Underfloor heating systems are particularly efficient because they heat entirely by radiation.
Most heating systems deliver the majority of their heat through convection – radiators and central heating systems included. Cold air circulating through the room heats up as it passes through the radiator. This hot air rises to the top of the room until it cools, sinks, and passes through the radiator again. This cycle keeps the air in the room warm so that it can transfer its heat to the room’s occupants. This system is fairly effective but not very efficient: plenty of heat is lost as it transfers from radiator to air to room occupant, and warm air can easily escape through draughts and opened doors. Because hot air rises, the ceiling will always warm up before the lower areas of the room – not very useful!
Radiation, meanwhile, cuts out the middleman by heating people directly. Underfloor heating systems warm up the floor, which radiates heat upwards, warming the room from the ground upwards. Not only is this more efficient – you’ll also notice the heat much faster because it heats living levels before heating the ceiling, unlike radiators.
Underfloor heating systems are also much more controllable than central heating systems, which allows you to save power and money by only heating the rooms which will be in use. Each room in an underfloor heating system has its own thermostat, unlike a central heating system which is limited by a single, central thermostat, so you can program your heating room by room.
Health & Safety
Another benefit to having your heating system hidden under the floor is that it cannot gather dust. Central heating radiators are often guilty of exacerbating allergies as the dust which collects inside them is transported around the room on the heated air. Underfloor heating does not do this, making it the ideal heating system for allergy suffers.
There are also safety benefits to having a concealed heating system that doesn’t require hot metal boxes. Underfloor heating is popular with families who have young children because it removes the risk of injury from falling against or running into central heating radiators. For this reason, underfloor heating is also a popular choice in homes for elderly or disabled people.