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Radiators vs Underfloor Heating: Which Wins?

Wednesday 29 June 2022

When it comes to heating your home, there are several ways that you can make this happen. Increasingly, many households are installing underfloor heating systems, however, the trend for using contemporary and stylish radiators is also on the upward trend, but honestly, which is better? Let’s take a look.

The differences

Let’s look at the fundamentals here, after all, not everyone has experienced underfloor heating before. Radiators by their very design are part and parcel of many homes and their functionality and style is something that means people often prefer them. Their practical use as both household heating units and convectors of heat means that even older models still function without much maintenance or extra cost. In many cases, they also provide warmth through their network of pipes too, whether these run under the floor or behind walls.

Underfloor heating by its very nature is less conspicuous but offers a level of control that is unsurpassed. However, expense, maintenance, installation and cost can prove to be much more.

Getting them installed

When it comes to installation, getting a radiator replaced or fixing in a new one couldn’t be easier. Once all connections are secure and a unit is fixed to a wall, heat can be introduced and your home should be toasty within minutes. If larger, or more upright models are being installed, this can take a little more effort and the planning and execution can prove more challenging, but overall, this is generally easy.

Underfloor heating of course is a more involved job. If you are installing into a new build, this can be pre-planned, but if you are retrofitting into an older home, it can be expensive, messy and disruptive. Installing a water-based system as opposed to a dry system also requires changes to plumbing and can also present problems when it comes to floor level. Too much piping can mean an elevated floor where there was none before.

Winner here? Radiators.

Estimating efficiency

Considering efficiency is key to cost and how you run your heating systems. The low temperatures that underfloor heating operates at can mean that a boiler doesn’t have to work very hard. Underfloor heating runs generally at 35C, but radiators run at a much higher 60-80C, which can be a drain on energy.

What really makes a difference here is your insulation, no matter which option you choose, if you are losing your heat through your walls or roof, then any efficiency is lost regardless. 

Winner here? No clear winner, insulation matters.

Long lasting?

When it comes to radiators vs underfloor heating systems, the difference in maintenance costs is huge. Where underfloor heating is reliable and hidden, this comes at a huge inconvenience and cost if things go wrong. Upheaval in terms of lifting floors, clearing furniture and disruption to your daily life means that it can be incredibly inconvenient and costly.

On the other hand, radiators are easily accessible, easy to maintain and can be isolated if things start to go wrong. Replacement is also relatively stress-free due to units having universal plumbing fixtures. Over time, replacing even several radiators can still be cheaper than forking out for expensive remodelling and other costs.

Winner here? Radiators

So which is best?

If we’re being honest, there’s no clear winner here, radiators are obviously our preferred choice, due to the convenience, style and relatively low cost. However, it is understandable that if your house is well-insulated and you need the room, underfloor heating is a viable option. To find out more about our range of radiators, why not browse our range here?  

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