The History of Underfloor Heating
Throughout many years, underfloor heating has been a luxurious source of heat, from historic civilisations, right up until the modern-day. As time has moved on, the process and construction of underfloor heating has drastically changed, additionally to underfloor heating becoming much more accessible to a wide range of homeowners. Despite this, they are still considered as a luxury even if they are less exclusive then what they were in the past. Underfloor heating is still a component in households that owners of the component are extremely privileged to have, and it is likely that it will always remain this way.
This blog explores the past civilisations that invented, developed and produced underfloor heating systems to be what they are today, and how past productions have been adapted the underfloor heating systems that are available in the market today. If you are interested in finding our more about different types of underfloor heating systems, then enquire today with our experts here at Robbens Systems. Our team will be able to confidently deal with any enquiries you may have and find an ideal solution for you. Get in touch today so we can help you.
When Was The Underfloor Heating System Invented?
History has found that the earliest ever underfloor heating system was discovered in modern-day North Korea. Incredibly, it is believed that these systems were thought to have been invented as early as 5,000 BC! The floors were originally heated or baked, which would then later be coined as ‘warm stone’ or ‘ondol’ around the end of the 19th century. Strong evidence suggests that the earliest ondols were initiated as gudeul, which was essentially a cooking plus heating system in the home or property.
When fires were lit inside the furnace to cook, the flame would extend horizontally due to the fact that the flue entry was in a location beside the furnace. If smoke from the flame was to travel upwards, then the fire would be put out too quickly and would not be able to cook food for as long as it was required. Following this, a series of passages would guide the flame with the smoke with entire rooms constructed on the furnace flue able to experience and enjoy the underfloor heating.
In time for 3,000 BC, the North Koreans were using a fire hearth system which was used as a form of internal heating, additionally as an early iteration of an oven. As well as this, it has also been thought that a double hearth system was used in 900 BC with one hearth being used for cooking and another as a heating system. Ancient Romans
and Greeks were also documented as being users of underfloor heating systems, however, these underfloor systems were in the form of hypocausts alternatively to double hearth systems. Hypocaust systems raised the floor with pillars while hot air passed through the space beneath to heat the flooring.
Moving Towards More Advanced Methods
By around 500 AD, there was a significant difference between Asian and European underfloor heating systems. In Asia, the ondol was being continually developed further, whereas in Europe, the heating system of choice was the open fire system. The upper class and palaces in Asia used a more sophisticated form of the gudeul around the time of 700 AD. In Mediterranean countries in Europe, hypocausts were used extensively in public baths and public homes. As time progressed towards 1400 AD in countries in Southern Europe and the Mediterranean, there was extensive use of sophisticated hypocausts such as the Turkish baths, which were built by the Ottoman Empire.
The Throwaway Discovery Leading to an Invention Vital for Modern Underfloor Heating System
During the 19th century, extensive research was put into developing the modern central heating system that we use today using water boilers and piping systems. This included extensive research into thermal conductivity, additionally to surface reflectivity and surface emissivity.
During this period, a discovery that was a throwaway at the time would subsequently lead to the discovery of the most widely used plastic in the world to this day. Hans von Pechmann
found a waxy residue at the bottom of one of his test tubes whilst carrying out an experiment. His colleagues Eugen Bamberger and Friedrich Tschirner then took this waxy residue and took it for use as a plastic we now call polymethylene. Polymethylene was discovered during the autodecomposition of diazomethane in ether. This type of polymer is also virtually identical to polyethene, which was obtained by Eric Fawcett and Reginald Gibson in 1935. Following this, industrial use of polyethene for radar cables in the Second World War.
After the discovery in 1899, polymethylene was thrown away, however, it became a vital component in wet underfloor heating systems. The concept of the hypocaust was in fact still in use as late as the year 1904. It was the hypocaust system that was utilised in Liverpool Cathedral in 1904.
Modern Underfloor Heating Systems
In the 1940s, the US saw a large scale construction operation that installed radiator water-based heating systems in multiple new homes. This heating system proved that these types of heating systems could be incorporated into any property design project and would then pave the way for the modern central heating system to be produced in mass to a huge number of homes. The 1960s then saw the first wet underfloor heating system being invented successfully in Canada and by the 1980s, underfloor heating systems were becoming commonplace all across the globe with Korea arguably being the leading users of the system. This was due to nearly all residential buildings having underfloor heating systems already installed. From this point, underfloor heating systems were being used more and more as heating methods for many residential buildings and saw increased use in non- residential buildings in Scandinavian nations.
How a Modern Underfloor Heating System Works
There are two main types of underfloor heating systems that are extensively used today. These two systems come in the form of wet underfloor heating systems and electronic underfloor heating systems. Wet systems pump warm water by using piping underneath the floor, whereas electronic systems use electric coils that are placed underneath the flooring.
Once a system that was considered a component of expensive buildings and complexes, the systems have become increasingly more popular heating systems in the UK. This is as the design of underfloor heating systems can be integrated into the structure of the property. If you own an older property, this shouldn’t put you off as you as it is still simple to install underfloor heating in older properties with ease and experience the many benefits.
As previously mentioned, it is easy to access underfloor heating systems
in the UK and have a system successfully installed into your home. If you’re considering installing an underfloor heating system to your home, then choose Robbens Systems
for efficient and professional underfloor heating system installations in the UK. For many years we have installed systems to homes of all scales for owners to experience the benefits of underfloor heating. If you’re interested, get in touch with our team of experts in East Sussex today and arrange for a service or installation.