Underfloor Heating and Fireplaces

Introduction

Underfloor heating systems, nowadays, are essentially one of two types, “wet”, warm water systems or “dry”, electrical systems. Wet systems feature a system of pipe work, buried in screed or running beneath the surface of the floor, through which warm water flows, imparting heat to the floor surface as it does so. Dry systems operate on the same basic principle, although the resistance of a wire, in the form of a heating cable, or mat, to electrical current is used to create the heating effect. In either case, the heat imparted to the floor is released, by convection and radiation, to the room above across the entire surface area, so underfloor heating systems can operate at lower temperatures than traditional radiator systems.

Electric Underfloor Heating Features, Benefits & Considerations

Electric underfloor heating is, of course, completely hidden beneath the surface of the floor, which can open up new possibilities with regard to the placement of furniture, interior design, etc.. Aside from being intrusive and unsightly, conventional radiator systems also tend to heat the air at the edges of a room first, which rises to heat the space immediately below the ceiling before falling into the body of the room. In the case of underfloor heating, however, optimal positioning beneath the floor surface allows thermal energy, or heat, to be slowly absorbed by other surfaces in the room above, which, in turn, become secondary thermal emitters.

Thus, not only can the air temperature be maintained at a lower temperature – up to 2°C lower, in fact – than in a room heated by radiators, but the temperature is even throughout the room and there are no draughts. Furthermore, the transmission of heat from the floor is up to 15% more efficient than that from radiators, reducing energy consumption and your overall effect on the environment.

In the days of yesteryear, a fireplace may well have provided the primary source of heat in a home. Nowadays, with the advent of modern heating systems and underfloor heating, in particular, the fireplace has become more of an architectural focal point than a source of heat, in many cases. There is no reason, however, why a fireplace, functional or otherwise, cannot be combined with electrical underfloor heating. Indeed, underfloor heating, rather than radiators, may allow placement of a fireplace in the first place and, if the fireplace is functional, the two systems can be used individually, or together, depending on your heating needs.

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