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This is another one of those questions that people ask when they are exploring the option of having underfloor heating fitted, and it’s a good one too.
After all, some people may just want a nice warm floor in their bathroom but not be all that bothered about having UFH throughout the rest of the property.
Another reason for this question is when someone already has a central heating system in place, they may be concerned about the costs and hassle of a complete switch from one system to another.
With these points in mind, let’s take a look and find out…
Can radiators and underfloor heating work together?
The answer to this question is yes, you can have both systems on one boiler.
It is possible to create zones in your home, where one part gets heated via the radiators and others warm up with underfloor heating. You can even have both in the same room if you wish.
However, how the two systems are configured largely depends upon whether you are planning to use wet or dry underfloor heating.
In the case of wet underfloor heating systems, pipes are installed under the floor. These carry water (in some circumstances it may be a water/glycol mix, for instance when used in conjunction with a heat pump) that has been heated by your boiler around your home and through the pipes to heat the floor beneath your feet.
A dry system, on the other hand, runs on electricity which sends heat through the floor via mats or loose cables. Think of these as similar to the elements found inside an immersion heater or kettle. Electric underfloor heating can be installed without having to interfere with your central heating at all.
A wet system is more costly to install, but the running costs are less than that of the dry system. The cost of installation and the running costs are obviously something you will want to take into consideration.
Dry systems are also more likely to be used in renovation projects where there is insufficient space for installing a wet system. However, if you prefer a wet system it is sometimes possible to raise the floors to create the extra space needed to install the pipework, but you must take heed of the current building regulations before doing so.
Combining radiators and dry underfloor heating systems
This is the better option if you only require UFH in a small area, such as a bathroom, as the radiators and the underfloor heating run completely separately.
It can be expensive to heat a whole house using electric underfloor heating so having radiators in the larger rooms is the way to go if you opt for dry UFH.
As you can probably imagine, using electric underfloor heating throughout the house is not all that energy efficient. If you really want UFH throughout you should give serious consideration to having a wet system installed.
Combining radiators and wet underfloor heating systems
Contrary to some people’s perceptions, it is possible to run both UFH and central heating radiators off of one boiler. You can keep independent control of each with the help of a zone valve which will keep energy usage down and, in turn, lower your running costs.
How a wet system works
Once the hot water from the boiler has flowed around the system, it then returns to the temperature sensor. The water may have cooled somewhat but, provided it is still warm enough, it will be recirculated through the underfloor heating pipes once more.
A sensor, which is fitted to the manifold, will detect a drop in temperature and this will prompt more hot water to be pumped into the system via a mixing valve. This will keep the heat in the floor at the desired temperature, while the radiators run separately.
As you can see, running both radiators and underfloor heating is entirely possible.
For a more efficient system, having separate zones is recommended. Some people opt to just have one floor (usually ground) with underfloor heating and the other floor/s just using radiators. This setup is perfect for those who use the lower floors more during the day and the upper floors (bedrooms) at night.
Whatever way you decide to install your underfloor heating, one thing is for certain – your feet will be glad that you did.
Let us know what you decided on. Leave a comment in the box below.