Underfloor Heating - is it time you invested in warm feet?

Underfloor Heating - is it time you invested in warm feet?

We’ve all been there; getting up at an hour only suited for nightlife, reaching for those slippers and quickly popping them to your feet so that you can walk over the freezing floor, wrapping yourself warm when you go and make a cup of tea to wake you up and protect you from the cold. It’s like an every-morning routine.

But what if you didn’t need those slippers? What if you didn’t have to wrap up in layers just to face the dawn? What if, when you put your feet on the floor it would be warm and cosy and getting up would be just that little bit easier?

Underfloor heating used to be the stuff of legends, a luxury your average consumer could never afford. But in the current climate, is that still the case?

Many people have dreamed of underfloor heating but may not necessarily know exactly what it is or be aware of the current technology. In essence, with an underfloor heating system the floor itself becomes the heat emitter and the heating of the room is from the floor up, unlike radiators in a normal central heating system where the emitters are mounted on the wall and the room is, effectively, heated from the ceiling downwards.

Previously, electrical floor heating was widely used but was found to be inefficient and not cost-effective. It may have used cheap night time electricity via electrical cables installed in the floor, but the temperature was not easily controlled. This meant either too hot floors in the morning or too cold evenings, a real Goldilocks-dilemma.

Nowadays, underfloor heating has progressed significantly with the development of a 'wet' distribution system and can now be easily linked to renewable energy systems such as Heat Pumps. Imagine large radiators which are easily controlled and provide continual, efficient and comfortable heating.

But it’s not just about comfy feet. An average underfloor heating system costs anywhere between 15% – 40% less than a conventional radiator system to run, and it’s argued that underfloor heating provides a much more comfortable environment as the heat surrounds you leaving no cold spots unlike a radiator system where the heat rises leaving your ceiling the warmest part of the room.

However, one of the drawbacks is the relatively slow response time of underfloor heating, especially when embedded in a solid floor. A wooden floor can take up to an hour to warm up while concrete can take several hours - however the cooling time is also similarly lengthy.

Underfloor heating should not be fitted under floor mounted units, which is quite easy to arrange in a kitchen where the position of base units are fixed, but is not so realistic a prospect in areas where for example the position of cupboards are not fixed and may be changed. Underfloor heating beneath cupboards can cause the inside to 'sweat' and the effect of the heat may be detrimental to individual pieces of furniture. As ever, it’s best to consult a professional before embarking on a mission to get underfloor heating installed.

You may also be interested in:

Thermofoil installed in London development

AmbiClip underfloor heating system for residential development

Electric Underfloor Heating from Rayotec

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