In historic times, underfloor heating was used by the Greeks in their bathing houses, and the Korean palaces were also heated underfloor. In modern day, underfloor heating developments have made it accessible to most homes and buildings.
Underfloor heating is when heating systems is placed under the floor or built into the floor, and then heated. This kind of heating not only warms the air above it, but also the entire area it touches, and this in turn increases the temperature in the entire space.
Underfloor heating can be applied throughout a building, or can be applied only in certain areas or rooms as required. It can also be installed in separate panels which will allow certain areas in the same room to be operated independently from each other. Radiant heating can be set on timers which can switch heating on and off during the course of the day and night. All kinds of underfloor heating is now easily accessible for installation in both old and new homes, as long as the existing support structures or joists are in place and can adequately support the installed system.
Three main categories of floor heating can be differentiated- water, electricity and air. Water heating is also called hydronic heating, and this is applied by a system of water pipes which are installed in or under the floor. Water is then heated and pumped through these pipes by a pump. The same principles work for air heating, while electric heating is where panels containing heating cables are installed and heated through electricity.
Before the heating is installed, it is necessary to ensure that a heating professional does an estimation of the heating needs of the building and all the relevant areas. This is crucial to design a system in a successful and energy efficient manner. Insulation is also important as the heating panels may heat up other fixtures which it shares spaces with. The type of heating also has to work with the flooring which is to be installed as some types of flooring is more heat conductive than others. For instance, slate retains heat very well but is slow to heat, while wood heats up fairly easily but loses heat fairly quickly.