Last updated: August 9, 2021

Underfloor heating manifolds ensure even heat distribution in hot-water operated underfloor heating systems and thus an increased sense of well-being in your home. Once you have walked barefoot across a pleasantly warm floor, you will never want to go back to clunky radiators. Underfloor heating distributors are needed to ensure that feet sensitive to cold stay toasty warm in all rooms.

With our large underfloor heating manifold test 2022 we want to help you find the best underfloor heating manifold for you. We have compared different models and listed what is important when buying an underfloor heating manifold. This should make your purchase decision as easy as possible.




Summary

  • Underfloor heating manifolds, as a component of hot-water operated underfloor heating systems, ensure even heat distribution and thus constant room temperatures. They therefore offer the perfect solution for efficient, cost-reduced and homogeneous heating - both for private households and for large industrial areas.
  • Underfloor heating manifolds consist of a flow and a return system to which the heating pipes are connected and are usually made of stainless steel or brass.
  • For the underfloor heating manifold to work best in practice, the hydraulic system of the underfloor heating must be set correctly. This is done by a so-called hydraulic balancing, which balances the flow conditions in the heating circuits.

The Best Underfloor Heating Manifolds: Our Choices

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying an underfloor heating manifold

What is an underfloor heating manifold?

An underfloor heating manifold is a component of hot-water operated underfloor heating that ensures homogeneous heat distribution and thus constant room temperatures. The underfloor heating manifold, which is also called a heating circuit manifold, achieves this by distributing heating water evenly to all heating circuits in the piping system.

Underfloor heating systems are popular heating systems in homes and houses, but they can be inefficient if operated incorrectly. (Image source: pixabay.de / StockSnap)

Due to its housing, the underfloor heating manifold resembles a simple box. All the heating pipes from up to twelve different heating circuits come together in this box, and their heat is absorbed and distributed. Depending on the model and manufacturer, the flow and return pipes as well as the distribution trunks of the underfloor heating manifold are made of brass or stainless steel.

However, the choice of material does not make a significant difference in terms of quality and price. Because of the complex handling, you should always leave the installation and connection of an underfloor heating manifold to a professional.

For whom is an underfloor heating manifold suitable?

An underfloor heating manifold is a must-have for any owner of a hot water powered underfloor heating system who wants to heat their home evenly and efficiently.

Underfloor heating systems are popular sources of heat in the home. However, if operated incorrectly, they can be very inefficient.

This is because underfloor heating systems usually require a longer flow time to reach the desired room temperature. In addition, underfloor heating does not heat the room air as quickly and strongly as conventional radiators. For this reason, underfloor heating systems are often regulated too high, which means that they consume an unnecessary amount of fuel and become unproductive.

Anyone who heats with underfloor heating should therefore be aware of these peculiarities. Underfloor heating manifolds guarantee an even distribution of heat in the pipe system. To ensure that your underfloor heating system achieves its best performance, a hydraulic balancing should be carried out regularly by an expert. We explain what hydraulic balancing is and why it makes sense in the trivia section.

How is an underfloor heating manifold constructed and how does it work?

An underfloor heating manifold consists of a flow and return system as well as an actuator and valves. It is usually located in a rectangular shaped cabinet made of sheet steel. In addition, it is galvanised and powder-coated to protect the underfloor heating manifold as well as possible.

As already mentioned, all heating pipes come together in the underfloor heating manifold, whose heat is distributed in the connection. Up to twelve different heating circuits can be connected to each other in one manifold. Each of them is divided into a flow and a return.

The flow is the path of the heat from the heating system to the floor. In contrast, one speaks of a return flow when the water is on its way back to the heating system after it has been led through the heating pipes and has already given off its heat.

Up to twelve heating circuits can meet in one underfloor heating manifold. (Image source: pixabay.de / energy1987)

A good prerequisite for even heat distribution in the room is pipes that are laid with hot water flowing in opposite directions. For this purpose, supply and return pipes should be arranged parallel to each other, ideally also in such a way that the path of the pipes is approximately the same length.

However, heating pipes are usually of different lengths. As a result, there are different flow resistances depending on the pipe length that the hot water has to overcome. In order to ensure an even distribution of heat, identical flow conditions must be established in the heating circuits. As already mentioned, this is the function of the underfloor heating manifold.

If there are deviations between the actual and the set temperature, the actuator of the underfloor heating distributor regulates the respective valve with a stroke movement, i.e. a classic open and close principle.

As a result, more or less heat can be released as required by rhythmically opening or closing the respective valves. To ensure precise regulation of the flow rate, the actuator is supported by a room thermostat. For this purpose, the temperature sensors are mounted in the rooms to be heated.

Depending on the temperature, the thermostat sends signals to the actuator so that it opens or closes the valves on the underfloor heating manifold. The heating heats up as soon as the corresponding valves are open and water flows through the pipes. The process stops when the valves are closed again.

The thermostat therefore has a direct influence on the energy supply and has a regulating effect. Flow meters integrated in the heating circuit manifold make it possible to visualise the volume flow (in litres per minute).

The number of underfloor heating manifolds depends on the size of the underfloor heating, the floor area, the diameter of the pipes and the pipe spacing. On average, one heating circuit manifold can ensure surface heating for approx. 20 square metres. The exact number of distributors required can be determined with the help of a hydraulic balancing by a specialist.

What does an underfloor heating manifold cost?

