Over recent years underfloor heating has continued to increase in popularity with home owners seeking more efficient ways to heat their home. Underfloor heating is a great alternative to traditional radiators or hot-air heating systems, and an increasingly affordable option if you’re thinking of renovating your property. Underfloor heating is considered to be quite a modern technology, but is actually not very new at all. A basic form was first used as far back as Roman times and the more efficient form of underfloor heating we know now is becoming more and more popular.
The traditional heating method of choice for most UK homes has been radiators, but in recent years they’ve had some competition in the form of underfloor heating. So how do you choose between these two heating systems? What are the features and benefits? Complheat can help you out:
Firstly, you need to remember that underfloor heating can initially be a more expensive decision to make than installing radiators so make sure you know all the facts about how it will affect your home, your comfort and your energy bills.
Recognise the main benefits and drawbacks of underfloor heating, and the differences between electric and water-fed systems.
For example, electric underfloor heating relies on a network of wires and heating mats under your floor that heat up. The electric option is generally cheaper and easier to install than a water-based system, but they are also slightly pricier to run, making them better suited to smaller areas.
Water-based systems are a network of pipes linked to your boiler that pump hot water around your rooms. Water systems are more complicated to install and therefore set up costs are generally higher than electric systems, however they can be cheaper to run in the longer term.
Underfloor heating works by effectively turning the entire floor area into a radiator and due to the floor’s large surface area, it only needs to be a couple of degrees warmer than room temperature.
The resulting gentle heat rises steadily upwards, and there are no cold spots or draughts, making for a very comfortable environment.
Underfloor heating is compatible with homes old and new, and can be installed in any type of floor structure, with lots of configurations available.
Pipes can also be installed beneath floating concrete floors on insulation or in boards, and below suspended timber floors, often on plates or insulation sitting across the joists.
Pipes are thicker than wires, so there needs to be enough room in your floor for the system to be installed, or the ground may need to be slightly raised. This means that while they’re a great solution for new builds, they can be difficult to install on some properties.
Because underfloor heating systems distribute heat more evenly, they actually need water at a lower heat than a radiator, making your boiler usage more efficient. Underfloor heating has a number of environmental benefits as it requires less energy to run. The average underfloor heating system will use between 15-40% less energy than conventional radiators because it requires a much lower flow temperature to heat a room due to its size and dimensions. Because of its lower energy requirements, it can be run off solar panels in the form of a solar thermal system, or even heat pumps.
A downside to underfloor heating is the amount of time it takes to heat up. Whilst a radiator can heat a room within 20 or 30 minutes, an underfloor heating system can take between 1 and 2 hours to thoroughly heat a room. The advantage of radiators is that they are quick to warm up and easy to control, particularly with the new breed of thermostatic radiator valves.
Radiators have a tendency to attract a build-up of dust, therefore they’re less hygienic than underfloor heating. Radiators are also typically bulky cast iron designs which take up space in the room and can get in the way. However new models are aluminium, which is lightweight and quick to heat up, they can be sleek, minimalist and beautiful.
In conclusion, a heating system should be chosen dependent on your own needs and lifestyle. Complheat offer both fantastic underfloor heating and central heating solutions across Merseyside and the North West.
Fully briefed and qualified, Complheat Heating & Plumbing are happy to visit you in your home for a consultation and to provide advice on pricing. Complheat Heating & Plumbing