How can you implement an energy-efficient underfloor cooling system in a UK home?

12 June 2024

In the realm of modern home comfort solutions, underfloor heating, or UFH systems, are gaining popularity in the UK due to their superior efficiency and the pleasant, consistent temperatures they provide. But did you know that the same system can actually be used for cooling as well?

Contrary to common belief, underfloor cooling is not a new concept. It is a practice that has been in existence for years and is now becoming a popular choice for homeowners looking for an energy-efficient cooling system that will also reduce their carbon footprint.

In this article, we will delve into the details of implementing an underfloor cooling system in a UK home. We'll look at how the system works, the different types available, and how they can save you energy and money in the long run.

Underfloor Cooling: An Overview

Underfloor cooling systems, similar to their heating counterparts, distribute temperature-regulated water through pipes installed within the floor. This cooled water absorbs the heat from the room and returns it to the cooling unit to be re-cooled, thereby reducing the temperature in the room.

The system uses either a heat pump or air source system to cool down the water before it is circulated. It is worth noting that these systems are incredibly efficient at cooling, making them a fantastic choice for homes in warmer climates or during the hotter summer months in the UK.

There are two types of UFH cooling systems: wet and dry.

Wet systems use water for cooling, while dry systems use air. The former are more common due to their better cooling efficiency and ability to be combined with a heating system.

The benefits of underfloor cooling

Underfloor cooling systems have several advantages over traditional cooling methods like air conditioning or ceiling fans.

Firstly, they are highly efficient. By using a heat pump to cool the water that is pumped under the floor, less energy is consumed compared to traditional air-conditioning systems. This efficiency not only helps you save on your energy bills but also reduces your carbon footprint.

Secondly, underfloor cooling provides a more consistent and comfortable temperature across the room. Unlike air conditioners which can cause cold spots, UFH systems distribute cool air evenly across the floor, providing a more uniform cooling effect.

Lastly, underfloor cooling systems operate silently, unlike air conditioners and cooling fans that can be noisy and disruptive.

The cost of implementing underfloor cooling

Before deciding to install an underfloor cooling system, it's crucial to understand the financial implications. Installation costs vary depending on the size of your home and the system you choose.

Typically, wet systems cost more to install than dry systems, primarily due to the complexity of the installation process. However, keep in mind that the high initial cost of wet systems is often offset by their greater energy efficiency.

Maintenance costs are also an important consideration. Fortunately, underfloor cooling systems generally require minimal maintenance, mainly periodic checks and cleaning.

Installing an underfloor cooling system in your home

The installation of an underfloor cooling system is a task best left to professionals, due to the complexity of the process and the need for precise calculations and careful planning.

The process begins with mapping out the pipe layout for the floor, followed by installing insulation material, laying the pipes, and finally installing the manifold and pump.

For existing homes, the process might require the removal of the existing flooring and some minor construction work. In new builds, the system can be incorporated into the original construction plans, making the installation process smoother.

In conclusion, implementing an underfloor cooling system in your UK home could be a smart move towards increased comfort and energy efficiency. The initial cost might be significant, but the long-term benefits in terms of saved energy and increased home value make it a worthy investment.

Maximising energy efficiency with underfloor cooling systems

If you're considering an underfloor cooling system, it's essential to understand how to maximise its potential for energy efficiency. This will not only ensure optimal performance but also help reduce energy costs, thus saving you money.

Heat pumps play a crucial role in the overall efficiency of underfloor cooling systems. Heat pumps are devices that transfer heat from one place to another, thereby cooling or heating a given space. In the case of underfloor cooling systems, the heat pump cools the water that circulates in the pipes under the floor.

There are two main types of heat pumps used in underfloor cooling systems: air source and ground source. An air source heat pump extracts heat from the outside air, even when it's cold. A ground source heat pump, on the other hand, extracts heat from the ground. Ground source pumps are generally more efficient than air source pumps, but they are also more expensive to install.

Another critical factor that impacts the energy efficiency of an underfloor cooling system is the insulation of your home. Proper insulation prevents cool air from escaping and reduces the load on the underfloor cooling system.

Moreover, maintaining a regular check on your underfloor cooling system, such as cleaning and servicing the heat pump, can help maintain its efficiency and prolong its lifespan, thus reducing your energy costs in the long run.


Implementing an underfloor cooling system in your UK home is an investment that could pay off in multiple ways. Not only does it offer a more comfortable and consistent temperature during hot weather, but it also operates silently and can reduce your energy bills.

By utilising a heat pump, underfloor cooling systems utilise an energy-efficient mechanism to keep your home cool. Whether you choose an air source or ground source heat pump, both will provide effective cooling and contribute to energy efficiency.

However, it's important to remember that while underfloor cooling systems are known for their energy efficiency, the actual energy savings will depend on factors like the type of heat pump used, the insulation of your home, and how well the system is maintained.

Despite the initial setup cost, the benefits of reduced energy bills, increased home comfort, and the added value to your property make underfloor cooling systems an attractive option for homeowners. It's a modern and environmentally-friendly way to keep your home cool while also being kind to your wallet.

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