Central Heating and Heat Distribution

There are two key ways of transferring the heat through your home with central heating: radiators and underfloor heating (both can also exist in the same home). The best option for your home depends upon your lifestyle, budget and the heat source that you are using.

Differences between Underfloor Heating and Radiators

Personal taste, lifestyle, and structure of the home are the key considerations when choosing between underfloor pipes and wall-mounted radiators. There are a number of key differences between the two:

  • Underfloor pipes take longer to warm up than radiators (typically around two hours to bring the floor up to temperature, and three to four hours to warm the room). Radiators respond considerably faster because they have less mass than the floor slab.
  • Underfloor pipes are completely hidden and so have no aesthetic impact on the home.
  • Positioning a radiator in a hall or stairway helps distribute heat evenly throughout the home.

    Positioning a radiator in a hall or stairway helps distribute heat evenly throughout the home.

  • The heat delivered by underfloor pipes is exceptionally luxurious and evenly spread. Health experts recommend ground-up heating as the most comfortable and therapeutic for the human body.
  • Both underfloor pipes and radiators can be used in new homes, but because the floor pad is already laid in existing homes, it is more difficult to lay underfloor pipe, and therefore radiators are more common.
  • Underfloor pipes deliver heat to the feet, so the perceived comfort is greater. As a result, the actual room temperature can possibly be one or two degrees below that required with other systems to achieve a similar level of comfort – providing energy cost savings. However, if a system is used for only short periods of time and at infrequent intervals, radiators may return a lower running cost.
  • In a radiator-heated home, you can actually sit on the heat! When you come in from the cold, there is nothing nicer than to lean against a radiator, which warms to a much higher—but safe—surface temperature than an underfloor slab.

We recommend a radiator-based system in areas where the weather conditions are changeable. Underfloor heating is more suited to homes that have tiled or hard floor areas, or in homes constructed of block without wall battening.

  Type of Home Warm Up speed Aesthetic Impact Heat Delivery Floor Covering
Underfloor New and some existing Slower Hidden Evenly spread, luxurious Suited to tiled, hard floors
Radiators New and existing Faster Mounted on walls Radiant, from the source Doesn’t matter

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