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The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Underfloor Heating

Mar 4, 2008
There is nothing like feeling the warmth from your feet when stepping out with bare feet on a hot summer's day. Even better is the feeling of warm grainy sand in between your toes just before you lay you beach mat down to sunbathe. This warm feeling on your feet is probably more appreciated during the cold winter months whereby it is near impossible to walk around bare feet even in the house without you feet turning blue and numb!

Even houses that have been carpeted still have a cold draft rising causing an uncomfortable cold feet issue. However, some houses have built in underfloor heating to alleviate this problem, making it possible to walk on concrete slab tiled floors without the prickly cold air rushing up legs.

The difference between underfloor heating and normal wall mounted radiator heating is that the former works from circulating heat from the floor upwards, whereas the latter works from radiating heat from the ceiling downwards. Both are just as affective, however, heating from the floor upwards can be faster and cost effective.

There are different types of underfloor heating available, much like normal radiators they can come water based or electric. They normally work from using radiant heat for indoor use rather than convection heating which radiators use. The advantages of this kind of heating is that the lower part of your room and body are kept warm, with a natural feeling of warmth, rather than the top half feeling warm often causing discomfort for your head.

Radiators have more wasted heat escaping from the ceiling, whereas heating from underneath the floor rises loses around two degrees Celsius of heat from 2 metres above the floor, providing a more natural feeling of warmth. Furthermore, people suffering from allergies and asthma, can benefit from this heating as it reduces the risk of airborne dust and dust mites being circulated around the room.

Water used for floor heating usually lower in temperature, than they are in normal radiators. This is due to the controlled amount of heated water used from the main boiler distributed and mixed in the pipes, into different zones (areas of which the floor heating is situated). Most conventional boilers can be used for floor heating; however, in some cases the heating system may need to install a higher rated pump depending on the amount of back pressure, which often is greater than a conventional radiator central heating pressure.

Generally underfloor heating are energy efficient, as there is a less likelihood of heat leakage and heat escaping from the ceiling. In addition, each zone heated can be controlled independently save you money and energy. The temperature is usually only slightly above the thermostat temperature, owing to the difference between the temperature outside and inside, therefore reducing air infiltration (measurement of outside air into a building).

The drawback to this heating system is that not all piping can be installed on all floor types, such as wooden flooring. There are specific designs and devices, which depending upon the flooring can make a difference of the installation process - this can incur extra cost for added accessories. Furthermore, some heating systems have a relatively slow response time, depending upon the type of flooring. Wooden flooring can take between 30 minutes to an hour, whereas concrete flooring can take up to several hours to heat up.

With this in mind, installing this heating system can also be a problem for things not mounted onto the floor such as bedroom cupboards - this can cause 'sweat' build up, however, this is no problems for kitchen cupboards that are mounted onto the floor.
About the Author
Anna Stenning understands the importance of energy efficiency, particularly when it comes to radiator and underfloor heating systems. For more on floor heating systems click on http://www.floorheatingonline.com/
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