion plate system consists of aluminium plates with preformed grooves to take the pipe. The aluminium plates transfer the heat away from the pipes giving a uniform heat distribution beneath the timber floor and enabling a more efficient heat transfer to the timber floor.

* Polystyrene insulation is generally recommended at the time of any system installation to minimise heat loss and ensure the highest level of energy efficiency and cost savings.

*It is important to review your state building code before installation to ensure the system complies with current regulations.

Application
Hydronic floor heating is a great option for large, open entertaining areas and works well under cold floor coverings such as marble, stone, slate, polished concrete and all varieties of tiles. It’s also fabulous under carpet and timber floors.  When using a boiler as the primary energy source, it is important to note that the minimum area that must be running at any given time is between 60m2 – 90m2.

Installation
Installation of a water-based system can be complex due to the intricate design and workings of the system, so it is important to seek out a licenced professional to do the job. Hydronic floor heating systems are generally only used in new projects because they must be a part of the main heating system installed at the time of construction. In some circumstances these systems can be used in retrofit projects but only in a screed bed that is at least 50 mm in depth.

Maintenance
These systems require a certain level of maintenance over the years. The boilers require regular servicing and may need to be replaced after 10-15 years of use. Good quality pipes generally last a very long time. The overall system is known to exceed thirty to forty years in lifespan and, like electric floor heating systems, have an extremely good reputation for providing a high level of comfort with fairly low running costs which can result in a fairly high return on investment when measured against other heating solutions on the market. 

Cost
Hydronic floor heating can be very economical to run, however, the upfront costs are more costly than electric systems due to the sophistication and intricacy of the design and parts as well as the skilled labour that is required to perform a proper installation.

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