Underfloor heating: the right choice for your heating system

The most common heating method used across homes in the UK is radiators. Cast-iron radiators have been commonly used in the UK since the 1930s and have successfully heated homes for generations. However, as the economy and society have developed more of a focus on sustainability, people are starting to realise that there is an urgent need to find low carbon heating methods that are highly functional. Here at Wavin, we believe that underfloor heating could be part of the solution for the future of low carbon homes.

Energy efficiency

With a green push from the government encouraging people to switch from their unsustainable central heating systems with conventional boilers to more sustainable options like heat pumps, highly efficient systems are required to ensure homes are adequately heated.

Radiators would need to become bigger in order to increase their surface area and provide a higher capacity of heat emission if used with some low carbon heat sources such as heat pumps.  This could lead to possible scenarios of some radiators becoming so big that they require a full wall to be installed and to be able to heat a room effectively.

For underfloor heating, this isn’t a problem. Due to its underground placement and full room coverage. This creates large surface area and makes underfloor heating highly efficient at heating rooms. It doesn’t require a full wall to work to the same capacity.

In terms of working in a partnership with greener heating alternatives, there aren’t many better heating methods than underfloor heating.

Aesthetically pleasing

Increasing the size of radiators to improve efficiency and capacity would lead to a large and chunky metal structure applied to one wall in every room, not the most aesthetically pleasing thing to look at for homeowners. Having one full wall taken up by a radiator can also create restrictions as to where furniture can be placed, how a room can be decorated and what can be hung up on the walls.

Alternatively, underfloor heating is invisible. As it is installed under floors, underfloor heating is out of sight – removing fears of having to be greeted by a massive radiator every time you walk into a room.  Underfloor heating also offers more freedom for homeowners to be able to make the most of their indoor spaces because there are little to no restrictions involved.

Silence

Central heating systems can be noisy with the distribution of water to radiators making undesirable sounds that homeowners could just do without. These loud distractions are, needless to say, quite frustrating when all people want is to keep warm. With underfloor heating, sound isn’t an issue. Systems are unseen and not heard as they get to work invisibly and silently to ensure that indoor climates are created to comfortable levels without the need for loud noises and unpleasant sights.

Cheaper Energy Bills

As previously mentioned, underfloor heating has a higher efficiency than a radiator would traditionally have. This means that less energy is required to effectively heat up a room. Therefore, underfloor heating systems will lead to savings on energy bills saving homeowners and property owners money over a longer-term.

Underfloor heating being expensive is one of several common misconceptions associated with the system. You can read more about common misconceptions of underfloor heating here. 

Cost of working with green alternatives

One of the most common advantages associated with radiators is their cost compared with alternative heating processes. However, as the general population is encouraged to adopt a more sustainable approach to heating, there are more and more people switching to greener heat sources like heat pumps which has a direct effect on the cost of radiators.

Heat pumps operate at a lower output temperature than traditional sources like conventional boilers. As a result, radiators must increase in size to improve their energy efficiency and capacity to work with a heat source that has a lower output temperature. This increase in size also correlates to an increase in cost for end-users.

Underfloor heating offers more savings in the long term through energy bills because of higher energy efficiency. This high efficiency, created by a large surface area, makes UFH more than capable to function with the lower output temperature of greener energy sources. As underfloor heating can operate to the same levels of capacity with greener energy sources, there is no knock-on effect on the price of these systems. From a price perspective, with radiators rising in cost, UFH becomes a much more affordable alternative when working with sustainable heat sources.

A cleaner system

Metal is rarely a component that exists in underfloor heating systems meaning that the oxygen in the water has nothing to react with. In contrast, radiators are made from metal meaning that the oxygen that is carried through the water has the potential to cause a reaction.

This reaction between metal and oxygen can lead to the build-up of sludge and rust on radiators and limit the performance of traditional systems as a result. With underfloor heating systems posing very little risk of rust or sludge build-up, this creates a cleaner system – a system that is less likely to suffer an impact in performance.

Ultimately, underfloor heating has a range of benefits that are inaccessible to its direct competitors. Radiators need to increase in size, this creates an issue with rising costs and low energy efficiency, but they also take extra space in the rooms & in modern design houses space is somewhat limited e.g., bi-fold doors, for example, taking a complete wall, built-in storage. In contrast, with a sleek clean look preferred, UFH is the invisible efficient heat emitter.