18.12.18

Why are more homes being built with underfloor heating pre-installed?


Most homes nowadays are arriving on the market with underfloor heating pre-installed. Here we explore why there is a trend towards heating from below rather than the standard use of radiators.

Improved technologies
For about the last twenty years there has been a significant advancement in technology. This means that underfloor heating becomes a more rational choice, as the heat is no longer lost into the soil. This means that underfloor heating can now be used to improve the energy efficiency of a house, meeting new building regulations easier than alternative heating systems.

Ironically, UFH is not a new tech. There are examples found in Roman villas, where there were brick pillars and wood fires below the tiled floor. Yet, in the 90s it suddenly became innovative again. However, the snaking pipes needed to be buried into a whole load of concrete to make them send heat up into the house, and this was far from environmentally friendly. The depth of the concrete needed was just too prohibitive. This is where improved technologies have particularly helped new builders. New insulations and screeds have reduced the reliance on concrete and screed depths may only need to be about 4 cm. 

Smart technologies also mean that the owner can control the heating from a phone or tablet. This makes the use of zonal heating more common sense, as it doesn’t need some form of engineering degree to work the heating panel anymore. This also makes heating cheaper, as the owner can heat a single room, rather than the whole house. This is not just convenience, as such a system can significantly save money.

Even heat
The quality of the heat provided is also much more superior from UFH. Radiators create hot spots and draughty areas. As the heat is coming up through the floor, and heat rises, then the heat is more evening spread across space. Many of us have bought an additional heater to cope with a radiator blind spot, which can be expensive to run. There is no such need with UFH systems.

There is another more pragmatic reason why underfloor heating provides more even heat. The radiators are against walls by necessity, and sometimes under windows. If there is a problem with the window, then the heat is lost. Also, we generally put our furniture against the walls. This means that most radiators are at least partially blocked, with heat seeping into the metal, wood or fabric of the item of furniture.

The Aesthetic
The aesthetic is a smart way of saying that it looks good. Generally speaking, radiators are ugly creations and require external pipes to some degree. New home builders take the opportunity to place underfloor heating during construction because it gives a better finish to the home. It also makes sense because retro-fitting underfloor heating is difficult and costlier. It is also now possible to find a carpet that can be used with UFH, which means the homeowner isn't forced into concrete or vinyl flooring. This has also improved the final look of the home and increased its popularity.

There is also a perception that underfloor heating is a luxurious item in a house. This means that people are likely to pay more for the house because of this heating system. Even though the cost to the builder is significantly higher, it offers much better returns. The investment could disproportionately increase the selling price of the home. 

This willingness of the home buyer to pay more for a house with UFH may purely be an aesthetic issue, or more likely it is a perception that only expensive homes usually have UFH. It is unlikely that home-buyers have yet been educated enough to realise that this heating system could eventually save them money. However, this is maybe something that the salesperson could also use to their advantage.

In short
Overall, the popularity of underfloor heating is a mixture of tech moving forward but attitudes lagging behind. People perceive UFH to be a luxury and tech means that it is now practicality. This means new home builders are making hay because they get to put in a system that makes them more money and makes the home-buyer feel comforted. Visit Underfloor Heating Trade Supplies for more information on the underfloor heating products that we sell.

5 comments:

  1. That is fascinating. I had no idea it was undergoing a resurgence, or that it could save money in the long run. It's great to hear that there has been so much innovation in heating.

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  2. Not only is it super practical and efficient - from a designers point of view, it allows far more freedom for creating a unique room space.

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  3. My sister and brother-in-law have just moved house to one with underfloor heating. He used to wander about in his socks in his previous house but has had to go and buy a pair of slippers to wear in this house due to the heat from the underfloor heating on his feet!

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  4. Hooray! The end to radiators is in sight - eventually. Several people I know who have extended their homes have opted for underfloor heating and are pleased with it. Well worth considering.

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  5. Great step forward - would love this throughout my home

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