Home heating for many of us is a key factor in the comfort of living spaces, so its equipment and functionality are always paid close attention. A good autonomous boiler is not yet a guarantee that you will be warm and comfortable during the cold period. The main aspect of the efficiency of heating at home is the method of heating residential premises and the organization of the entire heating system. What to give preference to, radiators or underfloor heating of rooms? A question that is not fundamental, but requires clarification. Why is it becoming fashionable today to have underfloor heating in the house instead of traditional radiators?
Technological aspects of the choice between the two heating methods
Let’s start with the fact that radiators have been used as heating devices for a very long time. The practical application of this heating method has proved a sufficiently high efficiency of batteries to create a comfortable temperature in the room. In addition, one should not forget that the installation of a heating system in a residential building using radiators is not so complicated from a technical point of view. Today, almost every person who has the necessary knowledge and a minimum set of tools can fasten a battery to the main highway. The battery can be made of steel, cast iron or new composite materials (bimetal). Connection methods remain the same as many years ago: screw connection and clamping sleeve.
The safety and reliability of radiator heating is indisputable. Today, batteries can be found in almost every residential building and in an apartment building. These heaters have become familiar elements of the interior of our homes. Thanks to modern materials, it was possible to improve the appearance of products, increase the heating surface. These innovations have made it possible to significantly improve the aesthetic characteristics and increase productivity. As for other methods of heating, here, radiator water heating is seriously competed with warm water floors today.
Underfloor heating has become commonplace in modern low-rise housing construction. Many owners of cottages and country houses prefer warm floors. It is up to you to install radiators or equip a warm floor in the room. Another thing is how large-scale installation work on laying a water floor will be justified from an economic point of view.
Another thing is that radiators in an apartment or house will cost less than underfloor heating, which includes a lot of additional maintenance equipment and hundreds of meters of pipes. Economically heated floors are considered an expensive pleasure, so you should be prepared for such an event as laying water floors.
For reference: from the point of view of heating experts, underfloor heating is not an ideal option for heating residential premises. Not every room can be technically ready to install such a complex complex as a warm water floor. For a city apartment, this option is generally excluded, since there are official bans on such equipment in an apartment building.
Water heating is fundamentally different from other types of heating systems. The main working tool of the system is a liquid coolant. It can be ordinary, prepared water or chemically contained substances (antifreezes and their derivatives). In the first case, with radiators, in the second, with underfloor heating, the installation of a heating system involves laying a whole network of pipelines.
For reference: the length of the heating circuit for supplying radiators in a residential building with an area of 150 m2 is about 100 meters. In the case of underfloor heating, we are talking about a total length of water heating circuits of hundreds of meters. The thing is that the principle of operation of water heating systems is the delivery of hot coolant to heating devices. In the first version, radiators will play this role, in the second version, the entire floor surface in heated rooms acts as a heating device.
You can often hear the opinion that it is better to use combined heating options. Such a statement of the problem will free you from the dilemma, batteries or underfloor heating.
Radiators are installed in some rooms, while heating circuits of the water floor are being installed in others. This solution to the problem of heating is chosen by those who want to increase the level of comfort in their home. Usually this is done in old houses and in city apartments, not wanting to arrange a grandiose reconstruction or not having the technological capabilities for this purpose. This method of heating perfectly coexists in the apartment, when radiators are installed throughout the apartment, and water pipes are laid in the floor in the bathroom or in the children’s room.
All other aspects that should be considered when choosing a heating system lie in the psychological plane. Comfort is the most important criterion that many consumers pay attention to today. Unlike radiators, warm floors can be arranged in such a way that you forget that your house is heated at all and there is a whole engineering structure in the floor. Warm and comfortable temperature will always be within the normal range. The presence of automatic adjustment will relieve you of the need to control the operation of the heating complex. Underfloor heating opens up unique opportunities for designers to create new and original interior design elements for living spaces.
Warm water floor. Installation and main features
You still doubt the choice. Which is better, stop at the radiators or start preparing the installation of underfloor heating. Simply estimate the amount of required materials, equipment and the level of work in each individual case. This will give you immediate answers to many questions, leave heating radiators or bet on underfloor heating.
