Underfloor heating, in one form or another, has been around for hundreds of years, but has seen a resurgence in popularity in the past decade with the introduction of more efficient heat sources that require lower running temperatures to operate efficiently, like condensing boilers, heat pumps and solar thermal.
An underfloor heating system heats a room’s floor structure, which in turn warms the room itself. This is achieved in a “wet” underfloor heating system by passing heated water through plastic or composite pipes which are installed in the floor. Various installation options are available to suit different floor constructions. The underfloor heating pipes are routed back to a central manifold, typically one per floor, which is used to distribute heat to the relevant loops as and when required.
Underfloor heating produces a more gentle, even heat than a radiator or blown-air system, with the main component of heat output being infrared heat radiation, rather than convection. This affords comfort at lower room temperatures as the reduced convection results in fewer draughts.
The larger heating area provided by using an entire floor, rather than a relatively small radiator panel, also allows underfloor heating to operate effectively at much lower running temperatures than a traditional radiator heating system.
All of these efficiency improvements mean that a correctly designed underfloor heating system can provide annual fuel savings of up to 25% over a traditional radiator system.