With so many radiator choices on the market today, what's the best way to heat your home? And what alternatives are there to the everyday radiator?
Radiators have been used in our homes since the Victorian era, but central heating in general has been seen since the rule of the Ancient Egyptians. There are a wide range heating options which transcend the radiator market, the proto versions of which can be witnessed all throughout history. One of these is the underfloor heating system, a relatively new home heating system which nonetheless has its roots in ancient traditions. So what is underfloor heating and is it worth investing in?
What Is Underfloor Heating?
This intelligent and efficient heating system is known for taking up very little wall space and powerfully heating the home through rising heat from under the floor. Underfloor heating works by turning the chosen patch of floor into a heating system, installing UFH pipes under the floor, in something called a screed and work by heating up the conducting panels above them. These only have to be a few degrees warmer than room temperature, using less energy than radiators. UFH is also incredibly flexible in its methods of heating, working with both electric systems and central heating ones.
Using screeds which are thicker will mean that your home will take longer to heat up, taking up to four hours sometimes. Thinner screeds can take as little as 30 minutes. Regardless of this, underfloor heating is usually run throughout the day at lower temperatures, instead of being turned on to raise the temperature like your everyday hallway radiator.
The History of Underfloor Heating
As mentioned above, the idea of underfloor heating preceded even the radiator. The early idea of heated flooring was introduced back in 5000 BC. In Korea, there is evidence of early humans using heated floors made of stone to warm their homes. Pushing forward to 500 BC, the Ancient Greeks and Romans were using hypocausts to heat institutions and the homes of the upper classes. The hypocaust consists of the flooring in a home being raised on small columns, and the space beneath the floor being heated by warm air. The hypocaust therefore, is a very early version of our modern underfloor heating systems.
Is Underfloor Heating Right for You?
So, when push comes to shove, would you invest in underfloor heating over a radiator system? A more focused question would be, will underfloor heating benefit your home more? Here are some of the pros and cons to underfloor heating, and some of those niggling UFH questions answered.
If your home is low on space, then underfloor heating might be the perfect solution to your home heating needs. Whilst vertical radiators take up very little wall space and use height instead of width, UFH utilises the space under your floor instead.
All Day Comfort
As mentioned above, underfloor heating is often left on for the whole day at lower temperatures, making it more efficient than quick bursts of central heating.
Efficient Heating Calibrated to Your Rooms Needs
This makes it easier to find the perfect sweet spot for each room using UFH. using your thermostat, you can set the temperature for each of the rooms and be safe in the knowledge that your UFH system will maintain those climates.
However, there are a few points to watch out for when investing in underfloor heating.
Will Take longer to Install
Unlike the radiator, it can be a major job to install underfloor heating. Instead of just connecting it to your wall, you have to feed your UFH wires and piping under the floorboards, potentially redirecting the water piping or electrical wiring already installed in your home.
Can Be Expensive
Whilst they require little maintenance once installed, the initial job can weigh on the bank balance. Underfloor heating requires you to invest not only in the technology, but in the work to install it. You will undoubtedly need an expert to install your UFH for you, who will usually cost a little extra.
So in conclusion, if you’re willing to invest, the long term gains of the UFH heating can really pay dividends in efficiency and energy bills. That is if you’re willing to put the work in, and there’s definitely some work!