Published on April 16th, 2012 | by Glenn Meyers1
GUEST POST: Underfloor Heating Fuels Energy Efficiency
Underfloor heating is an incredibly efficient way to heat the rooms of a house; it can be relatively cheap to install, there are no mechanisms on show and no maintenance. One of its main benefits is that the heat is distributed evenly about the air space of a room, again making it more efficient to run. As underfloor heating is mostly radiant heat, as opposed to convection heat, little of it will escape through walls and ceilings.
A recent joint study by the Danish Technical University and the University of Padua into the efficiencies of underfloor heating found that radiators and underfloor heating were similar, the principle difference being that underfloor heating, being a radiant system, achieves the same comfort conditions in a room with a lower air temperature than traditional heating.
In general, heat sources are more efficient at converting fuel or electricity into heat at a lower temperature. The study found that by being able to provide effective heating using a cooler water flow temperature, underfloor heating uses less energy than radiator heating fitted in an equivalent building. Condensing boilers are the best choice to be paired with this kind of heating as they work well at the lower temperatures required. Lower air temperatures also have the effect of reducing energy losses through air movement.
Equally, in order to remain effective, a heating system’s water temperature needs to increase as the size or surface area of the emitter decreases. Thus, larger area emitters, such as underfloor heating, enable the heat source to run most efficiently. In turn, this feature makes underfloor heating the ideal choice when teamed with renewable energy sources, such as ground source heat pumps.
Ground source heat pump systems harness natural heat from the earth to boost efficiency of the heating system. Due to the relatively low temperatures that ground source heating pumps produce (around 16°c), they work best with underfloor heating as opposed to radiators, as underfloor heating systems operate at a much lower temperature when heating the air of a room to the same temperature.
Condensing boilers similarly are an excellent form of heat source to companion underfloor heating. They work by recovering much of the waste heat, normally rejected into the atmosphere from the flue of a conventional (non-condensing) boiler. This is accomplished using an extra-large heat exchanger or sometimes two heat exchangers within the boiler, which maximizes heat transfer from the burner, as well as recovering useful heat that would normally be lost with the flue gases. Using a condensing gas boiler with underfloor heating, the energy reduction has been shown to be around 5%. With a ground-source heat pump the reduction jumps to 30 percent.
All of these factors go towards making underfloor heating an efficient, cost-effective form of heating with potentially significant implications for environmental impact.
Underfloor Heating Systems offer high-quality warm water underfloor heating. Their technical team has years of experience in all types of underfloor heating.