underfloor heating


How does underfloor heating work?
Underfloor heating systems utilise radiant heat. This far infrared heating system heats objects in the room. This is opposed to traditional central heating systems, which heat the air.

What is radiant heat?

                                    How radiant heat works
Radiant heat is a unique transfer of energy that naturally searches out colder objects to warm. Radiant heating systems can be installed in the floor (underfloor heating) or ceiling and use this system to heat the room. 

Instead of heating the air, radiant floor heating systems heat the surface of objects or people in the room. These surfaces then gently warm the surrounding air creating a natural warmth with minimal temperature variation in different points in the room.

How efficient & clean are underfloor heating systems?
Traditional central heating systems work by heating water in the radiator. This then heats the air which creates air currents as warm air rises and cold air falls due to differences in their density. This creates a temperature differential in the room with the ceiling space being heated first. This can create a stuffy environment and can result in an uncomfortable feeling of “hot head / cold feet”.
Radiant heat is the most efficient form of heat distribution available. The objects in the room are heated first and they then gently warm the surrounding air. This means that the air temperatures can be lowered in the room whilst still maintaining comfort levels, resulting in a reduction in heating bills.

As the air does not circulate there are no draughts created. Dust is not circulated in the room which brings higher comfort levels, especially for allergy sufferers. There is more even vertical heat distribution throughout the room which is far closer to the ideal distribution. 

                                     How radiant heat compares

Would underfloor heating suit my home?

Underfloor heating systems can be installed under almost any surface. The systems are also completely invisible and quiet in operation. Conventional warm water radiators do not contribute to the aesthetics of a room and can reduce room space. Installing a radiant floor or ceiling heating system allows more flexibility in creating the perfect living environment.

Do I need insulation?

Insulation is recommended below all underfloor heating systems. It acts as a barrier to prevent downward heat loss into the subfloor. The heat-up time of the system is directly linked to the insulation below the system, as well as type of tile used and its thickness. The typical heat-up times are as follows:  

Underfloor Heating Heat Up Time
Timber sub-floor with 10mm Ecomax insulation 0.5 hours
Concrete sub-floor with 10mm Ecomax insulation  1 hour
Concrete Sub-floor with insulation below the concrete slab  2-5 hours
Un-insulated concrete 3-8+ hours

What does underfloor heating offer that traditional heating does not?
  • Luxury of a heated floor, especially in winter
  • Keeps wall space free from radiators
  • Low surface temperature (typically 27-30°C, compared to 65-80°C for a conventional radiator system)
  • Reduced temperature differences and reduced dust circulation.

What are typical running costs?

The running costs associated with underfloor heating can be related directly to the floor heat-up times.  Fitting a high quality thermal barrier, such as the Ecomax insulated tile backer board, will significantly reduce heat loss and costs.

For example: A room fitted with 10mm insulated tile backer board on top of an insulated concrete sub-floor, would cost approximately 5p* per square metre per day to run, if used for 7 hours a day. This is based on a cost of 10p per Kwh.

*Cost estimate given is an approximation only. Running costs vary depending on heat loses, Kwh price and total usage.

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