Collage of various rooms with installed underfloor heating system and professional concrete screed.

Underfloor heating acts as a godsend during the winter months. When you’ve gotten home from a long day at work, the last thing you want to do is sit shivering on your sofa while wearing multiple layers. It allows you to feel warm and comfortable without worrying about anything else.

However, when the summer months hit and we start to see higher temperatures, you might wonder if that underfloor heating system you love so much can help cool you down. Luckily, we have all the answers for you about whether underfloor heating offering cooling is a myth or a reality.

Keep reading to find out.

The basics of underfloor heating

Collage showing floor screeding after installing underfloor heating pipes and the process of floor heating system installation from foundation preparation to perfect screed.

Before we get started, let’s give you a refresher on what underfloor heating is and how it can benefit you.

What is underfloor heating?

Underfloor heating is a type of central heating system installed below your floor’s surface, above the substrate, to offer warmth to you and your home. There are two main types of systems available that work in different ways: electric and water. It’s a method gaining a lot of popularity due to the fact it can distribute heat evenly and offer higher levels of energy efficiency compared to traditional methods.

How does underfloor heating work?

How underfloor heating works depends on the type of system you have installed in your home. If you’re using an electric underfloor heating system, then it has a series of cables or heating mats placed underneath your floors. When turned on, an electrical current will go through them, heating up the different zones until your system has reached the desired temperature.

Water, or hydronic, underfloor heating systems also heat up your room from below. However, instead of using cables or mats, it uses pipes and tubes. It’s connected to a manifold, where heated water enters and exits the circuits of tubes. The warm water flows through the system, providing you with the comfort you want.

The benefits of underfloor heating

The reason underfloor heating is becoming so popular is because it offers a wide range of benefits to homeowners and commercial properties:

  • Even heat distribution

    One of the main selling points of underfloor heating is the fact it will warm up an entire room or even an entire property. The problem many people face with traditional methods like radiators is that when it heats up, it will only keep a specific area of the room warm at the optimal temperature. Since underfloor heating has different zones all over the room, it ensures there are no cold spots, and you’re completely comfortable no matter where you are.

  • Energy efficiency

    When an underfloor heating system is installed, a layer of insulation is placed down first. This means that when it’s turned on, almost no heat is lost through the bottom of your flooring, and instead, it all radiates upward. You don’t have to operate your underfloor heating at such high temperatures to reach the same desired temperature as traditional heating systems. This makes it much more energy efficient and leads to lower monthly utility bills.

  • Space saving

    If you’ve ever had a radiator or massive fireplace installed in your home, you’ll know how much of a nuisance it can be space-wise. Once it’s there, you cannot use that space in your room for anything else. You can’t put anything in front of it because it might prevent the heat from reaching you or even damage your furniture. With underfloor heating, you have as much wall space as you need, as the system is installed below your floors and completely out of sight.

  • Longevity

    When you have an underfloor heating system installed by a professional engineer, like the ones available at Next Level, you can rest assured that the system will be with you for a long time. That’s because they require little maintenance and have a long life span, as there are no moving parts or components exposed to wear and tear. In fact, Next Level even offers a guarantee that you’ll have your underfloor heating system with you for the next 50 years!

Can I cool my property with underfloor heating from Next Level?

Collage of installed underfloor heating system in a large private house with subsequent concrete screeding.

So, let’s get to the important questions now. While it is possible to have an underfloor heating and cooling system together, that’s not part of the services we offer at Next Level. The reason is that an underfloor cooling aspect involves a whole different operating system, and it can actually take away from the efficiency of the heating during the colder months.

And since we operate in Scotland, where warmth is more important, we want you to have the very best heating available for when you need it.

Cooling limitations and challenges

Cooling down a property using a traditional underfloor heating system is not efficient or practical, and you’re better off getting a separate aircon unit if you need some coolness in the summer. This is because there are several limitations and challenges you will come across when attempting underfloor heating cooling:

Limited heat transfer capacity

It’s all in the name. Underfloor heating is made for warming up your home. When we install an underfloor heating system in a property, we add a layer of insulation below the system and above the substrate to ensure that no heat escapes and it can all travel upwards. This relies on transferring heat from the heating elements to the room above - and that’s it.

Cooling requires the opposite process, which means it would be taking heat away from the room and moving it somewhere else. Therefore, you wouldn’t have as much heat transfer in a system that has a cooling option too, because there will be gaps where it can escape.

