Is underfloor heating a good option?

If you are replacing your heating system, undertaking renovation work on your house, or building from scratch, then underfloor heating is definitely something to consider.

There are several advantages:

  • It gives a very even temperature over the floor area, with very few cold spots.
  • Because the floor temperature is much lower than a conventional radiator, convection currents are minimised and there are less draughts.
  • Efficiently installed, it should run at 35 degrees Celsius, compared to radiators which run at 75 degrees. This makes it a good match for alternative heating systems such as heat pumps.
  • Underfloor heating works well with a condensing boiler, because the boiler runs more efficiently with low return temperatures.
  • The radiant heat given off by the floor results in very high comfort levels. In our experience this means that, in practice, you can run it at lower temperatures – so saving energy. It should be possible to have the house at a temperature 2 or 3 degrees lower than with conventional radiator use.
  • There will be no radiators taking up wall space.
  • It's very good for rooms with high ceilings: heat from an underfloor system goes up the centre of the room giving the occupants a greater sense of warmth for much less energy input than with radiators (where heat tends to go up the walls and collect in the roof space)
  • Comfort conditions are improved as we are sensitive to radiant heat, so it is possible to have the house at a 2 or 3 degrees lower temperature than with conventional radiator use.

The main disadvantage of underfloor heating is that it is slow to respond and can take a long time to heat up. So it is best used in homes or buildings that will be in use for fairly long periods, rather than (for example) in flats that are only occupied for short period of time in the evening.

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