Most conventional heating systems provide heat in the main, by convection: air is heated to a high temperature near to the appliance, warming objects or people directly in front of it. Hot air rises and then cools on the way down, resulting in the floor being the coolest part of the room, leaving the warmest air at ceiling level. The temperature differential in the room creates a movement of circulating air, resulting in cold droughts; these convection currents also pick up fine dust from the floor, distributing it into the air.
The sun warms the planet through radiant energy, making us feel warm in the sunshine, even on a cold winter day. Radiant heat is emitted in the form of waves: instead of heating the air, these waves heat the surface of objects or people in the room. These heated surfaces then gently warm the surrounding air by conduction.
Underfloor heating emits low temperature heat in the same way, and is a form of radiant heat. The heated floor evenly radiates energy, heating the surrounding structure of the room and any fixed objects. This radiant heat is partly reflected by each surface and partly absorbed; where it is absorbed, that surface becomes an emitter of heat. Eventually all surfaces become a secondary emitter, including the furnishings themselves, radiating energy and warming the room evenly and uniformly.
The energy reaches into every corner of the room - no cold spots, no hot ceilings and no cold feet!
With traditional, convection radiators, warm air circulates the room in currents, heating the furnishings and people; with underfloor heating it's the other way round - the room and its furnishings heat the air. Radiant heating is the most natural and comfortable form of heating; just like the sun.
For more info on electric underfloor heating and how best to plan your installation, take a look at the underfloor heating installation guide. You can also browse the Floor Heating website where you'll find informative pages packed with help and guidance. If you want to price your project and would like to get an idea of the costs involved for your project, there is a very user-friendly underfloor heating webshop to help with building a list of items needed for a complete installation, including flexible adhesives and levelling compounds.