Do you need radiators with underfloor heating?

Posted in: Energy and Heating

Do you need radiators with underfloor heating?

A radiator and a wet underfloor heating systemA radiator and a wet underfloor heating system

In years gone by, the main way of heating your home was to mount radiators in strategic places on the wall. However, underfloor heating has become much more common and is a serious alternative heating solution for a wide range of homes in the UK. If you're thinking of having underfloor heating installed in your home then knowing whether or not you can dispense completely with radiators afterwards is a very common and important question that we'll look at in more detail in this article.

Is underfloor heating cheaper than radiators?

When looking at the differences in installation costs between underfloor heating and radiators, a variety of factors need to be taken into account.

When it comes to underfloor heating (UFH), installation costs tend to be higher than putting in new radiators. This is because more work is required to fit the underfloor heating into the floor than is involved with hanging a radiator on a wall and connecting it to the pipework.

There are a few points that will impact upon the final installation costs of a UFH install:

The age of the house. It will cost less to install UFH in a new build than it would to retro-fit it into an older building.
The thickness of the floors. If the depth of the floors need to be increased, this will increase the cost.
The type of underfloor heating. Electric UFH will be cheaper to install than wet UFH but will likely be more expensive to run.
The size of the home. The larger the floorspace, the higher the installation costs will be.
The previous heating system. Will an old heating system need to be removed before the new UFH goes in?
These are all things to think about when considering the possibility of installing underfloor heating. Installation costs can be anywhere between £60 - £120 per square metre, so it's recommended you speak to a professional who can assess your individual circumstances.

When it comes to radiators, it will cost approximately £800 - £1000 including labour to have a new set of 8 radiators installed. If a new boiler is required, this will increase the initial cost by at least £3000. Again, for a more specific figure, please speak to a professional installer.

How efficient is underfloor heating compared to radiators?

Though installation costs are much higher with UFH, they can be more efficient when it comes to day-to-day energy usage than radiators.

The right-sized radiator is very effective at heating up a room to a comfortable temperature, however there's no getting away from the fact that, due to their placement, the specific area of the room around the radiator will be warmer than everywhere else. With UFH, the heat elements are evenly spread underneath the floor, giving a nice even heat distribution. With wet UFH, the water also does not need to be heated up to such as high a temperature as it does in a radiator, which can contribute the lower heating bills.

One of the downsides is that is is not always possible to install underfloor heating in every room. It's usually installed in rooms that have hard flooring (like tiles or wood) rather than rooms that are heavily carpeted. This often means that people choose to have UFH in rooms with hard floors and limited wall space such as bathrooms, kitchens and conservatories, but still rely on radiators elsewhere.

Another potential problem is that wet underfloor heating tends to take longer to heat the room than a radiator. Electric UFH will provide a more instantaneous response but tends to be less efficient and cost effective than the wet version on a monthly basis.

Can underfloor heating be connected to the radiator system?

Yes. A wet underfloor heating system relies on hot water running through it in order to provide heat, so a wet underfloor heating system can indeed be connected up to your existing central heating and radiator system. Electric underfloor heating is connected to your mains electricity supply and would not be connected t your existing hot water central heating system.

If a new extension is being built, many will choose to have wet underfloor heating installed during construction and keep radiators in the rest of the house. Alternatively, some will have UFH installed downstairs but finder it cheaper and more practical to leave radiators in place upstairs.

One thing to keep in mind is that, in order to function most effectively and efficiently, the temperature of the water needed for the UFH will be lower than the water needed in your radiators. Depending on your system, your installer may have to make some changes around your boiler in order to accommodate this. You can speak to a professional to get more detail on what will be required for your system.

Can underfloor heating replace radiators?

It's certainly possible for UFH to completely replace radiators. This is particularly possible if you are building a new house and are completely in control of how it would be constructed. Adding UFH as the house is built is the most cost-effective way of in stalling it and avoids the high initial costs that put off many people from retro-fitting it into their own homes.

Equally, if you do have the budget and aren't concerned about the temporary disruption caused by installation, then replacing radiators with a new underfloor heating system could be a great option for you.

However, in most instances, people who are interested in underfloor heating tend to use it as a complement to the radiators in their homes. This provides a really flexible method of heating and ensures that you're getting exactly the right amount of heat in exactly the right places.

Compatible underfloor heating radiators

At Trade Radiators we want everyone to find the ideal radiator for any space, that will work in harmony with an underfloor heating system or equally well as the sole source of heat. Whether you’re looking for a no-frills simple heating solution to a small box room, or feel like updating your old bathroom panel radiator for something sleek and stylish, we've got a range of sizes and finishes to help you make your perfect choice.

With the best range of radiators you’ll find from any UK store, better delivery and our unique price promise, we aim to help any room across the country get the radiator it deserves. It all starts with knowing what you need from a new radiator.

Shop our extensive range of quality radiators by what matters to you most. Whether you’re looking for a specific style of radiator, such as column or designer, or a particular colour to suit your home’s interior, Trade Radiators has something to suit you.

11 January 2022