Dean Asher from Polypipe Building Products uncovers the sustainability and practicality advantages of underfloor heating for modern homes
As carbon emissions are an increasing concern for homeowners and with the cost-of-living crisis not easing up anytime soon, many are on the hunt for a heating solution which is both eco and wallet-friendly.
While underfloor heating used to be seen as a luxury product, in reality, it can help homeowners save much-needed funds. This is because it uses less energy than traditional radiators. As well as being good for the planet, the energy savings will also keep bills low. In today’s climate, that may be reason enough to install underfloor heating, but with a whole host of benefits, including having precise temperature control and the opportunity for space saving, it’s no surprise that more people are making the switch.
KEEP COSTS DOWN FOR THE LONG-TERM
One of the main benefits of underfloor heating, probably more so now than ever, is that it is energy efficient. Underfloor heating works by heating the whole surface area of the floor, meaning that heat is evenly distributed across the room. It can therefore operate at lower temperatures than traditional radiators, which often only have around two square metres of heat emitting surfaces and distribute heat upwards towards the ceiling, which can lead to hot and cold spots within a room. As a result, less energy is needed to keep the room warm, resulting in both lower energy bills and an eco-friendlier home.
As well as the cost savings from lower energy usage, underfloor heating can also save homeowners a small fortune in maintenance costs. With traditional heating systems, such as radiators, regular maintenance is required to ensure they are working correctly. This can involve bleeding the radiators, checking for leaks, and repairing or replacing broken parts. With underfloor heating, however, there are fewer moving parts or exposed elements to wear out or malfunction, making it a low-maintenance option for homeowners.
Saving money on your energy bills is a big benefit, especially amid the ongoing cost-of-living crisis. But another major pull for homeowners is the deluxe feel of underfloor heating. This is because underfloor heating controls are specifically designed to deliver maximum comfort and optimum efficiency. You can control your underfloor heating either directly from the thermostat or, if you have smart controls, via an app for smartphones or tablets. Underfloor heating also works on a zonal system, so you’re able to control each zone, or room, independently. Having precise control of the temperature throughout different areas of your home lets you create your perfect ‘comfort zone,’ meaning you don’t need to waste energy heating spaces that aren’t in use.
On top of this, underfloor heating also brings several health benefits. Radiators heat a space through convection, meaning that heat rises and then falls when it gets cooler. While doing so, it is also circulating dust, allergens, and airborne particles around your space. As underfloor heating is radiant heat, there is much less movement of air, and therefore dust and pollutants. This creates a cleaner indoor air quality.
Not only does underfloor heating make your space feel better, but can make it look better too. Unlike other forms of heating, underfloor heating is ‘invisible.’ Traditional radiators can impinge on space and disrupt a room’s aesthetics, whereas underfloor heating needs no visible pipework. This creates a more contemporary feel and gives you more space to make your own.
A common misconception with underfloor heating is that it only works with particular types of floor coverings. While it is true that underfloor heating works particularly well with tiles, concrete, and engineered timber, with the right system design it’s also compatible with laminate, vinyl, and carpet. Underfloor heating can be fitted in pretty much any home, whether it’s a new build or as part of a retrofit project. It can also be tailored to your needs, the room it will sit in and the flooring type, so that you get the right heat output for your home. No matter what floor covering you opt for, you’ll be able to reap the benefits of underfloor heating.
WORTH THE INVESTMENT
While it is true that the initial installation cost can be more than other heating systems, this should be weighed up against the savings on your energy bills for years to come.
Plus, in addition to energy bills, the initial investment also results in a future-proofed heating system that is compatible with low-carbon technology. As legislation around reducing emissions continues to tighten and the Government invests more into initiatives to encourage the uptake of low-carbon technology, you can be confident that should you wish to change your heat source to a ground or air source heat pump, or other renewable technology in the future, your underfloor heating system will stand the test of time.
Dean Asher is head of technical services at Polypipe Building Products