Can Underfloor Heating Replace Radiators?

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Once you consider an underfloor heating system, your radiators can quickly seem obsolete. Depending on your heat loss calculations, you could get rid of your radiators and replace them entirely with an underfloor heating system.

The heat loss calculation will demonstrate whether the heating requirement of your rooms can be met, and exceeded, by the heat output of the underfloor heating system.

After that, it is just a case of finding out which rooms would benefit and how big a project it should be.

In this guide, we will look at why underfloor heating should replace radiators, the considerations you need to make, the heat loss calculation, and how radiators can work with an underfloor heating system.

Why Underfloor Heating Should Replace Radiators?

If your home has a central heating system then replacing the radiators with underfloor heating can seem very tempting.

For one, you should see an improvement in the air quality as radiators tend to move dust and pollen around with convection heating.

The heating distribution should also be far more efficient and comfortable due to how the underfloor heating would emit radiant heat.

An underfloor heating system can also be versatile and come in various forms fit to heat any home. From low profile / rapid response systems, such as those used in Wundatherm’s Premium+ Overfloor Boards, to between joist and screed underfloor heating systems.

With underfloor heating, you can enjoy zoning control, and heat specific rooms, using a thermostat. Your bare floors would also be heated for when you walk across them barefoot, even in the depths of winter.

Without radiators, you can enjoy some more space on your walls with a heating system that is pretty much invisible.

This can also mean a few more options for interior design and fewer restrictions for the furniture you want to place in your living room.

There will also be a sizable reduction in hotspots as you can enjoy an even heating distribution. An underfloor heating system should also be more energy efficient when covering a suitably large surface area.

The Considerations To Make

The primary consideration to make for an underfloor heating system may be whether you want it across your entire home.

As long as the heat loss calculation makes sense, then you could certainly use underfloor heating instead of radiators.

The calculation should be done in every room so you can focus on the rooms that would benefit the most based on whether the heat output from the underfloor heating system matches the heating requirements of the space.

For it to truly work, the maximum heat output must be higher than the total heat loss.

Installing an underfloor heating system may form part of a refurbishment or a new build project, in which case this could be the ideal opportunity.

Aside from being an efficient heating system, by getting rid of the radiators you could create more space in your home and not have to perform any maintenance while enjoying a comfortable temperature.

Can Underfloor Heating Replace Radiators

The Heat Loss Calculation

The most crucial consideration to make involves the heat loss calculation. This is a figure of how much heat loss you expect to occur in your home based on each room.

Depending on the installation, this can be based on a single room or as an entire sum for the whole house.

The heat loss calculation will be performed before an installation takes place as it finds out how energy efficient the system would be and how well insulated your home is.

An underfloor heating system is generally considered to be a gentle heat that is evenly distributed across the floor.

For the system to work effectively, your home needs to help retain the heat and this is performed by various means of insulation.

For instance, the loft insulation should be complete and at around 270mm in depth. Then subfloor and walls would also require insulation, typically solid wall or cavity wall insulation are popular choices.

For a high energy efficiency rating, a home should have double-glazed windows and doors to keep draughts to a strict minimum.

The subfloor should be insulated though in a renovation it is not entirely practical to simply add more insulation and Wundatherm’s Premium+ Overfloor Boards do not have a requirement to dig up the floor.

The floor itself should also help to transmit the heat and tile has a high thermal conductivity rating compared to carpet which does not rank that highly.

With all the insulation taken into consideration, the heat loss calculation is made by adding conduction to infiltration.

The infiltration will be how much of that heated air is escaping to be replaced by the cold air coming in from outside.

That conduction is another form of heat loss, specifically the heat that is lost through your home’s walls, floor, windows, and roof.

How Underfloor Heating Could Work With Radiators

Should you be worried about completely removing all the radiators from your home then you can be assured that it does not have to be that way.

An underfloor heating system can be combined with existing radiators which could be the ideal solution. With a flexible retrofit underfloor heating system, there is the opportunity to create a hybrid radiator/underfloor heating system.

If you are interested in a new build, such as an extension, then you could simply install the underfloor heating system there and use the radiators in the rest of your home.

Another method is to install an underfloor heating system downstairs while maintaining the radiators to heat the upstairs areas. This is typically due to the cost-effectiveness of only installing a ground-floor heating system.

An efficient, modern combi-boiler can help run two systems. Should your heat losses be excessively high and you are struggling to find ways to reduce them, an underfloor heating system can be supplemented by your existing radiators.

Effectively, the heat output of the underfloor heating system is topped up by the radiators to meet the high demands of a space with large heatlosses.

Typically, your home will not require such a heating setup, reducing your heat loss is more cost-effective, especially in the colder months.

Final Thoughts

Yes, an underfloor heating system can replace radiators yet it is a question of whether your property is ready.

An underfloor heating system is highly capable of heating homes that have been renovated and are built to modern standards.

You would need to perform a heat loss calculation as some rooms may require additional insulation prior to installing the system.

Ensure you have the right insulation and you may be able to get rid of your radiators and enjoy a bit more room in your living space.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Is More Expensive, An Underfloor Heating System Or Radiators?

While there is the initial outlay to consider due to the installation price, you should see a saving over years with underfloor heating.

As an underfloor heating system produces the same heat output at a lower temperature as radiators, the running costs would be reduced.

How Long Should I Expect An Underfloor Heating System To Last?

As well as the running costs being lower for an underfloor heating system when compared to radiators, you should also enjoy a longer lifespan. An underfloor heating system should be expected to last for 50 years or longer.

Consider that a radiator may only last for around 12 years before it requires replacing and this goes some way to proving how effective an underfloor heating system can be.

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