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What is underfloor heating and how does it work?

what is underfloor heating

Underfloor heating is a smart way to heat your home by using a hidden system under the floor instead of big radiators. This system keeps your rooms warm and comfortable. We’ll explain how underfloor heating works, the different types available, why it’s better and more efficient than old radiators, and what it typically costs.


Types of Underfloor Heating

Discover the different types of underfloor heating systems and how each one can provide efficient and comfortable warmth for your home.

What is an under-floor heating system?

Underfloor heating saves energy—about 40% more than radiators. Unlike small radiators that need to get really hot to warm up a room, underfloor heating covers the whole floor, so it doesn’t need to be super warm. This can really cut down on your energy bills over time.

Setting up underfloor heating can cost a bit at first, depending on what type you choose and how big your space is. But because it’s so energy efficient, it’ll save you a lot of money in the long run.

And guess what? It’s not just good for your wallet; it can also increase the value of your home if you ever decide to sell. Plus, it’s safer for kids since there aren’t any hot radiators to accidentally touch, and it warms up your room evenly without any cold spots.

Installing underfloor heating might take a couple of days, especially if you need to prepare the floor. The “wet” system, which uses pipes, can be trickier to install than the “dry” system, so keep that in mind when choosing which one to go for.

Electric underfloor heating

Electric underfloor heating systems, also called ‘dry’ systems, use electric mats, sheets, or wires placed under your flooring to heat your rooms. There are three main types: matting for large, regular-shaped rooms with stone or tile floors, foil mats for laminate floors, and loose wire systems for oddly shaped rooms. These systems are ideal for small spaces like en suites, where ‘wet’ systems are harder to install.

Water underfloor heating

A water underfloor heating system, or ‘wet’ system, connects to your central heating and uses pipes under the floor to circulate warm water. This system works well with different types of flooring and subflooring. Though it costs more to install, it’s cheaper to run and helps lower heating bills compared to ‘dry’ systems.

Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating Systems

Radiant floor heating systems use under-floor tubes to distribute heat. Warm water flows through these tubes, emitting heat that rises and creates consistent warmth throughout the space. This type of heating is exceptionally comfortable as it starts from the floor, naturally rising to keep the entire room cozy.

How does an electric underfloor heating system work?

Electric heating sheets or wires are installed under your floor and the underfloor heating controls are mostly powered by a thermostat, which a qualified electrician must install. This type of heating is easy and inexpensive to install, though it can be more costly to run than water systems. It can also be used for upstairs rooms.

How does a water underfloor heating system work?

This type of underfloor heating connects to your central heating system, with a heat pump or boiler warming the water that flows through pipes under the floor. The floor is insulated to keep the heat from escaping. Though harder to install than electric systems, it’s cheaper to run, helping to balance out the installation cost.

What type of flooring is best used with an underfloor heating system?

You can use any floor finish with an underfloor heating system, but materials like tile and stone work best because they conduct heat well and retain warmth, making them energy-efficient. Some wood floors also conduct heat well, especially if they are thin and dense, but check with the manufacturer to ensure they won’t change due to moisture from the heating.

It’s important to choose the right wood thickness to avoid blocking the heat. Carpets can be used, but they should be low tog with a thermal resistance of 1.5 or less to ensure good heat output, otherwise, you may need more pipes, which can increase costs.

Are underfloor heating systems better than radiators?

Is underfloor heating better than radiators? If you switch to underfloor heating, it hides away beneath your floors, leaving more space on your walls compared to bulky radiators. This can give you more options for arranging furniture. Additionally, underfloor heating lessens the possibility of hot radiators burning children. Instead of relying on radiators to warm up the room, underfloor heating spreads warmth evenly across the floor.

This means cozy floors and comfortable room temperatures without any chilly spots. Plus, it’s energy-efficient since it requires less heat to achieve the same warmth. Underfloor systems operate at lower temperatures than radiators. Installing underfloor heating is straightforward, especially if you opt for the electric system, which you might even be able to do yourself. It works well with all types of flooring, making it a popular choice for home renovations.

Keep in mind that it takes a bit of time for underfloor heating to heat up, so using timers can help ensure your room is warm when you need it. For more information and ideas about underfloor heating, check out resources online.

Draw Up Your Underfloor Heating Diagram and Discover Efficient Heating

Ready to upgrade your home heating system? Discover the efficient and cozy warmth of underfloor heating, which not only saves energy but also provides a safer and more spacious alternative to traditional radiators. Whether you opt for the electric or water system, underfloor heating offers even heat distribution, reduced energy bills, and increased property value. With various types to choose from and compatibility with different flooring materials, underfloor heating is a smart investment for any home.


  • Hailey Wilkinson

    Hailey is an accomplished writer with eight years of experience in top tech magazines, specializing in all things smart and innovative. As a tech aficionado, she is always up to date with the latest gadgets and appliances. When she's not immersed in the digital world, you can find her collecting sneakers or venturing into the great outdoors. Hailey is a versatile individual with a passion for technology, fashion, and the beauty of nature.