What lies beneath? The latest UFH innovations from OMNIE

What lies beneath? The latest UFH innovations from OMNIE

PBM paid a visit to OMNIE’s Exeter headquarters to find out what’s new from the underfloor heating expert.

The concept of supplying a routed structural floor panel that will accommodate UFH pipes has been pioneered by OMNIE for many years. The result is a two-in-one product that’s already recognised as the benchmark in terms of performance and installer friendly features and, with the introduction of TorFloor 2, it’s an idea that’s been developed still further.

“Everything OMNIE does in terms of its product design is about transfer of heat,” explains CEO Darren Trivett. “An efficient transfer from the pipe into the panel at reasonable water temperatures provides the higher heat outputs that older buildings in particular demand. When you consider that the UK has the oldest housing stock in Europe, a product that can deal with higher levels of heat loss is essential, especially as we transition to heat pumps.”

So just what are some of the issues that OMNIE says its system removes? The British Standard for UFH states that the comfortable temperature underfoot is a maximum of 29°C, with wet rooms and perimeter zones allowed to go higher. In terms of heat transfer however, many UFH installations will suffer from thermal striping where the heat fails to move laterally and instead builds up around the pipe, creating peaks and troughs.

Consequently, some manufacturers will quote the average and not peak temperature in their calculations. Not only will the homeowner experience this as patches of warm and cold around the home, there is also the more serious issue of compromising the floor covering.

By contrast, the patented AL HEX aluminium diffuser technology integral to OMNIE’s panel design — where soft temper aluminium is effectively wrapped around the pipes — is far more efficient at defusing the heat laterally, minimising any clustering of higher temperatures around pipework. As a result, the overall installation will remain well within the British Standard of 29°C as a maximum.

That means you can get more heat out of the flow without increasing the water temperature. Indeed, you can actually lower the temperature of the water, which means you’re well placed to reduce running costs — and get the most from a heat pump installation, for example.

The OMNIE innovations go further because a multi-directional pipe channel design facilitates an easier installation. It obviates the need for separate straight and loop end panels, or the hand routing of pipe channels. Those channels are spaced at 150mm centres whilst fluted pipe exits ensure an easy transition into the neighbouring panels.

PBM paid a visit to OMNIE’s Exeter headquarters to find out what’s new from the underfloor heating expert.

Product innovation

Designed for suspended and batten floors, TorFloor 2 is also a floor deck and underfloor heating system in one. The 22mm chipboard lower panel complemented by a 6mm wood fibre interlocking upper panel which is also routed, foiled and printed, fully encasing the pipe. Installers simply need to listen out for the click when the upper panel in positioned and they’ll know it is perfectly in place — with no glue required.

A printed panel on the floor face indicates the pipe pattern beneath and, with points for screws clearly marked, the installer has the reassurance of knowing the exact location of the pipe when securing to joists, which makes for a much faster installation, and eliminates the costly mistake of putting a fixing through a pipe.

The two panels combine to produce a unique UFH product. With TorFloor 2 Performance model aluminium is now in place both under and over the pipe, providing twice the amount of the diffusing metal, and increasing heat outputs by 15% over the previous design — all at a lower water temperature.

There’s also a choice of top panel depending on the floor covering with woodfibre cement board and ply available — again, all routed, foiled and printed. The system produces 77 W/m² at 50°C flow water temperature and is independently tested for structural strength (at 600mm joist centres) to the latest standards (tested to BS EN 1195).

TorFloor 2 is equally available as an acoustic panel, with 8mm rubber on the bottom of the cement board lower deck, whilst the base board can also be supplied as 22mm ply rather than chipboard. At the same time, all the different options on the base and top board are completely interchangeable and compatible.

While TorFloor 2 is a structural system, Lowboard 2 is intended for installation on an existing insulated floor. Exhibiting all the same product enhancements — with an aluminium foiled base layer and top layer panel, and choice of woodfibre cement board and plywood — it is also an 18mm system. At the height of a 5p piece, this makes it one of the lowest profile underfloor heating products on the market.

OMNIE has also developed its Ultimate concept further with Ultimate 2 — an extruded polystyrene insulation panel. Said to save considerable time in comparison with its predecessor, with Ultimate 2 only the sub-floor surface needs to be primed. The panel itself is self-adhesive — simply peel off the back and position. Furthermore, the top of the panel is pre-primed at the factory so it does not need to be done on site. Simply stick the panel down, install your pipework and add the levelling compound for a much quicker job all round.

Click here for more information on OMNIE’s UFH systems.

With an increased focus on servicing the needs of the merchant sector, as well as the products on offer from OMNIE, stockists can also gain access to the Circoflo by OMNIE range of easily transacted underfloor heating products, including a simple online tool for smaller jobs.

Part of the Ridgespear family of companies, both brands offer point of sale collateral to inform customers in-branch, including posters and a range of informative videos in addition to targeted social media.

Furthermore, training can be provided either in branch, on site or at the company’s dedicated training centre in Exeter. Sales team trade mornings / evenings are undertaken to promote brand awareness, whilst the firm also encourages dual calls with merchant sales representatives.

A version of this article appeared in the July/August edition of Professional Builders Merchant. Click here to view the full issue online, via the PBM website.

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