Overlay Heating Helps Make a Jolly Miller
Blyton Mill in Lincoln has had a chequered career. Built in 1825, the five storey windmill was powered by four sails driving three pairs of stones until 1910. Then, with the addition of a crown and pinion gear system and an exterior drive wheel, it was converted for steam power, and that was superseded by an electrical drive system that ran until the 1960s. The Mill and its outbuildings were first converted to a dwelling in 1970 with an observatory-type cap installed shortly afterwards and further conversion work took place in the late 70s and1990s. Although the removal of the sails altered the building’s character, the Grade 2 Listed Blyton Mill retains a great deal of charm and some of the early features remain including the curb and one original bedstone plus the crown and pinion gearing.
The present owner, Gareth Hewitson-May, has turned the mill into a delightful family home. The ground floor, circular with a diameter of seven metres, has become a living room full of character and the six metre diameter first floor an airy studio. One obvious problem with the refurbishment was how to install an effective heating system. Clearly the lack of any flat wall space made installation of conventional radiators impractical and possibly expensive and these would in any case have detracted from the authentic feel to the rooms. Equally the owner originally feared that installing an underfloor system would be a long process causing a great deal of disruption and delay. In consultation with contractor Pennine Underfloor Heating of Huddersfield however, Gareth found a simple, quick and practical solution in the Polyplumb Overlay UFCH System.
Overlay has a depth of only 18mm, can be swiftly laid on any flat surface, easily adapts to difficult shapes [and a round room certainly comes into that category] and can be run in parallel with existing heating systems. Installation is simple. After laying a basic damp-proof membrane, preformed high load-bearing panels are placed on top and 12mm polybutylene pipe is quickly ‘walked’ into the grooves from an 80 metres roll. The floor panels can be simply sawn to size and the flexibility of the pipe makes for easy laying even round sharp bends.
At Blyton Mill the installation on the ground floor was laid over a concrete base and plumbed into the existing oil-fired system and that in the Studio was over a timber floor and fired by a small electric boiler. The heating system has proved extremely effective, disruption during installation was minimal and Gareth is now a very Jolly Miller.
Heating Renovation of the Historic Lordhouse in Cologne
The Historic Lordhouse in Cologne is one of the most famous buildings in the Cathedral area of the city, and when the Cologne Government decided to carry out substantial renovation of the building, important decisions had to be made regarding the choice of heating technology due to the limitations imposed by the architecture of the building.
The architect did not want to install radiators and spoil the appearance of the rooms, and floor heating was not an option, as the existing floors were deemed too valuable to the building's overall appearance to disturb.
Given these limitations, the architect decided to install a 'Gabowall' system which provided both heating and cooling, and gave him complete design freedom, as well as an invisible system with minimal noise transmission.
'Gabowall' uses 8mm x 1mm diameter wall thickness 'Gabolite' Polybutene-1 pipes which provide installation flexibility, particularly in small rooms where maximum heat output is required. Since the pipes are installed only 15mm below the wall surface, whether operating in heating or cooling mode, a rapid response time is achieved. The 200m2 system in the Lordhouse is operated by solar heating technology combined with boilers operating at low temperatures. The operating temperature of the system is between 35 and 38°C, which provides maximum efficiency.
'Gabowall's radiant heating system is silent and eliminates convection currents, thus providing maximum comfort.
Using the 'Gabowall' system for the Lordhouse project has proved to be a successful choice - providing easy installation, efficient operation and at the same time, maintaining the architectural style of this historic building.
ST. Annes conversion with Polypipe's 'Overlay'
The owners of one of the large detached houses that abound in the upmarket resort of St. Annes-on-the-Sea in Lancashire, decided to upgrade their accommodation by converting the house’s 265 sq.ft. loft area into an extra bedroom. Since space was limited, particularly the wall space necessary for radiators, the contractors decided to install underfloor central heating in the extension although the rest of the house uses a ‘wet’ radiator system. The total conversion contract ran over ten weeks but thanks to the user-friendly properties of Overlay - a totally new system developed by Polypipe – the underfloor heating was installed and running in less than two days.
Overlay has a depth of only 18mm and can be very swiftly laid over virtually any flat surface, making it as easy to install in retro-fit situations as in new builds. It can be run in parallel with radiator systems as it is in the St. Annes conversion, by use of a Zonal Regulation Unit (ZRU) that converts the water in the existing system to a temperature and flow rate suitable for Overlay. The system is simple in design, simple to lay without excessive disruption and above all, it gives effective, well spread and easily regulated heat throughout the room.