First you need to understand what are the main stages of installing underfloor heating. Why start with this heating option? The thing is that this method is considered newer and little studied for most consumers.
- installation of warm water floors is best done in a new building, when finishing work has not yet begun, and instead of the floor there are simple concrete floors. We take into account the fact that with water circuits laid in the floor, the ceiling height in heated rooms will decrease by 100-150 mm. For a private house, this is not a problem, while for a city apartment it sometimes becomes critical.
Important! It must be remembered that a concrete screed with hot water pipes weighs 200-300 kg / m2. Calculate what additional weight will exert pressure on the concrete floor when laying heating floors in a 20 m2 room2. Approximately 5-6 tons come out! Are the ceilings in your house designed for such a load, and in general, is a city apartment capable of withstanding such a reconstruction.
- The basic installation is as follows. The surface is being prepared, on which a layer of thermal and waterproofing is laid. Next comes the grid or special mats on which the water pipes of the heating circuit are laid. As a result, your floor takes on the appearance of a layer cake. This design is called a layer cake, in which each layer plays its own specific role.
Before concrete wet work, a damper tape is glued around the perimeter of the room, which plays the role of a compensator for the thermal expansion of the concrete surface. The water pipe is laid according to two schemes, a snake or a spiral. Depending on the intensity of heating, you yourself choose the laying pattern.
- only after connecting the water circuits to the distribution equipment (pumping and mixing unit) is a test run carried out. If no flaws are found in the technical part of the system, there are no leaks and the heating is in accordance with the specified parameters, you can start laying the concrete screed.
On a note: after switching on, it is necessary to let the system work for 2-3 days, during which the operation of the heating complex and all equipment is checked in all modes.
Heating by the type of underfloor heating without radiators is usually chosen when there is a powerful independent heating boiler of high power. In a house where constant heating is required, there is a constant consumption of hot water, warm floors should work without interruption. It is due to the powerful boiler that the required intensity of heating of the coolant and the flow rate satisfying the technological parameters are achieved.
Radiators — everything is clear and simple
With radiators, everything looks much simpler. Having an autonomous heating boiler or a central heating system, we ourselves determine how the pipeline will be installed and the heating devices will be connected. Two types of heating systems are commonly used, open and closed. In the first case, you will need to lay one highway, into which all the batteries in the house will be connected in series.
With an open heating system, you will have to lay two pipes, a supply line and a return line. Batteries are connected in this case in parallel. This connection scheme is very convenient. You can always turn off one of the radiators, thereby reducing the load on the boiler and lowering the temperature in the room.
Of all the things you will need to equip this heating option, the most expensive component is the radiators. These appliances, cast iron or steel, are quite expensive. However, in terms of operation, efficiency and durability, it is difficult to compare other materials with them. Bimetallic or aluminum radiators are cheaper, but inferior to cast-iron batteries in terms of efficiency and reliability.
On a note: Old time-tested cast-iron radiators MS-140 are found in almost all residential buildings of old construction. Such units are able to withstand significant changes in temperature and operating pressure. What can not be said about the new models. For central heating, cast-iron or steel batteries will be the best option.
New models are installed in new buildings, where in most cases there are autonomous gas boilers.
Both options have their pros and cons. You can’t just take and immediately abandon radiators, rushing to install warm floors everywhere. Do you need radiators for heating residential premises, of course you need them. In houses of an old construction, where the design parameters do not correspond to large-scale reconstructions, batteries perform the main work.
The floor or radiators are warm, so you can’t put the question. For example, for rooms with a large glass area, the best option would be to install radiators. The effect of a thermal curtain, which is created by a heating battery under the window, cannot be replaced by warm floors.
Both options are suitable for the operation of a home heating system. For radiators, it is enough to buy metal-plastic pipes, radiators and a circulation pump. For a warm floor, you will need a lot of valves, a pump, a manifold, thermostats and flow meters. If you are ready to pay for all this and engage in construction and installation work, you can start. According to experts, it is best to use a combined option, underfloor heating and heating radiators.