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Underfloor Heating

HEATING

Underfloor heating is now recognised as a most efficient and cost effective way of supplying heat to the home. Approximately 50% of Self-Build homes, along with a growing number of extension and conservatory projects opt for this system. Underfloor heating gently heats the floor by either warm water pipe or electric cable. It is already widely used in other countries, and is now increasingly being recognised in the UK as the most modern energy efficient option for space heating.

THE OBJECTIVES AND BENEFITS OF UFH

Heat is transferred from a warm area to a colder area in three ways:

  • Conduction
  • Convection
  • Natural radiation

Our bodies find natural radiation to be the most comfortable because this is how the sun heats us. Underfloor heating emulates this natural heating action of the sun. Energy emitted from the floor is absorbed by other surfaces in the room. These warm up and become secondary emitters. Compared with other forms of heating, the advantages are:

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  • All-round, comfortable warmth
  • Unhindered room layout; no wall-mounted radiators, for example
  • Improved energy efficiency; typically saving up to 25% on fuel bills
  • Floor only needs heating to 26-28C (about the same as hand temperature)
  • Requires water heated to 45-65C: significantly less than for other heating types
  • Healthier environment; less dust circulates in the air
  • Greater safety; very hot surfaces (most radiators, for example) are eliminated

By contrast, Radiators use room air to transfer heat, mostly by convection. This results in:

  • Hot air concentrated at ceiling level: cooler air - and often draughts - at floor level
  • Dust carried around the room in convection currents
  • Significant heat loss through windows, walls and ceilings
  • Water has to be heated to high temperatures: typically 70-80C
  • Higher energy loss from connecting pipes
  • Dry, re-heated air; causing a feeling of stuffiness