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The Benefits of Underfloor Heating

Aug 17, 2007
While many people think that underfloor heating is modern technology in fact the basic principles go back thousands of years. It was the Romans that harnessed the science of heated air so that they could provide heat to their Villas and Bathhouses. The Romans enjoyed their luxury and as their empire stretched into Countries with more cooler climates in Europe they needed to ensure that a welcoming heated environment was waiting for their legions after a long days march.

They were quick to understand that warm heat rises so the best place for it to be circulated from was from under the floor. With the aid of a real fire stoking up the heat the warm air was circulated around a labyrinth of vents so that the heating was distributed evenly.

The very same principles are used today but instead of a real fire creating the main source of heat we have fuel efficient boilers. Where the vents provided the distribution modern technology provides the option of a network of piping or heated elements. Todays systems are state-of-the-art thermostatically controlled so you can be sure you have the exact living temperature that suits you evenly spread throughout the room.

There are two types of underfloor heating, wet and dry. Wet is the most common and just means that the heat is distributed along a network of multi-layered pipes that loop backwards and forwards in a circuit across the room. These pipes are connected to a manifold and from there to the boiler. As the cooler used water comes back into the boiler it is reheated and circulated again by a pump. Leaks are very rare and this is because the actual pipework under the floor has no joints, it is just a continuous length of pipe that us placed in continuous u-turns. The only joints are above ground where they connect to the manifold.

The other type of underfloor heating system is the dry and this uses heated elements inside insulated modern materials to provide the heat. The element is energized and de-energized as it receives room temperature feedback from the thermostat sensors.

Though the cost of installation is higher than the average central heating system is much cheaper to run so the investment can have very quick returns. This is because the heat produced is just above room temperature. Old fashioned radiators always had to be used very high so the heat had a chance to be distributed in colder areas of a room.

Many people are concerned about having to remove the tiled floor and the mess and inconvenience that this may cause. The facts are that the old tiles can remain where they are and grooves inserted into the tiles for the pipework to sit into. Once the pipes have been laid you can retile over the pipes by applying a thick layer of adhesive. The old tiles provide the perfect foundation so that the new tiles can sit level without much manipulation.

The benefits of underfloor heating are numerous. The main advantage is the quality of heating that the room receives. It is an even heat that is completely controlled by thermostats so you have the perfect temperature. The heat is dispersed though the floor so that you get the maximum benefits unlike wall mounted heaters and radiators that dispersed heat 12-inches above the floor. The water temperature is normally between 45 and 65 degrees which is much lower than the standard central heating radiator. This temperature will ensure that the floor heat would be between 25 and 29 degrees.

Underfloor heating also creates more space as the system is invisible under the floor. They are also better for health reasons and child safety. Dust mites eagerly congregate in out of the way places such as old ugly wall heaters and radiators and this used to effect people with allergies and asthmatic conditions. Many children unfortunately used to scold and burn themselves on piping hot radiators and heaters and this meant that parents had to box them in for protection. This had a negative effect on the heating as much of the warm air struggled to escape the boxed in cover. Underfloor heating provides optimum health benefits for people with allergies, asthma and excellent safety care for children.

Underfloor heating also runs quieter than the conventional central heating systems. It is also worth considering the value that underfloor heating can have on your property. It has always been a great selling point because people will always consider it state-of-the-art and not something that would see in every home.

Underfloor heating has very few negatives but numerous positives. If the initial investment was a problem then why not consider fitting it yourself. You only need very basic do-it-yourself skills so it is worth considering. With so many advantages over conventional heating systems I think you will find that underfloor heating will become more common as more and more people come attuned to the benefits.
About the Author
Mark Fynn writes many articles about modern technology and you can find out more information about underfloor heating at http://www.floorenergy.com
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