Hate the feeling of cold floors in the morning? Well, underfloor heating might be the best heating system for your home. However, before you decide whether underfloor heating is right for you, you’ll need to work out whether you’ll also need radiators in your space.
In this post, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about underfloor heating, including whether it’s powerful enough to have as a sole heating source, whether underfloor heating replaces radiators and whether it’s better to combine the two heating options.
What to consider when deciding if you should replace your radiator with underfloor heating
It’s possible that an underfloor heating system will be powerful enough to heat your home. But, in order to decide whether underfloor heating can replace radiators in your property, you’ll need to conduct a heat loss calculation. This will show you whether the output of an underfloor heating system would meet the heating requirement of the room or area you’re looking to heat.
You can calculate heat loss either by room or across your entire home, and there are various ways that you can calculate it. It’s usually better to ask a professional to conduct the calculation for you, but heat loss is generally calculated by adding conduction to infiltration. These are:
- Conduction: How much heat is lost through the envelope of your home, including the exterior walls, floor, roof and windows
- Air infiltration: How much warm air is escaping from your room/home and being replaced by cold air.
In order for the underfloor heating system to produce enough heat to warm your space, its output must be larger than the maximum heat loss. If not, the room will be too cold and you’ll need an additional heat source in the space, such as a radiator.
Alternatively, you can better insulate your home in order to reduce heat loss and ensure that an underfloor heating system is sufficient. Remember, with an underfloor heating system, the heat radiates from the hot water, into the plastic piping, into the screened floor and then into the room. This means the system delivers a gentler heat and you need to do as much as possible to hold onto it. As a result, if you don’t want to combine radiators with your underfloor heating system, try insulating your home with:
- At least 270mm of loft insulation, plus extra in awkward spots
- Insulating the sub-floor to stop heat being lost to the ground
- Insulating walls with either cavity wall insulation or thermal wall insulation
- Double glazing all doors and windows.
Although doing the calculations and spending additional money on insulation may seem like extra work and cost, you’ll experience a number of advantages by replacing radiators with an underfloor heating system. For example, if you replace radiators with underfloor heating, the air quality in your home will improve. This is because convection heating systems like radiators move dust and pollen around the room. By contrast, underfloor systems emit radiant heat. This means that every area of the room receives an equal amount of warmth.
Similarly, updating your heating system and replacing your radiators with underfloor heating will save you a lot of wall space. This means that you’ll have a lot more freedom to place your furniture wherever you like. Plus, because the heating system is spread evenly throughout the floor, you can say goodbye to cold spots.
Finally, you’ll be pleased to know that if you opt for an electric underfloor heating system, it won’t require any maintenance. All you’ll need to do is set the perfect temperature for each area of your room.
Is there a place for combining both radiators and underfloor heating?
Despite the many benefits of an underfloor heating system, many people do choose to combine underfloor heating with their pre-existing central heating system.
People who choose to combine underfloor heating with a central heating system usually do it for two reasons: cost and convenience. If you’re renovating a room in your home, it is cheaper and more convenient to leave the existing radiator in place and simply turn it off. This way, the underfloor heating system can be used as the main source of heat in the room, but the radiator can still be used for additional heat if it’s ever needed.
That said, unless your heat loss calculation shows that an underfloor heating system won’t be powerful enough to heat your home, there’s no need to have both systems in place.
Decided that underfloor heating is the best solution for your home? Take a look at the full range of products in our underfloor heating range today. Alternatively, if you’d like to know more about how underfloor heating would work in your home and whether it’s sufficient for heating your space, feel free to contact us to discuss your needs and requirements.