What is Radiant Floor Heating?
Radiant floor heating, also known as underfloor heating, is a form of heating. Unlike regular heating systems that emit heat from a radiator, radiant floor heating is placed beneath the floor in order to warm the whole room evenly.
There are two kinds of radiant floor heating; water underfloor heating, and electric underfloor heating. Underfloor heating pumps heated water from the boiler through tubes in order to warm the room. Whereas electric underfloor heating sends electricity through cables in order to achieve the same effect.
Whilst warm-water radiant floors are around 3 times cheaper to run than their electric counterparts, they have a higher installation cost. The table below holds more information on the two different kinds of radiant floor heating.
|UFH system type
|Warm water/wet underfloor heating
|Suitable for all types of project including new build, renovation and single areas
|Low long-term running costs
|Higher upfront cost than electric UFH but much cheaper to run
|Varies depending on project size and UFH system
|Electric underfloor heating
|Recommended for smaller spaces, like a bathroom, due to running cost.
|Around 3x more than warm water underfloor heating
|Generally cheaper to install
|Install in a single room in just a few hours
Radiant Floor Heating VS. Radiators
Central heating is the most common form of heating in the UK. It works by pumping heated water from the boiler to the radiator. The radiator then emits heat to warm up the room.
However, the problem with radiators is that you tend to get one area of the room that’s hotter than another. If you find yourself in the dreaded cold patch, then you either have to; turn the heating up in the hope that the heat travels further, employ the help of a plug-in electrical heater, or put on more layers of clothing. Two of those options will drive up your energy bill, and all three are rather inconvenient.
The solution? Radiant floor heating. With RFH, the whole room is heated evenly and efficiently, meaning you can say goodbye to the days of being cold because you’re not sitting by the radiator.
Contrary to popular belief, radiant floor heating doesn’t just heat the floor, either. Hot air rises, so you can rest assured that your radiant floor system will heat the whole room.
In addition to this, RFH only needs to operate at temperatures between 25-30 degrees, in order to be effective. Whereas radiators need to be set to a higher temperature, usually between 60-80 degrees. So, not only is radiant floor heating better for your carbon footprint, but your energy bills too.
That being said, we don’t have to strike radiators from our lives completely. Radiant floor heaters and radiators can be used in tandem.
If you want to dive deeper into this topic, we have a whole blog post dedicated to underfloor heating vs. radiators.
What are the benefits of Radiant Floor Heating?
From saving space, costs and the planet, radiant floor heating comes with many advantages. Have a look at our top 7.
Space & style
Radiant floor heating operates under the floor, making it effectively invisible. This means your interior design isn’t dictated by which wall(s) the radiator is on. You can decorate and organise your furniture with a lot more creative freedom. As a result, rooms will feel more spacious, and look stylish, modern and sophisticated, too.
RFH can be installed in any property type, upstairs or downstairs, in new builds, extensions, and renovations. Install it in one room, or the whole house – the choice is completely yours. Radiant floor heating is led by your needs, and not the other way around. It’s compatible with most floor types too, including, wood, carpet, tiles, laminate and vinyl. If you want to read more about the best floor types for UFH, take a look at our blog.
Warm-water radiant floor heating is 25% percent more efficient than radiators. If you paired the system with a heat pump, it’s a staggering 40% more efficient. RFH covers a larger area than radiators, at a lower temperature, but still heats the room more efficiently – that’s pretty impressive if you ask us!
This is good news for your energy bill too. The reduction in energy required to heat the room will mean you’ll see a reduction in your monthly bill.
This moves us nicely on to our next point – in being more energy efficient, radiant floor heating is kinder on the planet too. Installing an underfloor heating system can help you reduce your carbon emissions, and in turn lower your carbon footprint.
Unlike radiators, there are no sharp edges or boiling points that young children, or the elderly, could potentially hurt themselves on. Even though they heat from the ground up, floors with heating underneath will never be too hot or uncomfortable to walk on. However, they will ensure that cold floors feel warm and luxurious to walk on – even in the morning!
After you’ve installed your radiant heating system, it’s pretty much smooth sailing. You can control the temperature and programme a heating schedule through a smart thermostat. So you don’t need to worry about manually turning it on every time you want to use it. For that extra peace of mind, our radiant floor systems also come with lifetime tech support, as well as warranty protection.
Now that we’ve explored the benefits of radiant floor heating, it’s only right that we assess its drawbacks too.
Are there any drawbacks to Radiant Floor Heating?
As with any product, there are both pros and cons to RFH. And whilst we believe the positives outweigh the negatives, it wouldn’t be fair to let you leave without highlighting those negatives.
Most of the drawbacks to radiant floor heating are linked to the logistics of installing it, rather than running it, but let’s take a look at them in some more detail.
The cost of radiant floor heating will depend on a number of factors, and there is no denying that it’s not pocket change. However, radiant floor heating can add value to the property, and save you money on heating costs in the long run.
Purchasing a bespoke screed radiant floor heating system for a new build with 100m2 floor area, would cost approximately £5,000 (£50 per square metre). This excludes the screed, but that may have already been factored into the cost of the new build. Read more about underfloor heating for new builds here.
When it comes to renovations, the average cost of a downstairs floor area of 60m2 is approximately £6,000 (£100 per square metre). The costs are higher because they cover everything you would need to install the radiant floor system. Read more about retrofit underfloor heating here.
Once you have purchased the radiant floor system, you then need to think about the cost of installing it. It’s important that it’s done correctly by a qualified heating and plumbing engineer. This can vary depending on the area of the UK you live in, and the type of underfloor heating system being installed. Find your installer here.
As an estimate, if we take the 50m2 squared new build, and consider a professional that charges £60 per hour, you could expect the installation to cost around £1,715.
On the other hand, for smaller, simpler projects you may be able to save some costs by installing the fixing system and tube yourself. Then get the plumber to set up the manifold and connect it back to the boiler.
Electric running costs
It’s not a dealbreaker, but something to be aware of is that electric heating systems cost more to run that warm-water. That’s why we recommend only having them in smaller rooms, such as the bathroom, as opposed to installing them throughout the whole house.
Whilst you won’t have to go through the inconvenience of digging up your floor to install radiant floor heating if you’re renovating, the height of the floor is likely to increase. This is because our overlay solutions are installed on top of existing solid or timber floors – however this build up is as low as 15-22mm with our LoPro® systems. This increase may mean that doors need sanding down.
On the whole, we think that the benefits that radiant floor heating brings to your home, easily outweigh the con’s.
We hope that our complete guide to radiant floor heating has come in useful. If you have any questions, or would like to make an inquiry about installing RFH in your house, then Nu-Heat will be more than happy to help. Simply fill out the inquiry form at the bottom of our UFH contact page, and one of our helpful experts will be in touch to discuss your project in more detail.