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The Benefits of Underfloor Heating

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Many of us now have central heating, although homes in the UK still have a variety of energy sources running their systems, including gas, electricity, solid fuel and oil. Some even have solar or wind-powered energy sources although in most cases the majority of the energy used to run our central heating systems is gas powered, with electricity and oil following behind.

The one constant, certainly in the 1980’s was that most homes heated by a central source were fuelling a radiator-based system. Basically, a string of metal heat exchangers linked together by pipework in order to heat each room. The whole system was usually regulated by way of a centrally located heating thermostat.

The downside to using a radiator or other point-source such as a solid fuel open fire or gas or electric fire is one of inefficiency. All these systems work by heating air which is well known for being an extremely good insulative material. Furthermore, the air that’s heated moves around each room and, if the doors to your rooms are open, around the house too. And where does hot air go? Well, it rises.

Many homes with point sources such as fires, storage heaters or central heating radiators will have warm first floors and ceilings (if only you could get up there!) whilst the area we live in, a few feet from ground level, remains relatively cool. This is inefficient and means you are wasting lots of money heating air that rises above your head and then only comes back to you after it has cooled and commenced its return to earth.

Unlike these sources of heating, underfloor heating radiates heat from below, well, the floor and as such, all warm air passes you as it rises. It also allows you to have a wider range of floor coverings all year round, without the unpleasant feel of cold tiles under your feet. In addition, heating a floor easily enables you to regulate temperatures by way of a thermostat, room by room. You even benefit from heat retention in the floor (for example in the tiles or concrete screed in which it’s usually set) meaning that your floor remains warm, and keeps you warm, even after the boiler has turned off.

Of course, you don’t have to run underfloor heating from a central source, such as a boiler. Underfloor heating can use a sealed water system running from the boiler or it might be powered by electricity. Either way, the way the room is heated is more regular than with an open fire or radiator system. The other big advantage is that you have much more scope when it comes to laying out your room and decorating. No inconveniently placed fires or radiators to worry about.

Underfloor heating is now a viable option for the modern home and with DIY options now available to those with the skills and the time, that stone-clad ensuite bathroom that’s warm to the naked foot might be just a few hundred pounds away. For those less adventurous souls, always consider a specialist in the area. Make sure you obtain at least three clear quotes from three contractors and always check their work by speaking with former customers.

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