Chris Ingram from Continental Underfloor offers some straight talking advice on underfloor heating.
You’ve gone to meet a new customer who springs the fact they want underfloor heating in their bathroom on you. Not only that, but they also want to know how underfloor heating will work in their existing bathroom set up, and how it could work in a wetroom if they were to upgrade.
It’s a lucrative project, and you want the job, but underfloor heating is an area you’ve not touched on much before. Do you convince them to switch to radiators, or do you satisfy their lust for the luxury of underfloor heating – and take the credit and resulting recommendations when the renovation is complete?
Underfloor heating isn’t as complicated as you might first think and here’s how you can go about choosing and fitting a system:
1. Put a water-based underfloor heating system in. Although the system may be more expensive initially, in the long run the customer will thank you when their energy bills don’t fluctuate as much. You don’t want to be the plumber that recommended a heating system that they don’t ever turn on due to the amount it costs to run
2. A water-based system works hand-in-hand with a radiator system, which means your customer’s home can have radiators in some rooms and underfloor heating in others, all working together. Make sure you tell your customer this – there’s no upheaval to the rest of the home
3. In a bathroom refit, it can be as simple as lifting up the existing floor, laying easy-to-fit panels with embedded pipes which sit over the top of the sub-floor, and then re-laying the floor. It doesn’t need to be any more complicated and you can do all of this yourself, usually in half a day. Use a system as easy as Continental’s SlimFix, which will lift the floor by just 25mm
4. In a new build bathroom, one of the most common systems used is screed over insulation – this will save you money, but on the downside will take longer to lay as the screed needs to cure and dry
5. In a regular bathroom layout, you don’t need to fit underfloor heating panels under the bath or fixed cupboards – just lay it underneath the flooring. This will save on costs of the system and labour, keeping your customer happy
6. It’s no different in a wetroom: lay the underfloor heating across the floor area and then fit the water bearing floor surface on top
7. Ask if the customer wants any bathroom accessories. Upselling a towel rail can be a welcome addition, and can simply hook up to the heating system to create an additional touch of luxury in the room
8. Add a heating control into the specification; a room thermostat for the bathroom will allow your customer to control the heating day and night. Continental has a range of controls suitable for wet rooms and bathrooms including the mobile app controlled therM
Once your customer is convinced and you’re back in the van, ask yourself three important questions:
1. Is it quicker to ask an expert, who will design the best system for your customer? In most cases the answer will probably be yes, so give a supplier a call. Reliable businesses will have people at the other end of the phone who will take the spec and get a quote back to you – some as quick as in 15 minutes
2. How soon does the customer want the work to begin? We’ve all been in front of customers who expect the work to start, and finish, the next day! If it’s important to the customer, use a supplier who can get the system to you within a suitable timeframe – perhaps one that cuts out any middlemen – and get that order placed
3. How can I really close this sale? Additions such as room controls, particularly ones that can be controlled from a smartphone, are one of the must-haves for homeowners in-the-know in 2015. Look for products such as therM, which plumbers can connect themselves using the simple instructions that come with it. As a controls upgrade which can be purchased with an underfloor heating system it’s an easy way to increase the revenue earned from your job. Consumer awareness for home heating controls is high so take advantage of it
Even if you’ve not fitted underfloor heating before, don’t walk away from a project. Have a look at underfloor heating videos on YouTube or call a reputable supplier – they will be more than happy to guide you through the job.
You can contact Continental Underfloor Heating at www.ufh.co.uk, where you can chat online to an expert, or call 0845 108 7001.