Many people have heard of underfloor heating but may not necessarily know exactly what it is or may not be aware of the current technology. For example, electrical floor heating was widely used at one time but was inefficient and not cost-effective as although it used cheap night time electricity to provide underfloor heat via electrical cables installed in the floor, the temperature was not easily controlled. This meant very hot floors in the morning which had then cooled down too much to be of benefit in the evening.
Thankfully though, underfloor heating has progressed significantly with the development of a ‘wet’ distribution system and can now be very easily linked to renewable energy systems such as heat pumps.
Underfloor heating may be more easily understood as a large radiator which is easily controlled and transfers heat to the floor space within a room to provide continual, efficient and comfortable heating.
How does Underfloor Heating work?
Underfloor heating provides rising heat by gently warming water which circulates in pipes installed within the floor construction. The water is heated via heat pumps and if the floor heating system detects temperature rise is required through its thermostatic control, additional heat is passed through a manifold where it circulates before passing once again through the pipes.
The result is a warm and comfortable environment which maximises living space because the room will be free of radiators and unsightly pipework.
Underfloor Heating – system types
Underfloor heating is a whole house solution capable of heating lounge, utility, bedrooms and bathrooms so no matter what the project, floor heating from professional heat pump installers can be designed to meet your specific needs.
Solid Floors – Screed System
This is the most common floor heating installation method for new build properties. Floor Heating Screed systems typically consist of a pre-installed rigid board insulation laid on top of a ground bearing slab, block and beam, suspended concrete floor or timber floor. The fixing system is applied to the insulation to which the PEX pipe can be attached. To complete the floor construction, a screed is applied to envelope the heating system. This type of system relies on the conductivity of the screed or concrete to conduct heat from the pipe surface to the underside of the floor finish.
Suspended Timber Floors
This underfloor heating system will be specified when the property has suspended timber joists instead of a concrete floor. A suspended timber plate system consists of a pre-installed rigid board insulation laid between joints (ideally at 400mm centres). A double channel aluminium heat diffusion plate is then affixed to the top of the joist to which the PEX pipe can be inserted. This type of floor heating system relies on the conductivity of the heat diffusion plates to conduct heat from the pipe surface to the underside of the floor finish.
You can find more useful information regarding underfloor heating in our Underfloor Heating FAQ.