Underfloor Heating - heat from the floor upwards
Underfloor Heating distributes radiant heat from a single heat source within a building, as compared to the alternative radiators which deliver heat through convection causing air movement and hot ceilings. Underfloor heating can deliver an additional level of comfort and running cost efficiency due to the singular heat source being a radiant emitter.
For millennia, humans have evolved with radiant heat sources such as the sun and fire, making our ideal for thermal comfort the characteristics of radiant heating; warm surfaces, cool air and little air movement.
Water is heated by a traditional boiler or renewable heat source such as a heat pump or biomass boiler and pumped around under the surface of the floor through a series of pipes connected to a central manifold. From here the heat is transferred from the underfloor heating pipes into the room via the floor.
Underfloor Heating Benefits
- High Comfort Factor - Generally speaking, if our feet are warm we feel warm. Underfloor heating delivers heat where it is best utilised; in the first one to one and half meters above the floor. This is different to radiators where heat rises up the wall and reaches the ceiling before being pushed down into the room by convection.
- Helps Reduce Running Costs - Underfloor heating pipes transfer heat through the floor surface which is a large area compared to the surface area of a couple of radiators. This means that to achieve the same room temperature, a lower hot water (flow) temperature can be circulated. This is particularly beneficial when integrated with a heat pump which runs more efficiently the lower the flow temperature it needs to produce and this has a knock-on benefit in terms of running costs.
- Clean, Uncluttered Interiors - With underfloor heating, all pipes are hidden from sight and with no radiators on the walls a clean and uncluttered impression is created. Room can also be furnished without the restriction of working around radiators.
The discussion surrounding radiant and convection heating in terms of health benefits are discussed by architect Chris Morgan, in his Healthy Heating article in 2006 publication 'Building for a Future, Vol. 16. No.2'
Underfloor heating can be installed in various types of floor construction, typically pipe in screed, however other methods are available e.g. pipe in plate. The floor construction and floor coverings will ultimately affect the efficiency of the system with the pipe in screed and a tile finish being one of the most efficient combinations. Bear in mind that thick carpets and divan beds etc. inhibit the transfer of heat from the floor into the room and are not a good combination with underfloor heating.
Control of the flow temperature and flow rate through the underfloor heating manifolds and pipes will dictate the room temperature. Control can be managed by the heat source like a heat pump, for example, or by room stats controlling the flow of heat to each room /zone from the manifold system.
Underfloor heating is now the system of choice in new homes and can also be retrofitted providing that the level of insulation in the building means that the desired room temperature will be achieved. Ecoliving works this out as part of the system design.
You will enjoy lower running costs if you choose underfloor heating integrated with your low temperature heating source like a ground or air source heat pump. As an integral part of the system, you will also benefit from the lower rate of VAT that is applied to microgeneration systems if you purchase your underfloor heating as part of the package.
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The Ecoliving Approach
Over the years we have experienced many customers' frustration when they source underfloor heating from a third party and then discover that the design, installation or controls are inappropriate or incompatible with their heat pump. A heating system is only as effective as the distribution system designed to distribute the heat throughout the property. This is why Ecoliving realised that providing customers with an integrated design, supply and installation service that incorporates underfloor heating was important. Customers now have confidence that Ecoliving's single-source service means a well-designed, integrated system that takes into account flow temperatures from the heat source, appropriate controls and optimised system efficiency.
Ecoliving sources its underfloor heating components direct from the manufacturers. Our design team have been working with underfloor heating for many years and produce designs, including detailed drawings, that reflect that wealth of experience and integration with all heating types, from heat pumps and biomass boilers to gas boilers.
To discuss the most suitable system for your project, domestic or commercial, call us on 0845 301 3121.