If you’re hunting for a new home, this article will guide you through the pros and cons of living with underfloor heating. To help you choose the perfect property, we talk you through the environmental and financial benefits of choosing a home with an underfloor heating system. Without resorting to technical jargon, our Underfloor Heating Trade Supplies experts also explain the differences between ‘wet’ and ‘dry’ underfloor heating systems.
Why is Underfloor Heating Such a Hot Topic Right Now?
Just a few decades ago, issues like climate change and air pollution rarely made headline news. These days, energy efficiency, fossil fuel supplies and global warming are high on the agenda of governments worldwide. Whether it’s recycling waste or cutting fuel consumption, most UK families are actively involved in reducing their environmental footprint. When it comes to moving to a new house, your new property’s domestic heating system can affect your environmental impact as well as your family budget.
What Makes Underfloor Heating so Attractive for Home buyers?
Visually, the absence of exposed pipework and clunky radiators makes underfloor heating instantly appealing to many modern home buyers. As well as offering an uncluttered, minimal look, a room without radiators opens-up more wall and floor space. These are particularly important factors in an energy efficient new-build which may have smaller rooms.
When it comes to cleanliness, traditional radiators do tend to gather dust. With all the pipework concealed beneath the floor, underfloor heating systems are widely regarded as a cleaner, healthier option.
Unlike traditional radiators, underfloor heating transforms the whole floor space of a room into a heater. As well as being cosy underfoot, the heat is evenly distributed. This means that there should be none of the cold ‘ends’ or corners that are typical in rooms with radiators.
From an environmental point of view, a home with underfloor heating is usually more eco-friendly than a home fitted with radiators. This is because underfloor heating operates at a lower temperature. The lower operating temperature doesn’t mean that the room feels colder. The main difference is that most underfloor heating will take a little longer to bring a room up to a comfortable temperature.
What’s the Difference Between Dry and Wet Underfloor Heating?
For anyone hunting for a new property, the heating costs of the new house are likely to be one of the main factors influencing the decision to place an offer. If the house is fitted with ‘dry’ underfloor heating, the whole system will be powered by electricity.
If the new property is fitted with ‘wet’ underfloor heating, warm running water will be circulated through the underfloor pipework. Most wet systems are currently heated by gas-fired condensing boilers. Other heat sources for wet systems include oil-fired boilers, and occasionally, ground or air-source heat pumps. Heat pumps are complex mechanical units designed to extract and concentrate the warmth naturally available from the air around us, or the earth a few metres underground.
Currently, dry (electric) underfloor heating systems are usually more expensive to run than wet systems with a gas-fired condensing boiler. These days, there are also many more properties fitted with solar panels, heat pumps and other sources of renewable energy. Calculating the actual running costs of an eco-friendly property can be quite a challenge!
How to Assess the Heating Costs of a New Home
Thankfully, UK Building Regulations have been dramatically improved over recent years. This means that all domestic properties on the housing market must have an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate). These certificates show basic details of a building’s energy performance ratings. The UK Government EPC Register site is a great resource for UK house-hunters. Simply enter the postcode of any property on your shortlist to view its energy efficiency ratings.
Another essential tip for anyone buying a new home with underfloor heating is to request the operation and maintenance manuals from the seller. To get maximum efficiency from the heating system, you’ll need to actively manage the programmed settings for each underfloor heating zone. Really, it’s no more complicated than a radiator system, but you do need to give an underfloor system more time to warm up a room.
In an age of environmental awareness, opting for underfloor heating is a smart move for any home buyer.
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