Talking about heating during the summer may seem counter-intuitive. However, there are many factors which make it an important topic!
To maintain an underfloor heating system throughout the year – and to make sure it’s primed for winter – paying attention to the heating during the summer months is critical.
Plus, ensuring the heating system is appropriately configured during summer can reduce energy consumption and heating bills – something which is on everyone’s mind amid the current cost-of-living crisis.
As the UK’s most trusted underfloor heating specialists with over 30 years’ experience, we’ve taken a look at heating during the summer season and how to keep underfloor heating systems running efficiently.
Should underfloor heating be turned off during the summer?
It seems logical to turn any heating – including underfloor heating – off during the summer, to preserve energy and keep the building as cool as possible.
Plus, with an average of 50% of household bills in the UK spent on heating, switching off heating systems during the summer is one way to lower energy bills.
However, contrary to what most people think, keeping underfloor heating switched on at low temperatures is actually an efficient way to use the system.
Keeping the thermostat set between 18°C and 21°C all year round will instruct the heating system to turn on and off as required to maintain a comfortable temperate range throughout the year.
If underfloor heating – particularly a wet (hydronic) system – is switched off, it’s important to turn it on for 15-20 minutes every couple of weeks to identify any faults and prevent the system from sticking.
So, properly regulating the heating system throughout the summer will ensure it remains operational and keeps the building at the recommended temperature.
And, regular checks are critical to ensuring that it will function when it needs to be turned back on in the autumn.
Should a boiler be turned off during summer?
If wet (hydronic) underfloor heating is used, it is usually connected to a boiler, which heats up the water and circulates it through a series of pipes in the floor.
Whether or not a boiler should be turned off during summer depends on the type of boiler installed.
Regular, heat-only boilers can be turned off as this doesn’t affect the supply of hot water.
Combi boilers on the other hand take care of hot water as well as the heating and should therefore not be switched off. Even if no heating is required during the summer months, there is still a requirement for hot water.
Most combi boilers have a built-in summer setting, which turns off the central heating system and provides hot water on demand. This saves energy and maximises comfort without compromising the hot water supply.
Regardless of boiler type, it’s important to turn it back on for a short period of time every now and then during the summer to prevent the valves and pumps from seizing up.
This also ensures everything is in good working order and ready for the winter.
What about heat pumps?
The government’s 2050 Net Zero target – as well as recent changes to Part L Building Regulations – have shone a spotlight on the importance of low-carbon heating for both new-builds and existing properties.
As a result, using heat pumps in combination with underfloor heating is emerging as a top choice for homeowners, architects, contractors, M&E consultants, builders and developers.
This is because heat pumps do not require the burning of fuel to create heat, making them energy efficient without producing the resulting carbon emissions.
However, heat pumps are not only a great choice for low-carbon heating, they make regulating the heating a simple task too.
When it comes to switching off heat pumps during the warmer months of the year, there are a couple of options.
Many heat pumps have summer modes, meaning they will adjust to the warmer weather without any intervention necessary. Alternatively, turning down the room thermostat ensures the heating will not turn on – without affecting the flow of hot water.
In preparation for colder weather, re-activating a heat pump is straightforward. Simply moving the thermostat to the desired temperature will put it back into heating action.
So, with their low-carbon properties and easy-to-regulate set up, it’s no wonder heat pumps are becoming a firm favourite for being paired with underfloor heating.
Preparing for colder weather is key
People may not think about installing underfloor heating during the summer – but it’s actually the ideal time!
Installation – particularly for wet systems – may take a while, so it’s always best to start the process early to ensure everything is ready for the end of summer.
If underfloor heating is already in place and has been switched off during the summer, it’s important to take precautions when turning it back on.
Reactivating underfloor heating after a long period of inactivity should be treated like turning the system on for the very first time – gradually increasing the temperate to the desired level.
Once the system is up and running, it’s advisable to not turn it off throughout the colder months of the year. This is because it takes a couple of hours to warm up. Instead, simply increase or decrease the temperature depending on the weather conditions.
For optimum control of underfloor heating – regardless of season – it’s worth investing in a smart thermostat which makes it really easy to regulate the temperature with a mobile device – from anywhere!
How can Gaia help?
Here at Gaia, we’re specialists in the design, supply and installation of underfloor heating systems in the UK and Ireland.
We offer both wet and dry underfloor heating systems, giving our clients choice when selecting the best heating solution for their project.
Our expert team are on hand to help homeowners, architects, contractors, M&E consultants, builders and developers with their underfloor heating needs.
Get in touch today to find out more.