Inadequate temperature control

Even if you tried to cool your property with a traditional heating system, it just wouldn’t work because there’s no option for it on your temperature controls. When we install a system, you get a control panel with it that gives you the option to have your system on or off. When it’s on, you can only increase the temperature.

If there happens to be an option to lower the temperature on an underfloor heating system, you probably won’t feel much cooling anyway. That’s because the system’s design simply doesn’t allow for effective cooling distribution throughout the property.

Insufficient air circulation

One of the benefits of underfloor heating is that it is healthy. It reduces air circulation as it minimises the spread of dust and other allergens. You’re left with better indoor air quality to lead a healthier life. However, this isn’t the case with a cooling feature.

Since most traditional cooling systems require the circulation of cool air throughout a room, this is nearly impossible with underfloor heating. This is because it’s completely closed off through the flooring. If you were to allow holes for cooling to come through, this could circulate dust and other debris from underneath.

There simply isn’t the capacity to circulate any air.

Risk of condensation

If you attempt to cool your property against advice with your underfloor heating system, you may be at risk of condensation. This is because trying to make a room colder by cooling the surface below the dew point can lead to moisture accumulating. If there is more moisture under your floor surface, then it could lead to mould and other problems.

Mould is not good for your health, and you might not even know it is there. Therefore, you could be at risk of developing underlying issues if you continue to try to cool your property using an underfloor heating system.

Energy inefficiency

While one of the benefits of underfloor heating is efficiency, one of the downfalls of cooling is inefficiency. When you try to use a system that is designed for heating purposes to provide you with a cool breeze, your system will go into overload to try and work harder. This means more energy is being used each time.

Not only is using a large amount of energy for a small outcome bad for the environment, but it’s also going to burn a hole in your pockets each month. You’ll see higher utility bills come in, and you’ll regret not using a fan or A/C system in the first place.

How to cool down my underfloor heating system

Professionally installed underfloor heating system in a room.

While you can’t use underfloor heating for cooling at Next Level, you can definitely cool down your underfloor heating system very easily.

How to turn off underfloor heating

If you want to know the best way to turn off your underfloor heating so you can start cooling down yourself, we have you sorted. It is super easy, and all you have to do is use your control panel/thermostat. There should be an ‘off’ option, and you just need to select that.

However, while your system will be off, you might still be using some energy. Therefore, for the best energy efficiency, and especially if you won’t be using your system for a while, it’s best to then locate the power supply switch and turn that off as well. If you have one of Next Level’s water underfloor heating systems, we recommend draining it, especially if it's going to get cold enough to the point the water might freeze.

How long does it take for underfloor heating to cool down?

How long it takes for your underfloor heating to cool down will depend on the room you’re turning it off in. For example, if you have a separate system in your smallest bedroom, this will cool down the fastest compared to an open-plan living room and dining room.

It can also depend on the type of materials in the room. For example, if you have tiles in your kitchen, you might find it takes longer to cool down compared to your living room’s wooden flooring, because it has higher thermal density. This means the material absorbs and retains heat more.

However, for a general rule, you might have to wait up to 24 hours for an underfloor heating system to turn off and cool down completely.

Should I turn off my underfloor heating in the summer?

As the summer months approach, you might be wondering if you should just turn off your underfloor heating on the control panel or whether you should shut down the whole system completely on the wall and drain it. This is entirely up to you, but there are a few benefits you can experience by doing so.

The first is that you’ll experience higher levels of energy savings, especially if you’re not replacing your underfloor heating system with an A/C unit. You don’t need any of the warmth anymore, so you’ll be comfortable while keeping your bills down. Any of those cost savings can go towards the following winter when you will be using your system again.

Another is that it gives your system time to rest. This is the perfect time to bring in some maintenance and see if everything is working up to scratch. If a technician happens to find an issue, they can fix it there and then without disrupting its operations when you need to use it most.

Final thoughts

While it might seem amazing to have an underfloor heating system that cools down your property too, it’s not always the best option. The same applies to an A/C system that offers a heating option. It works great and takes hot air out, but the heat distribution will be much more limited compared to a proper heating system.

If you need a hand with your underfloor heating system or you have any more questions on this topic, Next Level is always happy to help. Don’t be afraid to reach out and one of our experts will be there to offer their advice and services.

Top-quality floor screed after installing the heating system.

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