How Does Under The Floor Heating Work?
in Hydronic Heating by Michael Eagleton

As the technology is still relatively new here in Australia, many of us are often misinformed when it comes to under the floor heating. With uncertainties surrounding how such systems work, it is no surprise that homeowners are resistant to make the switch without getting their facts straight. In this article, we have taken a closer look at how this heating works as well as a few other facts and titbits of information that you need to know.

So, how does it work?

The clever thing about these systems is that they essentially turn your floor into a large and cosy radiator. Once the temperature of the floor rises above the ambient temperature of the air, the heat is spread evenly across the surface and starts to radiate upwards into the room. As the floor is much larger than a conventional radiator, it won’t need to be heated to the same high temperature in order to provide you with sufficient warmth.

There are two types of under the floor heating to choose from – hydronic and electric. Although it’s a completely personal choice, there are some things to be aware of.

Hydronic systems feature hot water, which is fed through pipes laid in the sub floor of the home. The water is heated by a boiler and continuously circulates throughout the pipe network, returning to the boiler when it needs to be reheated. Electric systems feature wires or matting that are either set in concrete screed or installed underneath your floors. Both systems feature a thermostat that allows you complete control over the temperature.

Is it more efficient?

The operating costs for this heating will depend on the fuel that you use, the cost of that fuel and the system’s overall efficiency (especially the quality of the boiler and the level of insulation you have). Although electric systems are generally cheaper to install, the rising costs of electricity can mean that they’re more expensive to run in the long-term. As such, they’re better suited to smaller areas rather than heating the whole house.

Does the floor covering matter?

Whilst, generally speaking, the answer is no, it is important to note that some floor coverings conduct heat better than others. Natural stone and ceramic tiles are a fantastic choice, as they are both fantastic heat conductors. PVC tiles or linoleum can also work well, just ensure that the system is switched off for at least 48 hours prior to and after installation. Timber and carpet can also be used, but extra considerations will need to be taken.

We hope that the information provided above has given you a much better idea of how under the floor heating works, as well as whether it’s going to be the best choice for your home or not. It is important to assess each project on a case-by-case basis, so ensure that you speak with an expert prior to reaching a final decision. When it comes to new builds and whole house heating, we recommend a hydronic system – contact us to learn more.