Power Flushing – what is it and is it needed?

We all know that underfloor heating is an incredibly efficient, beautiful-to-walk on way of heating that will keep the whole house evenly warm. But it’s not easy to fit after the house is built and if often added during a home refurbishment or when adding an extension on. This often means that a new underfloor system is ‘bolted-on’ to an existing heating system. Which is fine of course, and works really, really well when the system is correctly balanced after installation.

However, should you be concerned about any rust in the existing system? Well, if the old system has a LOT of rust or sludge in it then you might need to consider get a power flush done to avoid potential problems in the future. One other alternative is to have a filter installed on the flow pipework just before the manifold. But make sure you have access to it and remember to check it regularly. Not sure if your system needs a power flush? Don’t worry, your installer will advise you. Most plumber and heating engineers these days have their own power flushing equipment, but if yours does not then it would pay to go to a specialist power flushing firm like Powerflushuk.com

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How to calculate a bill of materials for an underfloor heating system

Too often in the past underfloor heating companies have shrouded the specification of underfloor heating systems in mystery. The fact is, it is pretty straight-forward to work out what exactly you would require if you follow these principles;

Firstly, there are a few questions we need to answer;

  1. What’s the floor construction? Screed, Joists, Overlay?
  2. New build or refurbishment? If it’s a refurbishment, how old is the property?
  3. What’s the heat source? Boiler, Heat Pump?
  4. Preferred Manifold position. This is not essential at pricing stage but can avoid confusion and any crossing of pipe on the installation.
  5. How many heating zones will be required?

Once we have these answers, in general, we can specify what materials will be required.

We’ll take a new build house as an example;

Block and beam construction, therefore generally a screed will be used. The building will be using a heat pump as a heat source, therefore we would suggest installing the pipe at 150mm centres to allow for lower running temperatures and a more efficient system (Where a gas boiler is being used this can be moved out to 200mm centres in account of higher supply temperatures available).

Next we need to decide how many heating zones are required. Single room systems are just that, a single zone, regardless of size (Exceptions in very large commercial or multi-use domestic rooms may apply). In a building with multiple rooms on the ground floor, for example a large house, more than one zone would be required. Living room, dining room, kitchen, hallway, WC etc. can all be monitored individually allowing for greater control and a more efficient use of energy.

Each zone should be measured in square metres. Once we have this we can calculate the amount of pipe required. At 150mm centres the calculation would be m2 x 7.5. Therefore a room of 20m2 would require 150 linear metres of pipe (this figure includes additional pipe to allow flow and return to the manifold). It is important to remember that when using 16mm multilayer pipe, any single loop on the system should not exceed 120 linear metres. In the case of the 20m2 room you would therefore require 2 ports on the manifold. This process should be repeated for each room within the building remembering that not all rooms will have a single port on the manifold.

Example Calculations

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Often we see that 2 areas in close proximity may have very little pipe required. In this case, the hallway and WC have just 67.5m combined. In cases such consider combining them on a single loop. Doing this will reduce the number of ports on the manifold and the number of thermostats required. Here we have highlighted this by blanking the WC in red.

Based on this information we can now begin to create our bill of materials. In this example, we will require 517.5 metres of pipe, a 6 port manifold and 4no. thermostats. This is the basis of the complete system. Everything else required can now be calculated.

Pipe Clipping

We would recommend at least 3no. ‘U’-Clips per linear metre of pipe if this is your preferred method of attaching the pipe to the insulation. If you prefer to use clip-rail we recommend using 1 linear more of clip-rail per square metre of floor area. Experienced installer may use a combination of the two for speed of installation and money saving.

Edge Insulation

To calculate the the amount of edge insulation required we recommend calculating as 1.1 linear metres of edge insulation per square metre of the project. In this case, circa 76m.

On the Manifold

Pump & Blend Valve.

As we have discussed, this example uses a heat pump as a heat source. In cases such as this it is often the case that a pump and blending valve is not required. Please check this before ordering.

Actuators

If you are specifying a system for a single room, actuators will not be required. However, once you move to multiform or multi zone underfloor heating systems, each port on the manifold will be required to control the flow of warm water. Each actuator will be connected, via the wiring centre, to the relevant room thermostat and out or close depending on the required room temperature and any time programme enabled.

In terms of the manifold itself, this should come complete with ball valve, fill and drain caps and pipe connectors. Please check that your supplier provides all of this as a kit. Do not assume this.

