Underfloor Heating – Low cost Radiant heating
Underfloor heating has a long history, and in some countries – Korea, for example – it has been the preferred method. The concept is relatively new for most people, though.
Underfloor heating depends more on radiant heating, which warms objects – including you! – than on convection heating, which warms the air around the objects, and which is typical of conventional radiator systems. The temperature in a radiant-heated room can be slightly lower than in a convection-heated room. There is less air circulation, which sounds bad but is actually good, because it also means less circulation of airborne particles – dust and other allergens.
So radiant heating systems such as underfloor heating are much to be preferred if anyone in the household suffers from allergies. Underfloor heating helps them in another way, too, because the “cold” stone and tile flooring materials which the system warms up emit few of the irritating volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which are common in modern buildings, and have a negative effect on everyone’s health.
Since underfloor heating reduces energy use and carbon dioxide emissions, it is also “greener” than other forms of heating, and is increasingly favored in new construction. Water-based underfloor heating can readily be combined with the popular new use of solar panels to heat all the water used in a building.
Another side benefit is the possible elimination of radiators (although underfloor and radiator systems can be combined), freeing up floor space and creating new design possibilities.
Because of the radiant properties that are its raison d’etre, an underfloor system might initially be perceived to heat a room more slowly than a radiator, which works crudely and quickly. However, this is easily addressed by the use of a control system.