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13 June 2011 - Wet Under Floor Heating

Underfloor heating is not a new idea.

As far back as Roman times, underfloor heating was used as a way to centrally heat buildings. By passing hot air from a furnace through a labyrinth of small ducts beneath the floor, heat was imparted to the floor. The warm floor created a warm air convection, and in turn heated the living space. A very simple, yet effective principle providing a comfortable climate with even heat distribution.

Question: So, what is underfloor heating?

Underfloor heating is a method of warming a building by allowing the floor to act like a massive radiator.

These days, most underfloor heating systems are either warm water (wet) systems or electric (dry) systems.

For wet systems, pipes are buried in screed, or run underneath the floor surface. Wet underfloor heating systems operate by heat transferring from the water passing through the pipe directly into the floor. Because the whole area of the floor is warm, it heats the room more evenly.

Unlike radiators, underfloor heating systems do not need to run at high temperatures. Heat imparted to the floor is released across a large area rather than the relatively small and focussed area of a radiator. As such,  UFH systems do not need to operate at such high temperatures.

Typically, the temperature of the water in an underfloor heating system pipe is 45 – 65oC (compare this to approximately 80oC flow and surface temperature of a radiator system) warming the floor to a temperature of 25 – 28oC, which is comfortable to walk on.

 For Dry Systems, the principle is the same. The difference is that instead of imparting heat from water passing through a pipe, you use an electric heating element as the heat source.

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