Temperature Controls

Thermostats

In this example we have assumed that the client would require 4no. thermostats as the hall and WC are going to be combined. There are a mass of options on the controls front available in the market. Anything from the traditional dial thermostat to the higher costs internet enabled intelligent systems. Each has their place in the market, just make sure that you or your client are capable of using the more advanced systems as some are more complicated than others.

Wiring Centres

You will require a wiring centre to control the multi-zone system. This is a central control point that communicates between the thermostat, actuator, pump (if required) and the heat source. Placed next to manifold, this controls the entire system.

Do I require an underfloor heating design?

Many, many people install underfloor heating just using their knowledge and a little common sense. We are a nation of DIYers after all. However, it is alway a good idea to get a design done, especially if you have little experience of underfloor heating or if the system is for multi-room dwellings. Things on site can get a little confused when you have to get the pipe to and from rooms some distance from the manifold. A design should also provide you with the exact length of pipe required, the flow rates and outputs of the system which all comes in very handy. In short, our answer is that you don’t need one but we’d advise you do. Your supplier should be able to provide the underfloor heating design.

Tick List of materials required;

Pipe

Clipping system

Edge insualtion

Manifold – Check your supplier provides all the required components.

Pump & Blending Valve

Actuators

Thermostats

Wiring Centre

Other – Pipe conduit, Polythene insulation cover, Remote sensor for bathrooms etc.

So, you’ve got a number of questions to answer before you create your list. Take your time and double check it with your supplier, they should be able to help. Or, if you have any questions for us, please call us on 01245 490 401.

B-Hive Supplies is a specialist underfloor heating and plumbing supplier based in Chelmsford Essex. www.bhiveunderfloor.co.uk Tel: 01245 490 401

NOTE:

B-Hive accepts that there are many different types of underfloor heating available on the UK market and that not all systems suppliers apply the same rules to the specification of UFH Systems. All of our designed systems are produced in line with the relevant UK guidelines and this article is based on these principles.

B-Hive also accepts that this example is just one of any number of possible system type required in any given situation. All projects are different and should be considered on their individual merits.

Should anyone wish to discuss anything in this article, please feel free to comment.

 

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Enough Ethics?

We love this little note direct from one of our favourite authors… Seth Godin

Enough ethics?

Most companies seek to be more profitable.

They seek to increase their Key Performance Indicators. More referrals, more satisfaction, more loyalty. They seek to increase their market share, their dividends, their stock price.

But ethics?

In fact, most companies strive to be just ethical enough. To get ethics to the point where no one is complaining, where poor ethics aren’t harming their KPIs.

What if instead…

Being more ethical was the most important KPI?

Perhaps profit and market share and the rest could merely be tools in service of the ability to make things better, to treat people ever more fairly, to do work that we’re more proud of each day.

It might be worth trying.

Opening Times

In response to our clients requests, our opening times will change as of Monday 3rd of October. Our opening time for telephone calls and collections will be as follows;

Telephone  01245 490 401 Monday-Friday 8am – 6pm, Saturday 9am – 2pm, Sunday Closed

Pre-Arranged Collections Monday-Friday 8am – 6pm, Saturday 9am – 2pm, Sunday Closed

NOTE:

Collections must be pre-arrange to ensure stock can be organised in advance of your arrival.

Design Drawings for Underfloor Heating will require 2 working days from order.

Deliveries are still available nationwide next day and on a same/next day basis in the South-East.

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August Featured Product – Flexigas Pipe & Fittings

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In a new monthly “Featured Product” we will be looking a little deeper into the features and benefits of specific products within the B-Hive Supplies portfolio. Hopefully, this can help our prospective and existing clients further understand the technologies and better determine which products are right for them and their projects.

The inaugural featured product is our Flexigas semi-ridged gas pipe and fittings. New to the UK market in terms of it’s branding, this type of product has been a available here for a number of years now. Brands such as Gastite, Tracpipe and have made large movements to aid the installers and specifiers with flexible gas pipe and fittings. Enabling faster installation in both new build and refurbishment without the need for time consuming braised fittings, many installers use it as a matter of course.

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During our research into the product before taking it on, our team discovered four main objections to the use of Flexible gas pipe;

1. Many installer insist on using the tried and tested, traditional copper installation simply because they have been doing it that way for years.

2. The specification of the project design simply says that copper is to be used on all gas pipework.

3. The Cost. Up until now the cost to the installer of Flexible gas pipe, as especially the associated fittings, has been prohibitive. Compared to the cost of copper, the capital costs versus time saving benefits just didn’t add up.

4. I can’t get hold of it. As the demand for this type of product increases more and more plumbers & builders merchants will stock the product but for the time being, many places have to order it in.

