Underfloor Heating vs. Radiators: What’s the Difference?

Both underfloor heating and radiators have their own strengths and weaknesses for homeowners. In this article, we’ll break down the installation and maintenance costs, heating efficiency, and other important considerations when choosing between the two.

Underfloor Heating

Homeowners have become more aware of the benefits of installing an underfloor heating system in their homes in recent years. Underfloor heating is a network of pipes, much like your common household radiator, except this system is installed under your floors.

An article by Homebuilding and Renovation explains how underfloor heating runs at a lower temperature of around 25 degrees compared to your traditional boiler. The lower heat requirement is due to the fact that this system heats your home more efficiently: from the bottom of your home upwards, leading to a warmer house and of course much warmer floors. It’s also more beneficial in terms of preventing heat loss as well. The pipes cover a much wider area, meaning you’re less likely to need to increase the heat to hit any cold spots, like with a conventional radiator. Heat coverage is more consistent throughout the house and the loss through the floors, a common problem, is eradicated completely. Meanwhile, in terms of upkeep, there is little to no maintenance needed for underfloor heating. The pipes are encased in concrete and covered by a screed, so there’s very little scope for problems.

While its long-term benefits in terms of both comfort and energy efficiency are clear, perhaps the only major downside of underfloor heating is the fact that installation can be quite expensive. Priced at a per-square-metre basis, underfloor heating requires both money and time to install properly, and can be very costly to repair if anything does go wrong, as you may need to pull up the floor to access the problem. And the reality is that most people simply can’t afford this type of alternative home heating for their entire home.


In this system, radiators receive hot steam through pipes that run through your home, originating from a gas-powered boiler. This is currently the most popular home heating method in the UK, which can be attributed to the fact that it’s the standard heating system that’s installed in most old and new homes.

A system of boilers and radiators can be highly effective at keeping internal home temperatures at a comfortable temperature, with Build It explaining how they heat the home much faster than underfloor heating. At the same time, its reliance on traditional plumbing systems means that it also requires much more maintenance compared to underfloor heating. A reason why HomeServe lists plumbing and drainage repairs as some of the most common callouts for maintenance services. Problems like burst pipes often crop up, and can be very costly and time consuming to repair without insurance. However, as long as you keep them clean and running efficiently, radiators can do the job just as well as any other heating system, without the need for any major renovations if they do need repairing or updating.

One downside is that if you’re heating a home using radiators, there’s a risk that the floors can remain cold and damp. Heat rises, and with radiators sitting above the floor, the resulting temperature inconsistencies can lead to dampness —the perfect breeding ground for mould and other hazards. Medical News Today also reveals the potential dangers of having cold feet, such as poor circulation, a real risk in homes with solid floors heated using radiators.

If you’re looking into home heating options for their energy-saving benefits, why not check out our article ‘How Much Can You Save with Window Double Glazing?’ for similar savings. We also have many more articles on eWorld News that cover all aspects of improving your home.

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