Advantages and disadvantages of underfloor heating

Advantages and disadvantages of underfloor heatingRadiant floor. Image: Studiovin Shutterstock

Underfloor heating is an alternative heating technology that replaces conventional radiators. Today we will know its main advantages and disadvantages.


Floor heating.

Underfloor heating is a piping system through which hot water circulates. It allows the rooms of a house to maintain a constant temperature.

The pipe is embedded in the ground. It can be placed on all types of floorswhether it’s laminate, wood, stone, vinyl or carpet.

The system requires a gas or pellet boiler to heat the water and circulate it. This equipment requires a minimal maintenance on a regular basis. If you finally opt for a gas boiler, we advise you to find out about gas boilers to find out which one to choose.

Each room requires the installation of a thermostat used to control water flow in pipes. These devices make it possible to optimize the ambient temperature in the room.

A little history.

Thirty years ago, the idea of ​​underfloor heating was a luxury reserved for the elite. The lucky ones But the desire to have warm feet goes back much further.

From 5000 BC. AD, the earliest types of Kang and Dikang (floor heating) were found in China, while early forms of Ondol (hot stone) were used in Korea.

The Greeks and Romans followed suit on a larger scale around 500 BC, and warmth underfoot was considered essential to Roman baths.

Fortunately, today we don’t need a fireplace to do our own underfloor heating. Advances in technology and understanding of underfloor heating have made it the preferred choice in many new homes, with life cycle costs comparable to traditional radiators.

Recommended for new construction.

It is not recommended for reforms, since this heating system increases the height of the floor by one and a half centimeters. Additionally, it may require cutting doors, removing flooring, among other inconveniences.

Installation of underfloor heating. Image: Wolfgang Filser Shutterstock

How does the radiant floor system work?

Is based on the thermal inertiasince it heats the ground so that it in turn heats the air in the house (from bottom to top).

Types of floor heating.

There are two types of underfloor heating: electric and water.

The electric heaters use wiring over the entire surface of the room in question and are quite easy to install. They can be installed in one part of the room or distributed throughout it. They are a little more expensive than water, although this depends on your current electricity provider, so many only have part of the room covered to offset the cost. Either way, it’s still cheaper than the radiator alternative.

The water-based underfloor heating uses tubes instead of cables to heat the house, which connects to the boiler. The downside is that its installation is more complicated than its electrical counterparts and may not be applicable in some buildings.

Advantages of underfloor heating

  • It has low power consumption.
  • The heating is more homogeneous.
  • By not using the conventional radiator, it leaves more free space in the rooms.
  • It is comfortable and safe.
  • It is easy to install in new homes.

Low power consumption.

One of the biggest benefits of underfloor heating is that it can be much more energy efficient than typical traditional radiators.

This is because the heat is evenly distributed throughout the room, making the floor itself what is called a “radiant heater”. This way the heater does not need to be on for a long time before the whole room reaches the desired temperature, saving energy.

Radiators only heat the areas they are in, resulting in uneven temperatures and multiple cold spots in the room.

As underfloor heaters are spread across the entire floor surface, they will maintain a balanced temperature and leave no cold spots without heat.

Additionally, radiators need to reach a much higher temperature to heat a room than their underfloor heating counterparts and use a lot more energy in the process.

More space in your home.

The most obvious advantage of underfloor heating is that you won’t need a visible radiator.

Although we have become accustomed to their presence in the house, radiators can be uncomfortable, especially if the room is smaller.

With underfloor heating, the walls are free to do what you want with them.

Better experience.

Radiators do the bare minimum when it comes to heating your home. That’s not to say they’re not a viable option, but when it comes to efficiency and comfort, underfloor heating systems are a cut above their older counterparts. For example, if your living room has a heater located right next to your sofa, it can quickly become quite uncomfortable.

Indeed, the heat is localized in an area and becomes much hotter than the temperature of an underfloor heating. So, instead of getting an evenly heated room, you get too hot and much of the space too cold. Additionally, heaters can dry out the air and make health problems like asthma worse.

Little or no maintenance.

Floor standing radiators require very little maintenance because, once the initial installation is complete, virtually no further maintenance is required.

In the case of electric floor heaters, maintenance is infrequent, although water systems do require an occasional check to make sure everything is working properly.

This makes them much better than boilers or electric alternatives, as these older appliances can suffer multiple failures or malfunctions throughout their lifespan.

More control.

Conventional radiators generally rely on a single thermostat that adjusts the temperature in each room of the house, but underfloor heating systems can be much more specific.

They work through software that can regulate the heat in each room. This avoids wasting energy, as unused parts do not need to be heated, and it also saves you a little money. This also allows for greater convenience, as the control software can even be used with a smartphone or tablet.

The system works with hot water at low temperature (35°C). Also works with aerothermal and geothermal, that is, it is designed to work with low temperature equipment.

Disadvantages of underfloor heating

Sometimes the water that is sent to the ground can have a very high temperature, which can cause discomfort in the feet.

It is an installation that is not accessible to everyone. It’s usually expensive and it requires that the property be new, given the inconvenience it generates if the building needs renovation.

  • Cost – The initial cost can be considerable and the installation of the system can cause a lot of disruption in your home. In older buildings, creating the right conditions below ground can also be costly.
  • Time – Underfloor heating takes longer to turn on than a radiator, so you need to use a timer to predict when you want heat in certain rooms.
  • Furniture – It cannot be used under certain furniture or accessories, which limits the organization of the house. Large and heavy items may need to disappear completely.
  • Installation – If you opt for a water system, you will have to pay a professional to install it. On the other hand, smaller systems may not heat the room enough and require heaters anyway.

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