How does underfloor heating work?

Amongst many services, AGL Heating and Plumbing (covering Warrington and surrounding areas) offers underfloor heating. Underfloor heating is already popular in Northern Europe, and is now becoming increasingly popular in the UK.

What is underfloor heating?

Underfloor heating is a form of central heating. It is a system that uses either water flowing in pipes, or electric resistance elements, to heat the floor. Respectively, these are also referred to as a ‘wet’ system, or a ‘dry’ system. They utilise the simple principle that heat rises; warmth from under the floor is radiated into rooms.

In wet systems pipework is laid in the floor- if the floor is solid- or under the floor- if the floor is suspended timber. As warm water passes through the pipework, heat saturates into the floor. The floor then heats the room- basically the floor becomes one big radiator!

Effectively it works as follows:

  • Room gets cold 
  • Room stat requires heat 
  • Control system lets hot water run down the pipe/s, by commanding actuator on manifold to open 
  • Room reaches the necessary temperature 
  • Room stat informs control system that no more heat is needed 
  • Control system instructs actuator head to close.

This is, obviously a very simplified account, and there are other functions involved, such as: boiler control, circulation, temperature regulation etc. However, it should give you the general idea on how the systems work.

In dry/ electric systems the same principle applies. The difference is that you use the electric current, which passes through a special cable that heats up, as the heat source instead of water from the pipes.

Will underfloor heating save energy and/or money?

There are different factors which affect the answer to this question. For example, it depends on: your boiler’s efficiency; your building’s insulation; and your heating needs. Underfloor heating is most effective for periods of continual residence, so buildings with many occupants are most likely to gain from its benefits.

Underfloor heating will not necessarily save you money. The Energy Saving Trust estimates that a water-based system will save approximately £20 a year, for the average household, using a condensing boiler. Plus giving the considerable installation costs, it is doubtful that you will save anything significant…

What is living with underfloor heating like?

As underfloor heating is not very responsive, you will have to wait longer to feel warm, after you have turned it on. Electric systems are more responsive, but they also cost more to run.

Underfloor heating also gives a more consistent temperature. It delivers an even warmth, heating the top and bottom of the room more than the middle. Radiators, on the other hand, send warm air through the room, but less heat typically reaches the bottom.

With underfloor heating, you may find there is more available space in your rooms, as there will be no radiators present. However, you must please note that many furniture items, like wardrobes or cupboards cannot sit above heat coils, as they can be damaged.

Are you living in Warrington, and interested in underfloor heating?

If you live in Warrington, or its surrounded areas, and would like any more information about underfloor heating, please contact us here. With over 20 years of experience in domestic, commercial, and district heating, we are always more than happy to help.