No longer for the wealthy and technologically advanced, underfloor heating [UFH] has become increasingly popular in the past recent years due to its affordability, a growing public concern over bills and a decrease in disposable income.
Whether we’re designing a new build home or a single storey extension, as Architects, we specify underfloor heating on most of our jobs. However, there is still a grey area of how it can actually be more fuel efficient and cheaper after installation costs are taken into consideration.
In simpler terms, there are two forms of underfloor heating, ‘wet’ that pumps warm water through pipes under the floor and ‘dry’ which uses electric coils, both of which are based on the idea of heat rising.
Whilst we know that UFH reduces your bills, there are also a range of benefits which contribute to your home becoming a more comfortable place.
UFH is all about heating a room to the perfect ambient temperature – more so than a general convection heater will do so.
Radiators work by heating up air around it and because of this, the closest air is heated first creating an imbalance of air temperature as the air farthest away will be the coolest. Radiators can also heat to above 75˚C as they have a small surface area that is often needed to warm large spaces – as underfloor heating covers the whole floor, it only has to warm to around 25˚C.
The Rise of Shrinking Homes:
New homes being built are on average 67.8m² where as in the 80s, they were almost 90m². With properties shrinking year by year, Architects are looking to find more space in their homes. UFH provides a great solution for this as there is no need for clunky radiators and pipework. DITRAHEAT now offer a type of membrane that can be installed under wall tiles, so you can also avoid bulky towel radiators too.
Allergies & Safety:
As traditional convection heaters warm the air around them for it then to move around the room, people often forget that particles such as dust allergens are moved around also. This can cause respiratory irritation which can affect conditions such as asthma.
As mentioned earlier, radiators can heat up to almost 100˚C. In homes where small children are, this can be incredible dangerous as the pipes are often left uncovered. By using UFH this, and sharp metal edges that can cause accidents, are avoided.
Under floor heating pairs well with smart controls to create ‘zonal heating’ with individual or multiroom temperature control. Wireless controls are very common now and many apps have been designed to make heating your home easier and simpler.
Traditional radiators create inevitable heat loss as unoccupied rooms tend to have heating on just as much as the occupied. It is unlikely that a home owner will turn radiators off in individual rooms to avoid this.
Overall, with lower heating temperatures and more efficient control, home owners can save a significant amount on bills.
So, when deciding whether to install underfloor heating. It is important to keep in mind the cost of installing as this is a lot higher than radiators. However, underfloor heating comes in vast ranges to suit your budget and over time, it will substantially reduce your bills over time.