Introduction to Underfloor Heating

Many people believe that underfloor heating is a new concept. Actually, the ancient Romans had a variation of underfloor heating that they used. The Romans used a system of ducts and flues to circulate warm air beneath the floors of buildings, this radiated heat to the rooms above the floor. This system relied on an open fire to heat the air; fortunately, modern systems have come a long way.

Most heating systems create several vertical temperature zones in your home because heat rises so they will create zones that vary from very hot and stuffy at the ceiling to cold on the floor.

Underfloor heating systems heat evenly, since the warm air is radiating upwards from the lowest point of the room, you will find that the room is more evenly heated from the floor to the ceiling. Radiant heat, the type produced by underfloor heating, does not cause dust or debris to be moved throughout the home. This can be very beneficial to those that suffer from allergies or breathing disorders.

There are two different types of system: There are “wet” systems that produce heat by using hot water, and there are “dry” systems that heat with electric coils. Wet systems are typically installed when a structure is first built. They can be added after construction but installation of these systems can be quite costly after construction. The reason for this is that a wet system requires a series of pipes to be laid out under the floor. During construction they will actually be installed as part of the floor, this is why they are typically installed during the construction phase of a building.

Dry systems that operate by electricity are much less expensive, easier to install, and can be installed in any building or home at any time. The only drawback is that they do not create as much heat as wet systems. Dry systems may not be a good choice for large commercial buildings. The dry system comes in variations that range from bare heating cables, woven mats, ribbon heating cables, or heating films. For most applications, the mats are the simplest to install and use, they are also usually less expensive.

Whichever type you choose to install they all operate on the same principle. All of the wires are interconnected and then connected to a thermostat. Some models will even have a timer to turn the heating coils on and off at certain intervals. These underfloor heating systems are plugged into a typical electrical outlet.

There are many benefits to underfloor heating. It is more efficient so it saves you money on utility costs. Your heating system is out of sight, there are no unsightly vents, registers, or ducts to ruin the decor of your home. They are maintenance free, dry systems are inexpensive and simple to install. If you are changing the flooring in your home anyway, then adding a dry underfloor heating system is simple. Most homeowners can do the job themselves.

Underfloor heating systems can be used under almost any type of flooring. They can be used under carpet, laminate, tile, linoleum, and most other types of floors.