With an underfloor heating system, the floor becomes the heat emitter with the heating of the room from the floor up. Unlike radiators in a normal central heating system where the emitters are mounted on the wall the room is effectively heated from the ceiling down. The installation of both electric and water based underfloor heating systems are available, the practicalities of the installation are almost identical apart from obviously, that one uses electric heating cable while the other circulates heated water through the pipe.
Water-based UFH uses water heated to a lower temperature than conventional water central heating (typically 50°C rather than 60°C plus), which makes it ideal for use with high efficiency condensing boilers. The lower operating temperature also makes it more suitable for use with heat pumps or solar water heaters.
The water temperature to the heating pipe is controlled by mixing the water in the pipe with hot water from the boiler to achieve the required temperature. This is then passed to a manifold for distribution to the various zones. Normally an existing conventional boiler will suit UFH, however, it may be necessary to fit a higher rated pump as the back pressure may be greater than in a conventional radiator type central heating system.
Whichever system is used, the heat source is located under the floor and the area to be heated is separated into separate zones (normally one zone per room) and each zone is heated and controlled independently