Building a new home is exciting and the possibilities can seem endless and overwhelming. There is a huge push towards new homes being built with self-sustainability and energy efficiency in mind.
One of your earliest considerations should be in regard to heating your new build. It is essential to think about how you are going to want to heat your new home when you finally move in. Considering heating in your early planning stages will ensure that your heating system can be designed with efficiency and be cost effective both with install and ongoing use.
When looking at the total cost of a new build the cost of integrating a central heating system will pale in comparison. Having a warm water central heating system in your home will not only add superb living comfort and health benefits, but it will also add to the long term value of your home as well as potentially saving you on energy costs.
When considering your new home, you are not restricted to having a singular option for your central heating system. There are a number of central heating options that utilise warm water and are now available for new-build homes. These systems can be used either individually or in a combination.
Underfloor heating systems are located under your flooring. You cannot see the system and the heat resonates from the floor and rises. This provides a very comfortable experience.
Radiating heating systems provide a flexible heating experience that is well suited to busy lifestyles. They are usually visible in each room however and this must be considered along with your interior design plan. There are many options available to disguise their appearance and make them blend better with your interior choices.
Underfloor Heating – Water based
Underfloor heating that uses water that has been heated can also be referred to as Hydronic heating. This is often used to heat the home’s hot water as well as doing a great job in uniformly heating the whole house. It can also service multi-storey dwellings.
Hydronic heating requires the use of a heat source. This is usually referred to as a boiler. Different brands burn gas, diesel, logs or wood pellets. Others can use a heat pump to heat the water.
A heat pump can also be the heat source of an underfloor heating system. The heat pump will extract heat either from the outside air or from the ground outside the house and use this to heat the water. Once the water reaches the set temperature it is then piped throughout the house.
A water based heating system has 3 major components:
- a heat source that’s located in a convenient place (away from where the heat’s required)
- a hot-water distribution system that transfers and distributes the heat
- a means of releasing the heat where it’s required.
A control system monitors and controls the overall system.
Underfloor heating is most commonly formed by a buried grid of pipes which is laid before an insulated concrete floor slab is poured. The hot water circulated through the pipe grid and this warms the concrete floor. Underfloor heating cannot heat a room quickly and is best used if you are home most of the time. A lot of energy is used to heat the floor, especially a concrete slab.
Radiating heating is distributed through radiators that are often mounted close to a wall with a gap behind them to allow air to circulate. The radiators can be placed throughout the house and sized to suit each room. Various sizes and shapes are available. Most radiators have a control valve so the temperature of each room can be individually controlled.
Benefits of Underfloor heating
New Zealand has a high rate of respiratory illnesses. Homes that rely on heating through convection – the blowing of hot air to heat an area – often will have occupants that suffer from hay fever or asthmatic type symptoms.
Underfloor heating systems warm your home without the need of convection currents. There is no mass movement of dust particles and so you and your family are much less likely to inhale them as you breathe.
According to Asthma UK there are currently 5.4 million people who are currently receiving treatment for Asthma in the UK alone, with 1.1 million of those being children. 90% of these people say that dust mites are a trigger for their condition.
Heating your home through your floor can seriously reduce the amount of dust mites, in some cases up to as much as 80%! It reduces the amount of moisture found in carpets and makes the carpet an uninviting environment for dust mites.
If you suffer from rheumatoid discomfort you too will find underfloor heating to be beneficial. When the cold of winter kicks in, the periods of low barometric pressure and high humidity can worsen symptoms considerably. If you have underfloor heating installed you end up with direct contact with a constant heat source and it is thought to help relieve some of the pain felt by sufferers, especially those with arthritis in their legs, feet and ankles.
The health benefits of underfloor heating are clear, but they are often seen as a secondary consideration to things such as cost.
Benefits to Radiating Heat
If the cost of underfloor heating worries you, then another very viable option to heating your home is the installation of Radiators. Radiators have been a very popular choice for heating in Europe for many years. It is worthy to note that they heat up and cool down quickly, they provide a responsive and flexible heating option and are very well suited to the changeable weather conditions and typically busy lifestyles of New Zealanders.
Radiators have proven to be a popular choice because they are:
- Responsive: You can control when you want them on and when you want them off. They have a fast heating time – typically only taking around 10 minutes to warm up.
- Dual Purpose: In New Zealands typically wet winters they provide a great second drying place for clothes
- Healthy: There are no forced air draughts or cold spots
- Safe: Their surface warms to between 60°C and 75°C and so they are not a fire hazard if curtains or furniture is placed close to them. Low surface temperature models are also available.
- Controllable: All radiators are controlled by thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs), and can be turned off individually or as a system. All systems allow homeowners to set a system to their individual preferences and requirements.
- Stylish: All styles come in white but are able to be painted to match your décor. There are different styles available to suit your preference.
Underfloor heating and radiating heat are great options for heating your home. There are a variety of ways to heat your new home that can incorporate different fuel options. What is best for your build will depend on your site, your budget and your lifestyle. We can assist you with deciding what is the best way to approach a central heating choice for your home and can discuss with you the ways the various brands work and their efficiencies.