How Underfloor Heating and Cooling Works

Underfloor heating works by circulating warm water through a series of continuous loops that are fitted underneath your floor creating a large radiant surface that heats your room from the floor upwards. This radiant form of heating is much more comfortable than the convected heat provided by radiators which draws cold air across the floor before heating it and then convects the warm air upwards towards the ceiling.

Comparing underfloor heating with radiators

Underfloor cooling works in very much the same way as underfloor heating except the energy transfer is reversed. Where underfloor heating radiates thermal energy from the floor surface into the air space, underfloor cooling absorbs radiant energy from the warm air in the room as it passes over the cooler floor surface. This reduces the overall temperature in the room as the cool floor continually absorbs warm air from the room.

Comparing underfloor cooling with conventional air conditioning


Life expectancy: Typical radiators are expected to be replaced every 10 - 15 years. UFH is expected to outlive the life of the building with a 75 year warranty on the pipework.

Running costs: UFH is proved to be between 15 - 40 % cheaper to run.

Maintenance: UFH requires very little maintenance. Radiators require checking once a year for air in the system/bleeding and sometimes more invasive inhibitor dosing is needed.

Programme: We carried out a study with Skanska on 100 apartments to compare the installation duration between UFH and Radiators: UFH is 15% quicker to install. A project could be a month ahead of schedule if UFH is used on a 200 apartment development instead of radiators.

Interior Design: With UFH being concealed there is freedom of design not only to configure furniture but to more easily accommodate full height windows, increasing natural light into the building.

Heat Source: As UFH covers a greater surface area than radiators it can therefore run at a lower temperatures (50*C rather than 80*C), which makes integration with renewable energy sources feasible and efficient.

Safety: There are no hot surfaces or hard edges with UFH, providing a safe environment for young children and the vulnerable.

Health Benefits: In the UK each day on average 1 in 8 people in the UK are currently being treated for asthma. Underfloor heating is one of the many ways helping to reduce these figures. UFH uses radiant heat, unlike radiators or AC (convection heat), this reduces the movement of dust (and dust mites!) making it a far more comfortable environment for asthma suffers. It also leads to cleaner homes!

Sale of Dwelling: UFH has become more expected in homes worth over £300k and is considered a valuable feature, thus estate agents will normally list it on the highlights of the particulars.

“All new build homes (£300k+) have UFH as standard now, even refurbished homes will have it in the very least in the wetrooms.” Statons

‘’UFH is seen as an expected technology, so any property without it will stay on the market longer.’’ Strutt & Parker

“Buyers do understand most benefits to UFH but miss that it also has a safety benefit, for buyers with young children or vulnerable persons living with them the lack of hot surfaces and hard edges is a huge peace of mind.” Jackson-Stops & Staff

“It is on the must have list for buyers, with a raised eyebrow if the property doesn’t have it!’’ Foxtons

Floor Finishes: Tiles and stone can get very cold. Radiators only heat upwards from where they are installed so the floor is cold and uncomfortable. With underfloor heating the whole floor essentially becomes one big radiator meaning with the floor finish is toasty warm. The Carpet Foundation carried out research with the Underfloor Heating Manufacturers Association and proved conclusively that carpet can be used over underfloor heating without impairing the performance of the system. This showed that a carpet/underlay with a combined thermal resistance of less than 2.5 togs allows underfloor systems to operate efficiently.

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