Underfloor Heating versus Traditional Radiators
The concept of the radiator however, has remained unchanged since its creation. Underfloor heating systems are becoming more and more popular both in The United Kingdom and in the United States, the concept for underfloor heating dates back to the Roman era. There are differences between the two heating systems, not only in terms of how they work but also in their impact upon a building in terms of efficiency and aesthetics.
How do they work?
Underfloor heating systems which is also known as radiant heating, uses layered plastic pipes that are put under flooring to transport water that has been warmed using electricity. The warm water radiates heat into the air above it. Radiators, vary because they use electrically heated water which is circulated through pipes in the walls and ceilings and produce heat by convection heating. Convection heating uses the air around a radiator, the air is warmed by the heated water and the warm air current is used to circulate heat through the radiator and out into the intended space.
Why are underfloor heating systems more energy efficient than traditional radiators?
Underfloor heating systems can save an estimated 10 – 40% on electricity costs, this is because little heat is wasted by the process. Warm air rises up through the floor and only loses 2 degrees of heat for every 2 meters it rises. Radiators can be costly because they take a while to heat up and cool down. Added to this they can also have circulation issues as the water is pushed through the pipe system and back into the radiator before it loses all of its heat, so it does not heat the desired space as it should. As a result people then typically raise the temperature, which uses more electricity.
Underfloor heating systems are also more efficient as it reduces air pollution by not pushing air through its system and due to the moisture content of the warmed air it creates, it reduces the likelihood of dust mites by making the environment inhospitable to their survival. In addition, this heating method is silent. Radiators circulate more air and collect dust while making, typically loud and/or prominent banging or clanging noises as the water filled metal pipes expand and retract while being heated.
In terms of aesthetics and placement, when a traditional radiator is being used over underfloor heating systems, a home owner must be aware of the space around the radiator. Not only are they a noticeable item in a room but also if the space around them is blocked or covered in anyway then the main source of heating is being restricted. With underfloor heating systems there are no bulky radiators to consider because all of the piping is hidden under the floor. You can therefore gain both space and decorating potential with the use of radiant heat.