Installation merely requires a damp proof membrane to be laid over the existing floor surface. Preformed, high load bearing floor panels (each covering 0.48sq.m) are then placed on top of the membrane with shaped end-returns fitted to the panel ends on the shortest walls of the room.
Polybutylene pipe 12mm in diameter can then be simply walked into the grooves from an 80 metres roll and the ends connected into the compact, wall-mounted ZRU. The floor panels can be simply sawn to size, the flexibility of the pipe makes for easy laying even round bends and a comprehensive range of accessories is designed to make the installers job as simple and speedy as possible.
In the St. Annes loft conversion wood laminate flooring has been placed directly on top of ufch panels, affording efficient heating combined with a high quality appearance for the minimum of effort
Polyplumb's 'Overlay' gives Conservatory a warm glow
A large detached house in Sheffield had been extended by the addition of a 40 square metre conservatory with a solid concrete floor covered with large slate tiles. The householder decided to heat the conservatory by the addition of central heating system. With dwarf brick walls to the conservatory’s exterior an underfloor system was clearly the most effective heating medium but the major disruption of laying conventional ufh into an existing solid floor was clearly undesirable and since the house was already heated by a standard ‘wet’ radiator system the new Polyplumb Overlay System proved to be the answer. With a depth of only 18mm it can be laid directly onto an existing floor or new floor without causing obstruction, installation is extremely quick and it can be simply connected to a conventional radiator heating system by use of a Zonal Regulation Unit [ZRU]. The ZRU is compact, inconspicuous and wall-mounted, converting the water in the existing system to a temperature and flow rate suitable for Overlay. For the job in Sheffield, the proof of the pudding was in the eating. The large slate tiles were lifted, the new ufch installed, the slate tiles replaced and the heating system on within two days. The householder and his family were delighted and appreciated the new warm atmosphere in the conservatory.
Bespoke Underfloor Heating, who installed the system were equally pleased for Overlay is simplicity itself to install. After laying a damp-proof membrane over the concrete floor and installing the high load bearing 0.48sq.m. grooved floor panels on top, they had only to ‘walk-in’ the12mm. polybutylene pipe from a large coil into the grooves, connect to the ZRU and their work was done. The floor panels were easily sawn to shape and the flexibility of the pipe made the whole job ‘installer-friendly’. Polyplumb’s declared aim to keep both end-user and fitter happy was clearly accomplished.
A Flexible Friend For All Plumbers
Paul Rice, Group Marketing Director for Polypipe, extols the advantages of plastic over rigid systems for hot & cold water supply.
The intrinsic advantages of a flexible piping system over a rigid one are really fairly obvious. Plastics such as the polybutylene we use in our Polyplumb products thread more easily and require fewer joints, both boons to the plumber, plus they have superior anti-corrosion and anti-scale properties and are silent in operation, all vital qualities for the end user. But that is not the end of it. It is a well publicised fact that the industry is currently suffering from an acute scarcity of efficient qualified plumbers and it is therefore essential that plumbing products are as simple and quick to install as possible so that we can optimise the labour resources of these important trade professionals. Systems such as Polyplumb have been specifically designed with this purpose in mind, providing a comprehensive range of user-friendly products granting easy, speedy installation.
Jointing for instance used to be one of the more time-consuming of the plumber’s tasks. First, a plastic system, simply through the flexibility of the pipe and the long lengths in which it is supplied, dramatically reduces the number of joints necessary and second, modern jointing methods such as Polyplumb’s push-fit design save time in the process and co-incidentally eliminate the need for the heating of joints and the fire risks involved in it.
The number of fittings required is also greatly reduced thanks to plastic flexibility [the use of elbows can be almost eradicated in some cases] and their installation is simplified by the fact that they can be rotated in situ even under pressure.
The sheer variety of fitments and accessories available is another labour-saving factor. To take just one example, the use of manifolds has proved extremely popular with Polyplumb clients, saving on jointing system design as well as labour. Even such mundane factors as the simplicity of transport and storage of plastic pipe - one single reasonably light roll instead of bundles of rigid short lengths - save plumber time as well as adding convenience.
I could go on all night in this vein, praising the virtues of hidden pipe-in-pipe installations impossible with rigid systems, talking junction boxes and easy-fit connectors to non-plastic pipe of different sizes and extolling the long-term performance benefits of polybutylene piping but it seems to me almost needless. The popularity of our own Polyplumb products and those of our competitors speaks for itself. Plastic is the only way forward for domestic hot & cold water supply.
Polyplumb Overlay Takes Underfloor Warmth Anywhere!
Paul Rice, Marketing Director for the Polypipe Group, enthuses on a completely new ufch system that can be simply over-laid on any existing timber or solid floor.
