How Does Underfloor Heating Work?

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You may be intrigued by installing an underfloor heating system in your home. Such an efficient and cost-effective system can be relatively simple to install and require little maintenance.

In this guide, we will look at what underfloor heating is, how it works, how easy the installation is, and what the advantages and disadvantages are.

What Is Underfloor Heating?

An underfloor heating system, also known as UFH, consists of plastic pipes that are embedded into either a room’s floor or subfloor. These pipes evenly distribute heat through hot water across the room.

The use of plastic (pert/al/pert) pipes is crucial as they prove cost-effective compared to copper which can degrade over time causing leaks. You can also expect a 50-year warranty and a 300-year lifespan with UFH.

How UFH Works

While radiators use convection currents to heat the wall then the ceiling before getting to the surrounding air, you can still suffer from cold feet. UFH circulates warm water through the plastic pipes to effectively heat up the floor first and allow for a warm living area with a cool ceiling.

The water’s temperature can be between 35 and 55°C which is regulated by a mixing valve at the manifold. Imagine it working like your shower by combining a hot and cold supply to create the desired temperature, at which point the heating system turns off.

How Easy Can It Be Installed?

Very easily, especially if you install a retrofit system. More information can be found from our ‘How To Install Underfloor Heating’ guide. Before you do install UFH, it is crucial that you consult a professional to ensure that the heating system is ideal for your home.

The Different Types Of UFH

Though there are different types of UFH, each one works by circulating heated water through the plastic pipes or via a heated electric mat underneath the floor.

Due to the increased running costs, an electric system is only advisable to heat small areas. These can include your bathroom as a prime example though the larger the space, the more expensive it proves to heat using this type of UFH. By comparison, a water-based system is cheaper to run and even more environmentally friendly by using substantially less energy.

Advantages of Using UFH

Several advantages come from using UFH. These can include how much they can save you money, how quickly they can heat up a room, and how little maintenance they require.


A leading plus point for UFH is how energy-efficient they prove which should be seen in a reduction of your fuel bills. You can still keep your boiler yet compared to using radiators, the water-based system can effectively zone the heating for efficient, focused heating.

Quick Heat

You may be pleasantly surprised at how quickly an underfloor heating system, such as Wundatherm, can heat up a room. It may take just 30 minutes for entire rooms to be heated up via the piping network.

Lack of Cold Spots

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An even distribution of heat from the piping system should mean the entire room feels consistently warm. While radiators can start to heat the wall then the ceiling, UFH begins from the floor keeping your feet warm wherever you decide to go.

Constant Warmth

By circulating heated water throughout the room, the entire room is kept warm and the warmth is easier to retain. Do not worry too much about leaving the door open, though it is advised for even more savings on your fuel costs.


An even distribution of heat removes that cold shock when walking barefoot. More warmth in all the right places for more comfortable living.

Easy To Maintain

That heat should also be easier to maintain as only the manifold should require regular maintenance. Just a visual inspection is necessary and if you do notice a weep you can easily locate the replacement part after contacting the supplier. Even if you accidentally drill a hole into one of the pipes a repair kit can quickly resolve the problem. There is even less cleaning as all the pipes are underneath your floor.

Aesthetic Appeal

Aside from taking up a large chunk of your wall space, radiators can prove to be an eyesore. With UFH, the pipes are underneath the floor creating an effective and discreet heating source.


Discretion is assured and so is safety as there are no exceedingly hot surfaces to singe your, or your children’s, skin. That can be a real issue with radiators yet without any pipes or valves, UFH can be a safe option too.


UFH is versatile enough to be installed in pretty much any room in your household. That includes the living spaces as well as the kitchen, bathroom, garage, and basement. Even your swimming pool and cinema room can be effectively heated too.


UFH is built to last and comes with a 50-year warranty on the pipes and boards. Simply take care of the manifold and pumpset then the UFH will keep you warm for decades.

Disadvantages of Using UFH

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As with any heating system, there are certain disadvantages to be aware of too.

Initial Costs

The initial cost of purchasing then installing UFH may be considerable yet it should be weighed up with the long-term energy efficiency. By contacting us, you can save even more money with our range of industry-leading products and guarantees.


The installation of UFH can seem to be a daunting task yet we can offer several factsheets and general advice on getting the job done. You can also hire a professional to talk you through all the steps to getting the right heating system for your home.

Limited Maintenance

Any heating system requires maintenance yet with UFH it is limited to just the manifold. If you are in any doubt then you can arrange a maintenance plan with your plumber who can check it while servicing your boiler.

Heat Loss

The main issue with UFH is how it may not be suitable for all homes, especially those that suffer considerable heat loss already. That can be partly remedied by double glazing, as well as cavity and loft insulation. Even after that, it may simply not be advisable to invest in UFH.

Final Thoughts

An underfloor heating system works by using a network of pipes under the flooring in your home. Unlike radiators that use convection currents to heat the wall then the ceiling, you can quickly enjoy a warm floor. The warmth is evenly distributed throughout the floor and the room for a versatile and durable heating system that requires little maintenance.

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