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Can You Combine Underfloor Heating with Radiators?

Underfloor heating has grown in popularity thanks to its easy maintenance and efficiency. Read on to find out if you can combine this luxury heating solution with radiators.

While radiators are the traditional way to heat homes in the UK, underfloor heating is becoming increasingly popular thanks to its desirable style and overall efficiency. It is also very easy to combine with the existing radiator set up in your home. 

In this article, we’ll take a look at the key benefits of underfloor heating and also how you can easily combine with radiators. 

What is underfloor heating?

Underfloor heating is exactly that. It is a heating system that is positioned underneath your flooring which essentially turns your floor into a radiator - and a big one at that! 

As the heat rises and permeates through the room, it will warm your home much the same as a radiator does, but it’s much more economical thanks to its large surface area. You won’t need to reach temperatures as high as a radiator or towel rail as the heated floor warms up and keeps the room at an optimum temperature.

Underfloor heating systems can sit under almost any type of floor - stone, tile, wood and carpet - and come in two main types: electric underfloor heating and water underfloor heating - sometimes referred to as wet and dry systems respectively.

The process of installation involves using heated cabling or heated mats underneath your floor to gently warm the floor. A lot of the time, these can be controlled using a switch or timed thermostat to make sure you have a toasty room before you even step foot inside!

You can find out more about the types of underfloor heating systems in our article: Underfloor Heating Explained.

Can you combine underfloor heating with radiators?

You can enjoy the flexibility a choice of both underfloor heating and radiators brings, this has become increasingly popular in all homes but particularly in new and self-build homes especially.

When used in combination with radiators, underfloor heating works well downstairs where it can be more airy and open. Then upstairs you can have additional heat sources like electric or plumbed towel rails and radiators where rooms are smaller and more closed off. 

Underfloor heating can still be installed upstairs, however, as well as being installed throughout your home as its sole heat source. It is very much down to personal preference. 

When talking about where to put your upstairs radiators for maximum heat efficiency, first understand which areas upstairs require heating. In simple terms, heating spaces and rooms which are unoccupied is going to waste energy so you may not require a heat source there. Similarly , you may be able to install heated towel rails in smaller bathrooms to save money, but always cross check the BTU requirements of your space to ensure you have an adequate radiator for the size of the room that needs heating.

Underfloor heating is positioned underneath your flooring which essentially turns your floor into a radiator

Can underfloor heating replace radiators?

The short answer is yes, but you should be sure that this is the most adequate and efficient heat source for your home.

Some of the gripes we hear often about underfloor heating is that it doesn't work properly - but that is not usually the fault of the system itself, but rather it not being appropriate for your property. For instance, in older, multi-storey houses that need lots of work to bring all areas of the home back into energy efficiency, such as where windows and doors have draughts or the walls are not properly insulated. This type of property is going to waste energy and cost a lot to fully kit out in underfloor heating so one counteracts the other. But most houses can enjoy the combination of heat sources without much problems at all. In fact, underfloor heating systems are a modern and advanced way to heat your home which means they are less likely to need as much maintenance as standard radiators. 

Because of this you do find a lot of newly built homes these days will have underfloor heating forming all or part of the heat source to the home. And more often than not, it will be divided as we suggested earlier - into radiators upstairs and underfloor heating downstairs. The benefits of this is that a lot of new build (or self build) homes will have dual thermostats so you can control the temperatures of upstairs and downstairs individually. 

How do you install underfloor heating?

Underfloor heating can be retrofitted, although this is pricier to install than if you were to put it in at the point of build because you will have to get underneath the floorboards to fit the pipes. 

You install it one of two ways.

Underfloor central heating pipes

If you already have a central heating system around your home then this is usually the option for you. Pipes fitted beneath the flooring are linked to the central heating system and work just as a radiator would - controlled by your boiler and thermostat. 

Electric underfloor heating

The other way - and one that is slowly gaining popularity with the cost of energy so high - is electric underfloor heating. These are far easier to install and cheaper using either heat mats or heat cables. Once you have your mats laid out under the flooring, you can hook them up to an underfloor heating thermostat. This can be controlled much like a boiler thermostat and even via your phone - fancy warm feet when you get home?

Underfloor heating is costly, you’re probably thinking. Well, yes, the initial costs of installing underfloor heating can seem expensive at first, especially if you are retrofitting, but the long term savings can very much make it a worthwhile investment. Plus, if you think you might consider selling your property at some point, buyers will find this an extremely desirable feature of your home. 

Take a look at the underfloor heating range we offer here at Only Radiators along with our heated towel rails. We hope this article has been helpful, if you need any additional advice, visit our help hub where one of the team will be happy to answer any questions. 

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