How Does Underfloor Heating Work?

Underfloor heating offers an alternative to the traditional method of heating your home using a network of radiators. Underfloor heating works by utilising radiant heat which is a much more efficient way to heat a room or space. Confusingly, radiators do not use radiant heat, but instead, they work using convection heat, we will discuss the difference between these later on. Underfloor heating can be split into two main categories, ‘dry’ underfloor heating and ‘wet’ underfloor heating. A dry system is powered by a series of electric coils, usually integrated into mats, these use electricity to generate heat to warm your room or space. A ‘wet’ system uses hot water and a series of pipes to generate the heat. This hot water can either come from your existing boiler or alternatively, a ground source heat pump can be used. For more information about each of these systems check out our article titled which underfloor heating is best, for the rest of this article we will focus purely on warm water underfloor heating systems.

how does underfloor heating work

What is radiant heat, and why is it better than convection heat?

Radiators are a common sight in most homes at the moment, and despite their name, they warm rooms using convection heat. The heat is generated by the radiator which then circulates through the room, rising to the top and settling there. This means that often the warmest spot in a room is the ceiling, a waste of energy. Radiant heat and underfloor heating work in a very different manner. The coil of pipes effectively turns the entire surface area of the floor into one big heater. This then heats all of the objects in the house, from the ground up. By working from the floor first you feel the benefit of the heat much quicker, the ceiling is heated last. Underfloor heating systems also work at a lower temperature than a radiator based system meaning that less energy is required to get the same room to the same temperature, saving you money on your heating bills.

radiant heating provided by underfloor heating

Temperature control with smart thermostats and underfloor heating

Due to the way underfloor heating works a lot of control and flexibility is built into the system. Zone valves allow you to split your system into separate rooms or zones, each of which you can control independently. By doing this you can ensure that you are only ever paying to heat rooms that are in use, further reducing your energy bills. To really take advantage of the way underfloor heating works you can install a smart thermostat, these will allow you to control each zone of your system from your smartphone. By combining the thermostats fine level of control, and your phones GPS system you can set up a Geo-Fence for your system. This means that while you are away from the property you will not be spending money heating an empty home, but more importantly, it means that as soon as you enter the pre-determined geo-fence again the heating system will fire up ensuring that you never have to return to a cold home. For more information on any of our products either give us a call on 01246 916451 or check out our products in our online store