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Heating Sources - Radiators or UFH

It is warming up here in London, finally, but are you in the process of choosing a heat source for your home, it is one of the early decisions that has to be made if planning a home renovation.


You have moved home, building a new home or maybe building an extension at the side and the rear of your property. When it comes to choosing your heating source, the decision can sometimes be a little difficult. The two main proposals are underfloor heating and radiators. Of course, finance is a big decider but which one is more beneficial in the long run?

If going back to the basics, what is the difference between underfloor heating and radiators? Underfloor heating (UFH) is concealed underneath the floorboards, tending to be the emitter of choice for new projects as it cannot be seen and does not have an impact on the interior design and taking up wall space.


Underfloor heating works by making the whole floor area into a giant heat emitter via warm pipes if it is wet underfloor heating. If it is an electric system, then electric mats are concealed within the floor structure. The heat is gently released and only needs to be a few degrees warmer than the room temperature. Due to the entire floor area being covered, there are no cold spots with the heat spread evenly throughout.


Due to UFH being able to operate at a lower temperature than radiators, it does make it more efficient than radiators. It can also be paired to renewable energy sources, like solar panels making it very attractive to a lot of people. UFH is also more energy efficient in heating the home so can be seen as the greener way to keep your home warm.

Radiators are the more traditional style of heat source that is still very popular in British homes today. Radiators are a lot easier to install than underfloor heating as well as being a lot cheaper to purchase.

There are some downsides to underfloor heating on top of the fact that it is more expensive. Underfloor is not instantaneous and can take a little bit of time for the room to feel the effect. In addition, the floor finishes need some consideration with some flooring options not being viable for underfloor heating. Planning is required and the system needs to be installed properly to ensure it runs at its optimum efficiency.

Radiators react very quickly heating up a space in hardly any time as well as being very easy to control. They are familiar to every contractor and understood by all engineers and plumbers making them easy to fix if something does go wrong. The size of your chosen radiator depends on the dimensions of your room and the space you have as well as the insulation levels and presence of external walls. Your heat efficiency will also differ drastically depending on your property’s insulation. Bad insulation equals loss of heat and expensive bills.


Apart from cost being the main decision maker, I think the other main component is aesthetics. Some people like the look of radiators and others do not. In fact, radiators are back in style coming in many different shapes and sizes and seen more as a decorational feature instead of just functional. Vertical radiators are also popular being thin and long in appearance and branded industrial-chic.

If you are in the process of building a new home or extension and unsure of what type of heating to source your home with, give us a call for some help.

020 7731 6841

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