Giacomini explains why underfloor heating is becoming evermore popular and the benefits to any selfbuild project
In the face of rising heating bills, homeowners and housebuilders are always on the lookout for cost effective solutions. This is why underfloor heating systems are becoming increasingly favourable. The benefits of underfloor heating are endless, not only does it save money but it also has significant health and well-being benefits.
Underfloor heating systems use radiant energy instead of convection currents used by modern convection radiators. Convection results in the floor being the coolest part of the room, leaving a mass of warm air at ceiling level It also picks up fine dust particles from the floor and distributes them into the air and over furnishings.
By heating almost entirely by radiation, underfloor heating is the most natural, efficient and comfortable form of heating. With underfloor heating the whole floor becomes an emitter for the radiated heat, the energy reaches into every corner of the room or space evenly, giving a consistent temperature throughout the room, which means no cold spots, no warm ceiling and no cold feet! It also retains heat for longer than a radiator after the system has been switched off.
The large surface area of the floor means the system does not have to be heated to the same high temperatures as a radiator. By distributing heat through the use of lower operating temperatures, underfloor heating can reduce running costs by up to 30 per cent. A further financial benefit of underfloor heating is that it is has no maintenance costs; this is because the system has no moving parts. Cost efficiency is also boosted by minimising waste energy. Underfloor heating allows different rooms to have different temperatures, which is achieved by thermostats that allow independent control.
Aside from being a great way of minimising costs, underfloor heating is healthier for its environment. Reduced air movement means a reduction in dust and airborne germs so that homes are cleaner and healthier, which is good for those with asthma or allergies. Underfloor heating also reduces the moisture content in the room, which further reduces the presence of dust, as the dust mites cannot survive as well without moisture. It is also effective in reducing the problems in dwellings caused by damp. A further benefit of underfloor heating is its safety. Safety features such as lower running temperatures and no protruding radiators have resulted in underfloor heating being the number one heating choice for hospitals, schools and care homes.
Underfloor heating is one of the most versatile heating options available on the market today. Due to its low flow and return temperatures it can be combined to work with many renewable technologies, for example heat pumps, biomass boilers or solar thermal systems. This allows further reductions in energy costs and carbon footprint. It can be installed in new builds or retrospectively, making it an option for most building projects. The uses of underfloor heating are endless – it is even being used on farms to heat greenhouses and grow tomatoes! Not only that, underfloor heating in a property is a good selling point and makes the house more desirable, which in turn increases the property price. Add that to the endless money saving benefits and the choice is easy!
Once you’ve decided that underfloor heating is the option for you, you need to choose a supplier. The most convenient and trusted providers are those that offer a complete package, from design and manufacture through to installation and commissioning. The benefits of in house production are being more widely recognised and companies that not only supply and manufacture all of the components required for a heating project, but also provide the design and installation, are seeing an increase in custom. Keeping all services in house means that you will be assured of excellence and control throughout the entire design and manufacturing process without the concern of subcontracting and supply chains. This method, which is rapidly becoming the preference for many people, will not only boost your confidence in your decision but will also give you a single point of responsibility and liability, as well as a permanent supply of spare parts.
This year will undoubtedly see more news stories about heating bills rising but with the above information in mind, there are plenty of options available to you to help maximise the efficiency, both energy and cost, of your housing project.
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