As homeowners have become increasingly aware of the benefits of underfloor heating over conventional radiator systems, it’s no surprise that this is currently one of the fastest growing home improvement projects in the USA. Although there is an initial outlay to install the heating, over a surprisingly short time the savings on energy and efficiency will pay for themselves, while also adding additional value to the property overall.
For those interested in learning more about the inherent advantages offered by underfloor heating, here’s a run-down of the seven key benefits:
Low maintenance costs
Perhaps one of the most popular reasons why people choose to install underfloor heating is simply because it very rarely ever requires any form of maintenance once it has been fitted. This is the case for both electric and water based underfloor heating. The only thing to be aware of when water-fed heating is being installed is that it is certified to standards (the vast majority are). So reliable are these standards that companies, like NESR Inc., who perform the task typically offer at least a 25-year guarantee.
Simple energy efficiency
Underfloor heating is generally far more efficient than old-fashioned radiators and consequently more cost-effective in regards to utility bills. However, it is wise to install your heating system while also having an efficiency test performed. This will assess the overall effectiveness of your home insulation and ensure that you will get the optimal performance from your heating. Because the floor itself is heated it retains heat far better than traditional radiators which cool down very quickly when turned off, causing the heat they’ve produced to evaporate rapidly. With underfloor heating, the home will be able to retain heat much better and require less energy to maintain warmth.
On the subject of cost, it’s also worth briefly outlining the advantages of electric and water-based systems. As water-based systems are reliant upon gas they are typically more efficient in regards to running costs, but they are considerably more expensive to install. On the other hand, electric underfloor heating is cheaper to install (in fact, even the most inexperienced DIYer can lay it), but over the long term much more expensive to run. It really is a personal choice as to what type of system you opt for. That said, it is often the case that those who only wish to warm one small room will find that a dry system meets their needs perfectly whereas wet systems suit whole house situations far better.
Superior all round comfort
Running on from the point above but deserving of its own particular mention, the house will feel more comfortable when heated through the floor. Quite simply this is because the temperature will be consistent around the room, for example one corner will not be cooler than the other as is often the case with a radiator system which relies on convection. So, there’ll be no more vying for a spot near the radiator!
Underfloor heating is more hygienic
With radiators and convection heating, floors remain cold and dampness at ground level can occur. This is the perfect breeding ground for the dreaded dust mite. However, thanks to the floor being heated through, any dust mites and other creepy crawlies will find that the underfloor heating makes their environment too warm and dry for them to live and breed in. The results of switching to in-floor heating can be astounding. Studies show that installing radiant heating in your home can reduce the amount of dust mites present by up to 80%! As a result, people who suffer from respiratory illnesses such as asthma will feel far more comfortable with this kind of set up.
Can be used with most floor surfaces
Contrary to popular belief, radiant heating can now be installed with the vast majority of floor surfaces provided you choose the correct system. Many people think of underfloor heating as being reliant upon solid surface flooring such as tile or stone (probably because they experience it first in good quality hotel bathrooms). However, this is not necessarily true and, in fact, such a heating system can now work under near enough any kind of floor – vinyl, engineered wood, carpet, laminate etc. One qualification is that because this system is reliant upon the floor retaining heat, solid surfaces are more effective than laying carpet directly over UFH mats, but really, it’s a matter of personal preference.
Flexibility in room temperature
Thanks to each room having its own dedicated thermostat there’s no obligation for one room to be kept as warm as others. While many radiators are now fitted with thermostatic valves, these can prove to be unreliable and temperature control will often be more hit and miss rather than an exact science. With a good UFH control system, it’s easy to save money by keeping temperatures low (or even off) in rooms that are rarely used, while key living areas are kept as warm as liked. This is also a useful feature for people who like to manage their own temperature in their own spaces – after all, some of us feel the cold more than others.
Ideal for open space living
Let’s be frank – radiators take up space and aren’t ever going to win any prizes for their aesthetic qualities. Naturally underfloor heating eliminates the need for any radiators throughout the home and frees up space that can be used for extra furniture or even just to keep the room feeling de-cluttered. This is indeed one of the main reasons why so many new build homes feature this style of heating.
Hopefully these seven points will highlight the potential benefits of underfloor heating, and show why it is a great choice for households looking to efficiently manage their energy usage and enjoy a better standard of overall comfort.