How Does Underfloor Heating Work?

Underfloor Heating is not new, the principles go back to Roman times. In Europe it is the system of choice and in some countries accounts for 70% of new heating installations.

An underfloor heating system heats mainly by radiation. This is the most natural and comfortable form of heating - just like the sun.

Radiant energy emitted by the floor is partly reflected by each surface and partly absorbed. Where it is absorbed, that surface becomes a secondary emitter.

The majority of modern UFH systems are warm water systems, which integrate high tech barrier pipe either within or just below the floor.Underfloor_Heating_Pipe.jpg

Normally, water at a temperature of 47-62°C is circulated through this pipe and this warms the floor to a surface temperature of 25-28°C, about the same temperature as the palm of your hand.

With a radiator system the heat generated is transferred from a small surface area far hotter than the space it is heating. By comparison, UFH transfers heat from a very large surface area, which is only slightly warmer than the room.

Modern UFH systems are economical to run, virtually maintenance free and utilise effective controls. They provide the most comfortable all round warmth of any heating system.

In concrete floors, the heating pipe is laid on top of insulation before the screed covers the pipe and completes the floor construction.

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As the pipes are embedded into the solid screeded floor they can be covered with almost any finish.

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Control PackHot water is pumped from the boiler to a Pump Pack, where the water is mixed to approximately 50°C via the unique mixing valve before being pumped to the manifold.                          


Underfloor ManifoldThe underfloor pipe is connected to the manifold from where it runs out to the heating circuits.

Room ThermostatsThe system is controlled by one or more thermostats, which signal the Pump Pack when heat is required.                                               

As with all heating systems, suitable controls are required to achieve comfort condition, maintain economic operation and to comply with Building Regulations.

Wiring CentreUnderfloor heating systems can be used as the sole heating system or be linked to other appliances such as radiators.

Whilst UFH has many advantages over traditional systems they are not quite as responsive. As they are most efficient in constant operation, it is good practice to provide controls which can "set-back" the temperature in an area by 4 - 5°C during periods of low demand such as night time rather than turning the system completely off.

Features & Benefits

Underfloor Heating Systems offer many benefits to the consumer. Some of these are shown below.

  • Installation
    It is simple to install, requiring the minimum of effort and little maintenance.
  • Comfort
    The system uses radiant heat, which is the most comfortable form of heating.

  • Space
    The system is unobtrusive and space saving which means that every square metre of floor and wall space can be fully utilised giving freedom of interior design.

  • Noise
    As with radiator systems the UFH system is virtually silent running.

  • Health
    Dust is minimised and reduces house dust mites.

  • Economy
    The system reduces energy consumption and the loss of heat from the building surface is reduced.

  • Control
    The system is easy to control and the small temperature difference between the floor and the air means that the system is virtually self-regulating.

  • Environment
    Underfloor heating is suitable for use with the most energy efficient and environmentally friendly heating systems including condensing boilers, solar power and heat pumps.

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