How to... install Wavin’s Thermoboard Low Build
Plumbed UFH has always been a great option for many refurbishment projects, ticking the boxes of installers and homeowners alike when talking about ease of installation, in-floor aesthetic or cost-in-use and environmental comfort.
However, there will always be the occasion when it may not fit the bill because of the thicknesses of various systems generally available – and homeowners get lumbered instead with slim but expensive-to-run electric alternatives.
The very latest ‘low build’ products, however, are so low rise – no more than 15mm, less than the diameter of a 5p piece (excluding any optional ply layers) – that they are ideal for installing on top of existing floors. What’s more they are lightweight, easy to cut and handle, can withstand point loadings and provide for one person only installation if needs be. And the best proprietary systems – such as Wavin’s Thermoboard Low Build – also even offer universal end and return panels, removing the need for separate items.
So how does this ‘easy installation’ work?
Locate a suitable position for the manifold – of which there are differing set-ups depending on whether the room is under or over 6m2. This must be within the room area to be heated, although the mixing unit can be sited up to 15m away. Assemble and mount it.
Lay the universal panels, with flow and returns against the walls at opposite ends of the room, positioning them along the wall on which the manifold is mounted. Trim panels to size as per manufacturer's instructions where necessary. In respect of planning a job, Thermoboard offers the ‘plan it yourself’ QuickCalc service – which will produce an effectively instant bill of materials or a ‘FullSpec’ design management service.
Insert the pipe. When installing more than a single circuit – that is to say, one greater than 8m2 – divide the room into equally sized areas to be heated by each circuit. Starting from the manifold, feed the pipe into the channels – finishing back at the manifold.
Use the 10mm curved bend supports at the base of the wall below the manifold to create a tidy installation. Cut the heating pipe to length and insert the support sleeves. Insert the pipe into the flow and return ports on the manifold – variants of which are necessary depending on whether the project is under or over 6m2. Secure the pipe to the wall with clamps supplied.
Before connecting to the existing heating system it’s necessary to pressure test the installation. Fill the system with water, and – using a hydraulic pressure tester – pressurize to a minimum of 1.5 times the operating pressure of the boiler for two hours (typically mains water pressure will suffice). If any manifold joints are leaking, remake them; and if any pipework has been damaged and is leaking, the circuit must be replaced.
Connect to the heating system. Whether installing the Low Build system into an area under or over 6m2, it can be installed with or without boiler interlock. And commission by setting the pump and temperature, in accordance with instructions.