Radiators more efficient than underfloor heating, finds Swedish research

Modern low water content radiators are more efficient than underfloor heating as an emitter for low temperature systems, according to Nick Whitwell, managing director of Quinn Radiators.
Radiators more efficient than underfloor heating, finds Swedish research
He says that the right radiator is far more responsive to the thermo sensitivities of modern buildings, rather than underfloor heating which is less controllable, leading to overheating and wasted energy.

'The increasing use of low water temperature systems, such as heat pumps and condensing boilers, has led to many myths circulating about radiators. For example, that you need huge radiators to get the right heat output, or that you need underfloor heating because it offers a lower temperature with larger surface area. However, this simply isn't the case and a low temperature system combined with the right radiator is far more efficient than an underfloor heating system,' said Mr Whitwell.

Research by Rettig ICC and Professor Harrysson, at the Orebro University in Sweden supports Mr Whitwell's argument. The study involving 130 Swedish houses revealed that the heating consumption of underfloor heated buildings is 15 per cent to 25 per cent higher than in radiator heated buildings. The findings also showed that radiators are around 15 per cent more efficient than underfloor heating in single-storey houses and up to 10 per cent in multi-storey buildings.

Mr Whitwell concluded: 'There is no doubt that underfloor heating systems can bring more comfort to bathrooms and kitchens, when used in combination with a heated towel rail or radiator. However, I can't see that they will ever replace radiators as the main heat emitter in our homes because they don't offer the control and responsiveness that is required to efficiently heat a modern property.'

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15 November 2012


By Stuart
15 November 2012 00:01:00
I have no problem referencing research material in a press release (which this "article" is obviously based on), but in this situation I have two problems.

What was tested in the research? UFH vs standard radiators? UFH vs low flow temp rads? low flow temp rads vs std rads? All three? What were the actual results?

Regarding the myths comments - if you are retrofitting a heat pump against a radiator system and your only option to have the standard steel radiators then you WILL have to increase the size. "Huge" is a relative size and for some having to add 50-75% surface area of radiator to what might already be a large emitter could be the correct term.
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