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What Alternative Heat Sources are Compatible With Underfloor Heating?

The UK government wants 80% fewer gas boiler installations by 2035. After 2025, new build properties under construction will not be allowed to fit a gas boiler. As this is the most common heat source compatible with wet underfloor heating, exploring alternatives is a necessity if property builders wish to continue supplying one of the most desirable and energy efficient heating systems.

 

Alternative Heat Sources For Wet Underfloor Heating

The following methods of providing hot water are all compatible with an underfloor heating installation in some capacity. Some are more common and easy to maintain or install, whilst others are inherently more energy efficient heating sources than others. Furthermore, you should check thermostat compatibility before committing to a particular heat source.

  • Electric boilers/water heaters
  • Heat pumps (air, ground, water, solar-assisted)
  • Solar water heater & biomass thermal stores

 

Are Electric Boilers/Water Heaters Compatible with Underfloor Heating?

Electric boilers and water heaters are still somewhat uncommon in the UK. They’re only a popular choice to install in high-rise properties where there is no supply of gas. Some homeowners also install them as part of eco-friendly measures to cut reliance on gas.

Technically, these can be used if the particular model is designed to be able to supply radiant heating and work with thermostats. These types of boilers struggle to heat larger homes effectively, but for small flats that can’t benefit from an air heat pump, they’re a suitable alternative energy efficient heat source.

Electric boilers have fewer parts to maintain or fail, don’t require a flue, and don’t produce carbon monoxide. However, the home may require a higher electrical phase supply and a sufficient incoming supply fuse for larger boilers. They also suffer from lack of widespread support, meaning finding local electric boiler engineers can be trickier compared to gas or heat pump engineers.

 

Are Heat Pumps Compatible With Underfloor Heating?

Heat pumps are perhaps the best underfloor heating heat source next to combustion boilers. They run more efficiently than electric boilers when it comes to heating wet underfloor heating, and benefit from energy grants and more widespread maintenance support.

This is increasingly becoming a popular choice of heat source, especially as an upgrade during an underfloor heating installation. There are four major types of pumps, each with their own particular advantages. Read our complete guide to heat pumps to see the pros and cons of each in detail.

The major downside of heat pumps is finding a suitable place exterior of your property to install them. Air pumps need to be in a position that has good airflow, while ground pumps have to be installed as close to the ground as possible. They cannot be installed inside a property, and can take up quite a bit of space.

 

Are Solar Water Heaters & Biomass Thermal Stores Compatible With Underfloor Heating?

These two types of heating collect and store heat, as they cannot “fire on command” to meet heating demands. These can be used to provide conventional radiant heating and underfloor heating as a result.

The major downside of thermal stores is that the heat output will dwindle over time, especially due to external factors such as lack of sunlight. That said, wet underfloor heating operates at around 40°c, meaning it can extract useful heat from the thermal store longer than a traditional radiator system would.

For more information about any home heating compatibility, don’t hesitate to get in touch with EasyFlow. We’re experienced with underfloor heating installation in conjunction with heat pumps, and can help assist with their installation.