Renewable Energy Cardigan Wales | Solar Panels, Heatpumps, Underfloor Heating
Underfloor heating installation

Warm feet = warm body

Underfloor heating's unrivalled feelings of comfort and economy of use are illustrated by the charts below. The curved line shows the temperature variation from floor to ceiling in a typical room heated by various methods, alongside the ideal for human comfort.

As you can see, the underfloor heating curve closely matches the ideal whereas radiators and hot air systems result in a pool of hot air at the ceiling and the lowest temperature at your feet.

To maintain comfort the air temperature at eye level is about 20°C for underfloor, 22°C for radiators and 26° C for warm air systems. It is accepted that heating costs rise by about 10% for every 1°C above 20 that you set your thermostat, so running cost savings of around 20% against radiators are quite possible. Similarly, emissions of greenhouse gasses from your boiler will also be less.

You may think that 20°C seems a bit cold, but experience suggests that this is not so. This is partly due to the fact that unlike radiators, the gentle radiant heat from the floor does not dry the air and relative humidity levels are maintained so it feels a couple of degrees warmer. The air remains still, as it is not circulated by convection from hot radiators so you feel less draft and less dust is stirred up.

Less drying of the air is kinder to your lungs and to your furniture, and the 'hard' floor finishes more common with underfloor heating remove breeding places for the dust mites that are implicated in various medical conditions.

FAQs

What type of floor is suitable?

Underfloor heating can be used on any kind of floor finish, tiles, carpet, wood and laminate but it is essential that the floor finish is considered during the design stage.

Can I turn it off whenever I want?

Systems are usually controlled with a thermostat linked to a time switch. Weather compensated systems are also suitable as they enable a lower level of heat to be given from the floor during 'off' periods: Thus preventing the floor from cooling completely and maintaining an even temperature.

Could it affect pets?

No - they love it!

How long will it take to install for an average family home?

Underfloor is best installed in new builds but can be retrofitted to existing buildings. There are various methods of achieving this and installation time will depend on the method most suitable for the particular dwelling.

How hot will the floor be?

The floor will normally run only a few degrees above the room temperature. Therefore floors are pleasantly warm but not hot.

What boilers are suitable to work with underfloor heating?

Any boiler will work successfully with underfloor heating and modern condensing boilers are particularly suitable as the required water temperature is low resulting in the boiler running at its most efficient. Underfloor heating is also ideal for heat pump systems but the use of the heat pump must be considered in the design of the underfloor system.

Do I have to maintain it?

No maintenance is required. The pipework is normally encased in the screed and is therefore protected. Continuous loops of pipes are always used and therefore there are no joints and potential sources of leaks in the floor.

Underfloor heating installation

Any floor finish can be incorporated, tiles, wood or carpet, and systems can be installed upstairs or down. The photos show the pipe work prior to concrete pouring or floor screeding for a solid floor.

As you can see below, the heating pipe work can go in at a very early stage.

Underfloor heating pipework going in at early stage of build

Alternatively, pipes are laid prior to finish floor screed, and a typical method is shown below.

Pipe work laid to finished floor screed

Various other methods are used for suspended floors, floating floors etc. The photo below shows pipes in an upstairs suspended floor designed to be heated with a heat pump . A weak sand/cement mix is poured between the joists to encase the pipework and spread the heat.

Other methods for different floors