Whilst many property owners could benefit from the advantages of water based underfloor heating, a lack of understanding means that installers are sometimes reluctant to recommend and install it. Andy Coy, Product Manager at Polypipe Underfloor Heating, dispels some of the more common mistaken beliefs, allowing installers to sell UFH as a viable home heating solution.
Stories of underfloor heating, largely referencing the old electric systems made popular in the 1980s, have made end users sceptical of having modern systems installed in their homes. Technology surrounding water-based underfloor heating has advanced significantly in the past 25 years, but some of the misconceptions have not changed.
Hot floor, cold room
Many homeowners believe that UFH systems heat up the floor and leave the rest of the room cold. With water gently and evenly heating though a network of pipes, the system ensures heat is equally distributed throughout the space, without heating the floor above. The nature of hot air movement ensures that heat rises from the ground up, providing a comfortable and consistent temperature. Radiators however, project heating via convection currents, resulting in hot and cold patches within a room.
The lower running temperature of water based underfloor heating also offers many environmental benefits over radiators, an important consideration for the modern and energy conscious homeowner. With energy experts increasingly recommending underfloor heating over traditional heating options, there has never been a better time to start recommending and installing water based underfloor heating.
Underfloor heating also operates at approximately 30°C less than radiators and therefore requires less power from the boiler, offering lower operating costs for an equivalent heat output vs radiator systems.
With underfloor heating, individual rooms can also be heated to the desired temperatures without needing to switch on the heating in every room, creating further savings. More recent innovations in smart home technology also mean that systems can be operated at the touch of a button for maximum comfort and minimal wasted energy (and money).
Digging up the floor
Wrongly, many people also believe that installing UFH means digging up a property’s floor. There are a number of different water based underfloor heating systems available, depending on the type of project. In a new build property, a screeded floor system can be installed at the build stage before the floor had been constructed. In renovations, overlay systems (18mm in the case of Polypipe’s offering) fit over existing floors, removing the need for messy and expensive floor excavations.
Potentially the greatest benefit to end users is that underfloor heating offers total design freedom within the home. Radiators often hinder the interior design of a home, with rooms designed around the unsightly equipment, and take up valuable space that could be used for storage and extra cupboard space.