Making a personal choice that cares for the environment

Sep 05, 2019 by Kelly Barnett

When looking to change the heating system in his own home, Wavin’s director for the Netherlands, Jan-Willem Viets, didn’t have to think too hard about all the options available. He chose Wavin’s own underfloor heating, with the company’s new Sentio control system.

Jan-Willem lives in a quiet suburb of Arnhem, the site of a famous World War II battle, memorialized in the 1977 movie, A Bridge Too Far. The city sits in the foothills of Veluwe, the largest forest in the country, which means it has a higher rainfall than most of the Netherlands. His family, wife Karin and two daughters, enjoy walking their dog, Pippa, in the nearby woods. Jan-Willem says, “We are lucky to live in Arnhem. It is a nice city, with lots of parks and green spaces so we have easy access to rural areas, with all the convenience of living in a city. The weather in the Netherlands is cold, wet winters and summers that are best described as ‘changeable’ – sometimes beautifully warm, sometimes uncomfortably hot, and sometimes chilly and wet.”

Like many other places in the world, weather in the Netherlands is becoming more extreme due to climate change. So, for Jan-Willem it’s important to have a heating system that works well, regardless of the conditions.

“When we were having the downstairs renovated, we chose underfloor heating for several reasons. It allows us to maintain a constant temperature whatever the weather. It suits our family life, where the children like to play on the floor with the dog. And Karin and I enjoy the flexibility of how we use the space without considering where the radiators are.”

-Jan-Willem Viets

Dispelling the Myths

Common misconceptions about underfloor heating are that it cannot work under wood floors, or carpeting. Jan-Willem dispels those myths, explaining, “In our home—in the living room and my home office—we chose to have wood flooring. We have tiles in the hallway, kitchen and downstairs toilet. Underneath the flooring is a concrete base, including the underfloor heating. The system works wonderfully, regardless of the floor covering. Our choice of heating was mainly one of comfort. The temperature is constant, so the house is never too hot or too cold. It is also very energy efficient, which is very important to our family. More efficiency means lower running costs, so it is very cost effective.” He adds, “When we had radiators, we noticed that the warmth of the room varied, being warmer close to the radiator but cooler in the rest of the room. Now, because there are no radiators, the temperature is the same throughout. There is no loss of space which there is with traditional radiators. It’s also quieter, no noise from the radiators heating up or cooling down.”

Another misconception is that underfloor heating takes hours to heat the house. Jan-Willem has found that not to be the case. Setting the minimum and maximum temperature at the outset means the system will keep within those parameters. The hardest part of adapting to the new system, Jan-Willem says is teaching his family not to fiddle with the controls to turn it up or down.

An important issue for Jan-Willem was the impact that heating a house would have on climate change. The right underfloor heating system can not only reduce energy bills, but also reduces energy consumption, which is good for the planet.

“Working for a company where sustainability is the bedrock of everything we do, it was important to consider how our personal choices impact the climate. We want to have a comfortable home, without damaging the climate. And that is what we now have.”

-Jan-Willem Viets