Will My Boiler Work With Underfloor Heating?

Matt Keane
March 4, 2024

Are you thinking of installing underfloor heating in your home? If so, you might be wondering if your existing boiler can work with this type of heating system

Underfloor heating is becoming more popular in Ireland, as it offers many benefits such as comfort, efficiency, and aesthetics. However, not all boilers are compatible with underfloor heating, and some may require additional components or adjustments to function properly. 

This blog will explain how underfloor heating works, what types of boilers are suitable for it, and what factors you need to consider before making a decision. 

By the end of this post, you'll possess a comprehensive understanding of how to make your boiler work with underfloor heating, ensuring a smooth transition to a more comfortable, efficient home. Let’s dive right in!

How Does Underfloor Heating Work?

Underfloor heating is a type of radiant heating system that uses pipes or cables embedded in the floor to distribute heat evenly throughout the room. Unlike conventional radiators, which heat the air near them and create hot and cold spots, underfloor heating warms the entire floor surface and radiates heat upwards. This creates a more comfortable and consistent temperature, as well as reducing heat loss and energy consumption.

There are two main types of underfloor heating: water-based and electric. 

  • Water-based underfloor heating, also known as hydronic or wet underfloor heating, uses hot water from a boiler or heat pump to circulate through the pipes in the floor. 
  • Electric underfloor heating, also known as dry underfloor heating, uses electric cables or mats to generate heat directly from the electricity supply. 

Both types of underfloor heating can be installed in different zones, allowing you to control the temperature of each room separately.

What Types of Boilers Are Suitable for Underfloor Heating?

The type of boiler you have will determine whether it can work with underfloor heating or not. Generally speaking, most modern boilers are compatible with underfloor heating, as long as they have enough capacity and power to heat the water to the required temperature. 

However, some older or less efficient boilers may not be able to cope with the demand for underfloor heating or may need some modifications to work properly.

The most common types of boilers found in Irish homes are:

Combi boilers

These are the most popular type of boiler in Ireland, as they provide both hot water and central heating from a single unit. They are usually compatible with underfloor heating, as they can heat water on demand and adjust the flow rate and temperature accordingly. 

However, some combi boilers may not have enough power to heat a large area with underfloor heating, especially if they also have to supply hot water to other taps or showers. In this case, you may need to upgrade your boiler to a more powerful model or install a separate hot water cylinder to store hot water for other uses.

System boilers

These are similar to combi boilers, but they have a separate hot water cylinder that stores hot water for later use. System boilers are also compatible with underfloor heating, as they can heat water to a high temperature and maintain a steady pressure. 

However, system boilers may also struggle to heat a large area with underfloor heating, especially if the hot water cylinder is not large enough to store enough hot water. In this case, you may need to increase the size of your hot water cylinder or install a secondary heat source such as a solar thermal system or a heat pump.

Regular boilers

These are also known as conventional or heat-only boilers, and they are the oldest type of boiler in Ireland. Regular boilers have a separate hot water cylinder and a cold water tank, and they only provide central heating. Regular boilers are usually not compatible with underfloor heating, as they operate at a lower temperature and pressure than underfloor heating requires.

To make a regular boiler work with underfloor heating, you would need to install a mixing valve or a low-loss header to regulate the temperature and flow of the water, or replace your boiler with a more modern and efficient one.

What Factors Do You Need to Consider Before Installing Underfloor Heating?

Before you decide to install underfloor heating in your home, you need to consider some factors that may affect the performance and compatibility of your boiler and heating system. These include:

The size and layout of your home

The larger and more complex the floor area, the more pipes or cables you will need to install underfloor heating, and the more heat you will need to generate. This may affect the capacity and power of your boiler and the amount of energy you will consume. You should also consider the insulation and ventilation of your home, as these will affect the heat loss and gain of your rooms.

The type and thickness of your flooring

The type and thickness of your flooring will affect the heat transfer and retention of your underfloor heating system. Some flooring materials, such as tiles, stone, or laminate, are more conductive and suitable for underfloor heating, while others, such as carpet, wood, or vinyl, are more insulating and may require a higher temperature or a longer heating time.

You should also check the manufacturer’s recommendations and specifications for your flooring, as some may not be compatible with underfloor heating or may require a special underlay or adhesive.

The cost and installation of underfloor heating

The cost and installation of underfloor heating will depend on the type, size, and complexity of your system, as well as the labour and materials involved. Generally, water-based underfloor heating is more expensive and difficult to install than electric underfloor heating, as it requires more plumbing and pipework and may involve lifting or replacing your existing floor.

However, water-based underfloor heating is more efficient and cheaper to run than electric underfloor heating, as it uses less electricity and can be integrated with renewable energy sources. You should also factor in the maintenance and repair costs of your underfloor heating system, as well as the warranty and guarantee offered by your installer and manufacturer.


Underfloor heating can improve your home’s comfort, efficiency, and aesthetics. However, you need to check if your boiler is compatible with underfloor heating and what modifications or upgrades you may need. 

To find out if your boiler can work with underfloor heating, you should consult a qualified and experienced heating engineer like BuildPro, who can advise you on the best options and solutions for your home. We specialise in installing, servicing, and repairing boilers and underfloor heating systems. We offer competitive prices, high-quality workmanship, and excellent customer service.

Contact us today for a free quote and consultation.

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*FYI, parts of this blog post were drafted by artificial technlogy. But rest assured, it's been thoroughly researched, edited, reviewed and me & my team.

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