For those traditionalists insistent on using copper we can only spout the key features and benefits, something outside of our influence will be the only thing that changes their mind on that one. For the specifiers, a greater knowledge of the product, the better marketing of the product, the better sharing of the testing and technology will be the way forward for the manufacturers sales team.

Cost. We agree that the costs of the existing brands in the market has been too high for too long. Whilst Flexible gas pipe is a huge move forward in product technology, it should not be so expensive in the UK market. Flexigas is not expensive by comparison. Copper will always be the main competition but, put simply, Flexigas, when the capital costs versus time saving benefits are recognised by the specifiers and installers is in with a genuine shot.

For more information on this product or anything else in the B-Hive product portfolio, please call us on 01245 490 401, click on one of the images below, or go to www.bhivesupplies.co.uk

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New B-Hive Underfloor Heating Brochure

Whilst we clearly understand that our route to market is very much on-line and that all of our product information is available at www.bhiveunderfloor.co.uk, we’ve also been asked repeatedly by our clients for a brochure or overview of what we offer in terms of underfloor heating. We’ve listened to your requests…

Our team has, over the last couple of weeks, been working on developing a succinct overview of our products and services.

The hope is that this information will help our trade clients with their clients and help to inform our public clients as to the benefits of using B-Hive Underfloor Heating systems and services.

Let us know what you think…

 

Download Brochure

What’s the point to Point to Point Plumbing?

Long used on the continent as the standard, point to point plumbing is fast becoming a new build and refurbishment plumbing and heating systems solution in the UK market.

Essentially, the increased use of flexible plastic pipe work and the markets desire to improve installation times and reduce the possibility of leaks within ceiling, walls and floors, has lent itself to this type of installation.

The basic principle is that each outlet, appliance or radiator has a single flow and return from a centrally situated manifold. Whilst this means a large increase in the amount of pipe used in each installation, the use of fittings is no longer required (except at the manifold and point of use). The lack of fittings means less time on the installation, less likelihood of leaks, cost savings and ultimate systems control from a central point.

Each system can be isolated at source or, should the correct manifold be used, each outlet or appliance can be isolated for maintenance or repair whilst the rest of the system can remains in full use throughout.

Now, we appreciate that this kind of system would not be suitable for all installations but for those with the scope and vision to pre-plan for this type of installation, the benefits can be significant.

For further information about this type of system, its design, and the components available for installation, please feel free to give us a call on 01245 490 401, or see here…

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We’ve been bitten…

Sounds like bad news that, but on the contrary, B-Hive is happy to announce we now have the global plumbing phenomenon that is Shark Bite.

Last year Shark Bite became the largest single manufacturer of push fit fittings in the world, taking the US and Asia by storm.

The range includes fittings range from 10mm to 54mm, brass bodied, demountable, re-usable, for use with copper, PB, Pert, Chromed Copper and Carbon Steel. The range also includes a comprehensive range of valves, Pert pipe and tooling. If you listen to the global market, then the Shark Bite Plumbing System really is your answer to complete adaptability and system confidence.

Take a look…

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Euros Effect

Just a quick couple of things.

  • The current exchange rate fluctuations will not effect pricing on the B-Hive Underfloor website for the time being. For those with open quotations, your pricing is fixed for 3 months.

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  • Congratulations to my fellow countrymen on their journey through to the semi-finals of the Euros. You did the Welsh and British nations proud. #TogetherStronger

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Mine is Better…….

Something we picked up over the weekend… A little ditti from one of our favourite writers, Seth Godin;

Uninformed dissent 

“I’m not sure what it is, but I’m against it.”

It’s a mistake to believe that people know all the facts before they decide.

In fact, most of the time, we decide and then figure out if we need to get some facts to justify our instinct.

There are two common causes of uninformed dissent:

The first is person who fears change, or is quite happy with the status quo. He doesn’t have to read your report or do the math or listen to the experts, because the question is, “change” and his answer is, “no.”

The second (quite common in a political situation), is the tribal imperative that people like us do things like this. No need to do the science, or understand the consequences or ask hard questions. Instead, focus on the emotional/cultural elements and think about the facts later .

This is something we consider constantly at B-Hive. Getting customer’s (and suppliers) to be open to change is something we target. Changing a person’s mind isn’t always the easiest thing. How do you influence a potential client to move away from their current thinking, to give you the chance to prove yourself? The eternal questions in sales.

Be Persistent,

Be Patient,

Be Consistent,

Be Efficient,

Be B-Hive.

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