There are certain price differences between the various underfloor heating manifolds. The amounts vary depending on the heating circuits, the manufacturer's brand and the quality of the product. The material of the underfloor heating manifold - stainless steel or brass - makes little difference to the price. The price range of underfloor heating manifolds can range from approx. 50 to 250 euros.
Heating circuits price range
2 approx. 50-75 €
4 approx. 75-100 €
6 approx. 105-130 €
8 approx. 150-170 €
10 approx. 165-200 €
12 approx. 200-250 €

To get a better overview, we have compiled the average prices for underfloor heating manifolds made of stainless steel (incl. flow meters) depending on the number of heating circuits.

What alternatives are there to an underfloor heating manifold?

If you have underfloor heating that is hot water operated, an underfloor heating manifold is a must for you. There is no alternative that guarantees an even heat distribution in all heating circuits and thus in your entire home like an underfloor heating manifold.

As an alternative to hot-water underfloor heating, there are electric underfloor heating systems or classic radiators, although these are not necessarily aesthetically pleasing. (Image source: unsplash.com / Alex Perz)

Of course, there is an alternative to underfloor heating with a hot water system. For example, electric underfloor heating is possible, but it does not require a heating distributor and belongs to the group of electric heaters. Other alternatives are wall heaters, which are mounted on the ceiling and wall, or the good old radiators.

Criterion Electric underfloor heating Hot-water operated underfloor heating
Performance Fast and reliable heating of the room Also heating to the desired temperature, but requires a little more lead time
Acquisition and operating costs Cheaper variant to purchase Scores points in permanent operation, as lower energy consumption with long heating
Installation Faster and easier installation Installation on drywall as well as on wet screed possible

In comparison, the purchase of an electric underfloor heating system is cheaper, but in the long run, the installation of a hot-water operated underfloor heating system pays off.

Buying criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate underfloor heating manifolds

If you are looking for the right heating circuit manifold, you have several options. In the following, we will show you which aspects you can use to decide between the many possible underfloor heating manifolds. The criteria you can use to compare different manifolds for underfloor heating include:

  • Heating circuits
  • Type
  • Accessories

In the following paragraphs we will explain what is important in the individual criteria.

Heating circuits

As already mentioned, you can choose underfloor heating manifolds with up to twelve heating circuits. The more heating circuits you want to connect to your manifold, the more expensive the product will be.

The number of heating circuits, but also the number of manifolds, depends on the size of the area to be heated. For effective heating, the floor area of a building is usually first divided into several heating circuits.

So before you buy an underfloor heating manifold, consider the installation plan of your underfloor heating. Heating circuits and distributors should be marked there. The number of heating circuits, but also the number of distributors, depends on the size of the area to be heated.

For effective heating, the floor area of a building is usually first divided into several heating circuits. So before you buy an underfloor heating manifold, consider the installation plan of your underfloor heating. Heating circuits and manifolds should be marked there.

Type

You can buy ready-assembled heating circuit manifold sets for your underfloor heating. However, it is also possible to buy all components individually in order to build the manifold yourself. The advantage here is that your components can be adapted to the individual heating requirements and you will end up with the most suitable underfloor heating manifold.

Accessories

When choosing an underfloor heating manifold, consider not only the number of heating circuits but also the exact scope of delivery and the connection options. Your underfloor heating manifold should ideally be equipped with integrated flow meters that indicate the flow rate and regulate the rough litre quantity per minute.

So-called smart valves can also prove to be practical in use and especially in maintenance.

As a rule, however, you have to buy the actuator and compression fittings separately, because they are not supplied with the heating circuit manifold.

Facts worth knowing about underfloor heating manifolds

What is hydraulic balancing and why is it useful?

Hidden invisibly under tiles, parquet and the like, underfloor heating systems create a cosy atmosphere and pamper frozen feet, especially in winter. However, if the floor is not evenly warm and the heaters make disturbing noises, the warm pleasure is quickly over, especially in the cold seasons.

This can often be remedied by carrying out a hydraulic balancing. As already mentioned, temperature sensors measure the room temperature and pass it on to the thermostat on the underfloor heating manifold. The thermostat then transmits signals to the valves, which then set the correct water temperature. However, this system only works properly if the underfloor heating has been hydraulically balanced beforehand. Hydraulic balancing is a fine adjustment, so to speak, which subsequently leads to improved and more efficient heating.

In the case of underfloor heating, this means that the optimal amount of heating water flows to the appropriate points at the appropriate time. Hydraulic balancing is necessary because the ideal water quantity is not set automatically.

Experts estimate that around 90 percent of all heating systems in Germany are not hydraulically balanced.

Since liquids always take the easiest path with the least resistance and components of the underfloor heating system have different levels of flow resistance, the water does not reach all heating circuits evenly if the setting is incorrect.

As a result, some areas of the room that are close to the underfloor heating manifold are oversupplied with heat, while other areas remain cold.

This is doubly annoying, as the floor remains cold in some areas and the energy consumption is unnecessarily high. The water is now heated more than is actually necessary to compensate for the low temperatures in some places and runs through the pipes at too high a flow temperature This increased flow rate can lead to annoying noises such as knocking, hissing or gurgling. You can recognise that your underfloor heating needs to be hydraulically balanced by the following signs:

  • Certain areas of the floor do not get warm
  • Individual areas are in turn oversupplied with heat
  • Annoying noises can be heard in the pipes
  • Excessively high heating costs
  • The water flow temperatures are too high
  • The desired room temperature is not reached

The probability that a hydraulic adjustment can help is high. If it is carried out correctly, not only will the indoor climate improve, but at the same time the energy demand can be reduced by up to 10 percent. In addition, hydraulic balancing not only saves you money, but also protects the environment.

By the way, in many cases there is the prospect of subsidies.

Hydraulic balancing is a very complex undertaking. In the case of underfloor heating, the technical effort is many times greater than for other heating systems. For this reason, you should leave it to an expert.

Image source: 123rf.com / 86947009

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