A viable alternative to conventional radiator style central heating systems is underfloor heating or UFH, the system consists of small bore pipes laid underfloor typically fed by a condensing boiler.
Heating homes in this way provides a consistent even heat release from floor level providng comfort underfoot and pleasant temperatures throughout the home. As the pipes are hidden there are no unsightly radiators and requires lower water temperature to maintain the same temperature level as radiator style systems.
Underfloor Heating Supplied by a Condensing Boiler – The Perfect Match?
Because condensing boilers work more efficiently at lower temperatures pairing an underfloor heating system can reduce heating costs by up to 15%, this is due to the fact that a condensing boiler runs in condensing mode at lower temperatures, as underfloor heating usually requires lower temperatures than a conventional system the boiler is allowed to work in it’s most efficient mode and thus reduces greenhouse gases and energy costs. You can learn more about condensing boilers here.
Given the energy saving benefits of underfloor heating there are many ‘hidden’ benefits…
- No unsightly radiators
- Quieter as all components are underfloor
- No radiators to bleed
- Even, more consistent temerature
- Less air movement, less dust circulating in the air
- Lower running costs
Solar thermal and underfloor heating
Underfloor heating can be achieved with the assistance of solar technology. A solar thermal store cylinder can be use to combine floor heating and mains pressure hot water. The cylinders are designed to work with solar panels and a boiler but can also be adapted to take additional heat sources such as stoves, back boilers and heat pumps. How it works The water in the thermal store cylinder is heated by the boiler to around 60°C – 70°C. There are two coils within the thermal store that are linked together. The mains water enters the bottom coil and circulates through all the coils until reaching its desired temperature at the top. There are two tappings in the thermal store to provide heat for underfloor heating. The solar coil can be found at the lowest part of the thermal store, which is the coolest. This area of the cylinder is not heated by the boiler and is further cooled by the cold water coming from the mains and the domestic hot water coil. This allows for a higher level of contribution from solar energy towards heating.
Advantages solar underfloor heating allows for:
- Mains pressure hot water – powerful showers without pumps
- Reduced fuel bills
- Effective preheating of underfloor heating using free solar energy
- Reduced boiler cycling – extends boiler life and improves efficiency
- In addition it can provide for 80 per cent of your domestic hot water consumption