The Romans, with hypocaust systems installed in their luxury villas, proved the worth of underfloor heating two millennia ago. It has taken modern heating engineers a long time to catch up with the great advantages of ufch and it is only now, with improved plastics technology and advanced design that a system has been developed that can be applied to any room in the house with a minimum of disruption and installation time and a maximum of efficient radiated warmth. That system is the Polyplumb Overlay Floor Heating System. With a depth of only 18mm, it can be swiftly laid on top of virtually any flat surface offering the value-added luxury of underfloor central heating to for instance a bathroom, kitchen or conservatory. It can be run in parallel with existing radiator heating in other rooms via a Polyplumb ZRU Single Room Unit or two or more rooms can be linked into the system without problem, by using distribution manifolds.
As with all good systems Overlay is simple in concept. First a damp-proof membrane is laid over the existing floor surface. High load-bearing grooved floor panels [each covering 0.48 sq. m.] are laid on top of the membrane and pre-formed end returns fitted to the panel ends on the shortest walls of the room. Polybutylene pipe 12mm in diameter can then be simply ‘walked into’ the grooves and connected into the compact wall-mounted Zonal Regulation Unit [ZRU].
This converts the water in the existing heating system to a temperature and flow rate suitable for Overlay and the ufch is up and running. Wood/laminate or tiles can be placed directly onto the Overlay although for carpeted or vinyl floor coverings an intermediate 4mm layer of plywood is recommended. The system is so simple to install that almost any room can be converted to underfloor heating in a single day.
Much care was taken with the overall design of Overlay with the installer as well as the end-user in mind. For instance the floor panels can be very simply sawn to shape while the flexibility of the polybutylene pipe makes even corner-turns simple to feed from the 80 metres long coil. Every conceivable accessory from spacer strips to jointing staples, from polyurethane foam glue to self-adhesive pipe clips is available with the system and has been chosen to complement it.
The advantages of ufch over radiator systems are many. The heating is effectively spread throughout the room without hot spots. It offers flexibility in interior design, providing greater unencumbered wall space. It is safe with no super-hot surfaces or sharp corners on radiator covers and the uniform radiated heat it supplies is healthier, lacking the circulated dust particles that are a hazard to asthma sufferers with radiator systems. Now that we have progressed beyond the stage where installation involves major upheaval and construction work, the luxury of ufch is as freely available for retro-fits as for major refurbishment projects or new-build situations.
Polyplumb Overlay System is, in my opinion, a major advance in heating system design offering both flexibility in use and extreme simplicity of installation. It can be used for single rooms or integrated to cover a number of rooms using a distribution manifold instead of the single-room ZRU. It can be used alongside an existing radiator system or on its own, in retro-fits or new constructions. Above all, the prime requirement for any central heating, it provides effective, fast activated and regulated warmth throughout the room. Now we are definitely one up on the Romans!
Project Church Refurbishment, Essex, England
"The Polyplumb System much quicker to install and simply looks more professional than having to tie pipe to reinforcing mesh. The client was very impressed throughout and I've already won other jobs from my photos of this project." Nck Cheshire, MD NCC Ltd, H & V Engineers
Complete refurbishment of the 14th century St Mary's Church at Great Baddow near Stansted, Essex, was always going to call for a special solution. Architect Gerald W. Barrett of Chelmsford nominated NCC as the mechanical design and installation contractor, with a brief that stressed speed of installation and efficiency of operation.
Existing cast iron radiators were refurbished and re-installed to achieve quick-heat-up for spring and autumn services. UFCH was laid under a screeded floor for constant use throughout the winter months, supplemented by the radiators on very cold service days.
The under floor heating system comprises two zones covering the 16m x 15m Nave, and a third zone in the 6m x 6m Chancel. Zones were determined by pipe circuit lengths and manifold capacities rather than by operational requirements - all three zones are configured to be on or off simultaneously.
Nick Cheshire, MD of NCC, comments, "I knew under floor heating powered by condensing boilers could deliver the efficiency the client needed. But previous systems, where pipe is tied to a steel mesh, are very time-consuming to install. Then I'd seen the Polyplumb System. It's simple. And their technical support has been excellent. Now, thanks to St Mary's, I'm a convert.";
key data table
• 275m 2 solid floor UFCH
• 18mm Polyplumb barrier pipe
• 3 manifolds, 14 circuits
• 2 Baxi Barcelona 31kW condensing boilers in tandem
• Grundfos shunt and circuit pumps
• Danfoss Randall controls
• £25,000 contract including radiator circuit and sanitary-ware
Polypipe Building Products Ltd
Tel: +44 (0)1709 770000
Fax: +44 (0)1709 770001