Published on January 14th, 2012 | by Guest Contributor

How Efficient is Radiant (Underfloor) Heating System?

Many specialists attest the fact that underfloor heating is better than any other heating alternatives that we can find these days. The reason for this is that this type of heating ensures high quality indoor air and great thermal comfort while saving energy. However, besides these basic aspects that relate to underfloor heating, there are a few more things that you should definitely consider.

Discover a New World of Floor Coverings

As you might already know, any material which is laid over a floor has specific insulating properties. These properties can reduce or increase the natural air flow between the floor structure and room. Thus, by simply choosing particular materials, the homeowners can get some great advantages. In case that you also intend to choose underfloor heating, you should know that the best materials which guarantee great heat conductivity are the tiles, vinyl, laminates, hardwood and carpet, also known as “cold” floor coverings. The truth is that by simply switching to underfloor heating, you can turn these traditional “cold” floor coverings into warm options.

Know the Do’s and Don’ts of Underfloor Heating

We are starting this section with a very important “don’t.” Thus, it is essential to know that the specialists do not recommend homeowners to use any cork tiles or softwood flooring to cover floor heating systems. Additionally, you have to make sure that you do not lay the final floor covering over humid floor structure even if you install underfloor heating. Under normal circumstances, the concrete takes a few months to get completely dry. And even after it becomes dry, you should still use the underfloor heating system at low temperatures, which must not exceed 30ºC. By respecting this advice, you have great chances to remove any remaining moisture from the floor structure.

Another important thing that you should know is that the thermal resistance comes measured in tog. Bear in mind that a high tog value always delivers a high insulation effect. This thing indirectly means that if you wish to fully benefit from underfloor heating, you have to choose a low tog value for your floor covering. Another important “do” is to make sure that you always follow the manufacturers’ floor covering installation notes. This is because the installation mainly depends on the type of floor covering that you intend to choose.

Types of Underfloor Heating Systems

These days, you can find two main types of underfloor heating systems: the hydronic and electric systems. The first category requires skilled designers and plumbers who are already familiar with fluid temperatures and pressures, controls, circulators and boilers. Based on the knowledge and experience of these professionals, you can simplify and make more efficient any underfloor heating system. Additionally you should know that this system uses a mix of water with anti-freeze liquid like propylene glycol. The hydronic system can utilize different sources of energy, such as oil, coal, natural gas, solar, electricity, biomass, wood, and bio-fuels.

The electric underfloor heating system is mainly used as carpet heater, laminate floor heater, tile heater, and others. Compared to the aforementioned system, the electric one is much easier to install and even more important, it comes with fewer components. This thing indirectly means that it is very easy to maintain.

Efficiency Indices

It is important to know that the underfloor heating delivers a truly high thermal comfort quality. Moreover, this system can improve the air quality much more than other heating alternatives. The thermal comfort is much enhanced especially because the system provides constant heat through the entire floor surface. This thing cannot be achieved with the help of other heating sources. Additionally, this system is able to improve the air quality especially because it has a better control over humidity, which represents the main cause of bacteria accumulation. Therefore, the spaces which come along with underfloor heating are usually free from mold, viruses, dust mites and other harmful agents.


No one can deny the fact that the underfloor heating systems are truly efficient. However, you should bear in mind that the system efficiency is usually affected by the covering options. For instance, tiles present a higher level of conductance than hardwood or carpeting. Thus, if you do not know too many things about the absorptivity, reflectivity, and emissivity of the underfloor heating systems and floor coverings, the best thing to do is to hire a professional who can help you to get the most efficient floor heating system and covering for your living space.

This guest post is written by David Veibl, a writer for Rayotec, one of the UK’s leading distributors of warm water underfloor heating system.

[Floor coils and Tile Flooring images by Shutterstock]

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