The history and benefits of underfloor heating

The history of heating is a varied one.

From hypocausts and hearths to thermals and thermostats, we have been warming ourselves up since (almost!) the beginning of time.

With many advances in technology and regulations, heating a building is now safer and easier than ever. An increasingly sought-after solution is underfloor heating, especially in new-builds.

With a long history that dates back as far as the Neoglacial and Neolithic periods, it’s underfloor heating’s efficacy which has made it a firm favourite for both commercial and residential projects. Underfloor heating’s clean look, smart technology and energy efficiency makes it both an aesthetically and financially pleasing option for homeowners and contractors alike.

Here at Gaia, we have over 30 years’ experience in the underfloor heating industry. We’ve taken a look at the history of underfloor heating, its key benefits and how we can help you find the perfect system for your project.

The history of underfloor heating

The underfloor heating found in homes today has come a long way since its invention. Before our innovative, easy-to-use systems, our ancestors built their own complex heating structures to warm their homes.

The earliest use of underfloor heating was seen in what is now North Korea with ‘ondols’ which channelled heat from fires set under the floor. Perhaps more well-known is the hypocaust system, popularised by the Ancient Romans and Greeks. Their technology used rows of pillars laid out below the floor to distribute hot air created by a fire.

Both of these systems were adopted by many people across Europe and Asia. The mid-20th century saw water pipes from conventional heating systems used for the first time as wet underfloor heating systems. By the 1980s, underfloor heating systems had taken off in the UK.

Although clearly innovative, the systems used back then were certainly not as efficient as the systems we use today…

Key benefits of underfloor heating

There is one thing everyone knows when it comes to heating – heat rises!

Underfloor heating works on the principle that heating from the ground up will provide better warmth in a room compared to other systems, such as conventional radiators.

Radiators heat the air closest to them which can lead to cold spots. Underfloor heating is more efficient and consistent, distributing heat around the entire room to gently and directly warm the objects in the area – and keep your toes warm!

Also, while traditional radiators need to be heated to a high temperature, often about 70°C, underfloor heating only runs at around 35°C, therefore consuming less energy and keeping bills lower.

As an added bonus, underfloor heating saves space and allows for freedom of design. With no bulky radiators stealing space in a room and underfloor heating systems suitable for most floor types, it leaves more space to live. Plus, underfloor heating can increase the value of a property!

A comfortable form of heating for any property, underfloor heating provides a gentle warmth from below that gives a luxury feel. Whether you’re a home owner or contractor – whether your project is commercial or residential – Gaia can help you capitalise on the benefits of underfloor heating.

Types of underfloor heating systems

There are two main types of underfloor heating systems – wet (hydronic) and dry (electric).

Wet systems use water which is heated by a conventional boiler or renewable heat pump. The water is gently circulated through strong, flexible pipes embedded in the floor, evenly distributing heat from the ground up.

The pipes can be connected to your boiler, working in a similar way to traditional radiators.

Alternatively, they can be attached to a solar hydronic heating system, an air-source heat pump or a ground-source heat pump, using a manifold.

Dry systems use a series of electrical heating elements which sit within or beneath your floor. There are three different options for electric underfloor heating – electric cable systems, loose-fit wiring that is ideal for smaller spaces and heating mats which are rolled out for larger areas. This type of underfloor heating is quick and easy to install, making it a popular choice for new-builds.

Here at Gaia, we offer both types of underfloor heating systems and can advise you on which is best suited to your project.

Our range of electric underfloor heating includes the Gaiamat and Gaia Decoupling Membrane & Heating Cable System. We also supply and install the DEVIflex Heating Cables and DEVImat systems.

For our wet systems, we offer the full Gaia system as well as systems from Polypipe and Emmeti.

So, who are Gaia?

Here at Gaia, building a more energy efficient and sustainable future is our passion.

We are multi award-winning underfloor heating contractors with over 30 years’ experience in the industry. We cover the UK and Ireland.

We have a dedicated team of over 40 employees, all with the skill, expertise and passion to deliver the very best underfloor heating solutions for our clients’ projects.

We deliver underfloor heating for a wide range of projects.

From new build residential and commercial construction to office renovations and self builds, we design, supply and install both electric and wet systems – whichever is most suitable for your project! We work with architects, contractors, M&E consultants, builders, developers and home owners on any scale.

Alongside our electric and hydronic underfloor heating, we provide frost protection and snow melting systems, as well as thermostats and controls. We offer floor build-up, heat loss calculation, technical drawings, manifold & control placement, project valuation, handover & commissioning and everything in between. We also provide CAD, technical and after sales support and account and contract management.

We’re passionate about providing the highest quality solutions, tailoring each design to the needs of your project. Our trusted service extends from the initial planning stage, right through to project completion.

We can help you!

With a wide range of systems available, here at Gaia, we will deliver the most suitable product for your project, whatever you require.

Our dedicated team pride themselves on building valued, lasting relationships and offering the best, more reliable solutions for our clients’ needs.

The history and benefits of underfloor heating

Electric Underfloor Heating

We provide a range of electric (dry) underfloor heating systems, including self-adhesive mats, heating cables and decoupling membrane to warm any room.

Wet Underfloor Heating

We supply wet (hydronic) underfloor heating systems from top brands for a wide range of projects.

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