12) History

Underfloor heating has a fascinating history. It was first introduced to Britain 2000 years ago, when the Romans began their 400-year rule. At sites like the Roman Villa at Chedworth, the remains of the underfloor heating system can still be seen.

But there is a shadow of doubt regarding the fact that the Romans invented this heating system. The Indus Valley Civilisation in the Punjab, believed to originate from 3,300 BC, is reputed to have heated some of its homes with underfloor heating. Some historians believe the technology reached the Romans via trade links with the Phoenicians and others can trace underfloor heating back to 10,000 BC in China.

If we fast forward to the 1960s, the electric underfloor systems were going out of favour due to high running costs and difficulties in controlling temperature. The high running cost problems usually arose because the systems lacked adequate controls and houses at that time were very poorly insulated. The availability of more sophisticated types of control and improved levels of insulation has helped to encourage the current growth in wet underfloor heating systems. The growth in wet underfloor heating systems has accelerated even more in the last few years in both residential and commercial systems due to the compatibility with heat pumps which deliver water at lower temperatures than boilers.

Following on from the introduction of Part L of the Building Regulations in 2001 which is intended to reduce carbon emissions from both domestic and commercial properties, there has been a growing and deeper awareness of the beneficial features of underfloor heating regarding conformity to the new regulations among architects, designers, contractors and property developers.

 

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UHMA - The trade association for surface heating and cooling.

 

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