Content supplied by UPONOR
The principle of underfloor heating (UFH) is very simple. Rather than mount metal panels on walls, pipes are laid in the floor and warm water circulated so that the floor effectively becomes a large radiator.
1. Underfloor heating distributes heat more evenly than radiators
UFH is a true radiant system and heats from floor to ceiling. UFH avoids wasted heat at high level and since the whole floor is heated evenly, optimum comfort is achieved everywhere in the room. In fact, the room thermostat can be set 1–2°C lower than a radiator system and the room will still feel comfortable.
2. Lower temperatures mean lower running costs
Running the system at a lower temperature and reducing the heat wasted at levels above head height makes for significant savings on fuel costs. The exact savings that can be expected are difficult to determine, as there are operational factors that also need to be considered, but on average running costs turn out to be lower than with a radiator system.
3. It can help free up scope for interior design
As its moniker explains, an underfloor heating system fits seamlessly into the floor structure, thus freeing up wall space to allow for more scope when it comes to interior design, without having to factor in radiator placement. It’s a great option for those looking to create uber-contemporary, minimalist spaces.
4. Underfloor heating is suitable for retrofit applications
While UFH is specified in many new builds, it is possible to retrofit a UFH system into an existing home. Slimline options, like Uponor’s Minitec, are available with installation heights of as low as 15mm to offer a minimal effect on floor levels (especially useful when you consider the need for level thresholds between rooms.
5. Systems are available in multiple configurations
When it comes to UFH, it is not a one size fits all kind of system. There are multiple configurations available, from water or electric system, to self attaching or panel systems, meaning that you can easily find the right solution for your property.
6. UFH can be used to keep your home cool
In addition to creating comfortably warm environments in your home, during warmer months an UFH heating system can also be used to reduce the room temperature, by running cooler water through the system.
7. Can be used with a variety of floor coverings
Most floor coverings can be laid on UFH systems, however it is recommended to consult your floor covering supplier to ensure that any special recommendations are followed, such as maximum temperature limits, wood drying conditions, and if special glues have been used.
It is strongly recommended that before any coverings are laid on screeded systems, the UFH system is run for two weeks (after the normal screed drying time) and allowed to cool.
In all cases, it is recommended that thick felts, thick underlays, and cork are avoided and they can affect the efficacy of the system. It is advisable, where possible, to have masonry coverings, like ceramic, slate, stone, marble floor tiles as these materials offer little thermal resistance and reduce downward heat losses.