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Radiant heating – a key recommendation for future Home Buyers Surveys?

Infra-red heating proves that heat doesn’t always rise 

Radiant heating is an exciting new alternative to gas central heating radiator systems, which offers a very comfortable form of heating. Home Buyers Surveys will report on the state of a property’s heating, and although recommending a complete overhaul of central heating is not common, purchasers will be eager to consider the benefits of this new method.

The British Standards which define how “thermal comfort” is measured define it as a person’s psychological feeling of not being too hot or too cold, and the design of how radiant heating works is based on the principles of heating houses as effectively as possible in order to make the environment comfortable for people.  It has been recognised in the European Standards that this can all be done by heating at a lower temperature than those required by traditional convection radiator heating systems.

Heat rises?

Perhaps ironically, radiant heating harnesses a system that begins on the ceiling.  The heat comes from an advanced heat-emitting film that is either incorporated into the ceiling plasterwork during construction, suspended in the ceiling grid or mounted on the ceiling’s surface.  It uses the principle of radiation – radiated heat will always travel from a hot surface to a cooler one.  This is in the same way that we instantly feel the sun’s radiation on a hot day – it is an instant feeling of warmth, and this is what radiant energy aims to provide.

Traditional forms of heating rely on warming the air in the room, rather than providing a new source of heating.  This means that, because warm air rises, the top of the room will end up being warmer than the bottom, leaving the potential for your head to be warm and your feet cold!  Radiant heating provides a direct source of heat, and heat itself does not exclusively rise, meaning that anywhere in the room can be targeted and heated up.

Effective and efficient

Radiant heating makes great strides beyond the traditional radiator systems, as it targets those areas which are cold instantly, instead of requiring a lot of preheating of a larger area.

It can also use up to 25% less energy than a normal heating system because the actual temperature of the heating provided is lower than in traditional heating, and in terms of the system itself the energy used is mostly used for the provision of heating itself, rather than any other external processes.

Radiant heating does not dry the air out, which is a major benefit over traditional radiator heating – maybe those who incorporate radiant heating in their houses will experience fewer sore throats in the winter?

A Home Buyers Survey perspective

Radiant heating systems have no noisy fans or pumps, and also as the system is embedded into the ceiling, there is no chance of the house’s occupants burning themselves.  A major advantage of radiant heating systems over normal ones is that there is no maintenance needed – once it is installed it will continue to run smoothly, and manufacturers of the systems claim that the systems have a long life due to the lack of moving parts.  

In terms of how a radiant heating system would affect a Home Buyers Survey, it is an unobtrusive system that will likely be easier to inspect for faults than traditional systems, and due to the lack of moving parts faults should be very rare.  The systems will still need to be inspected on an on-going basis like any other heating system, but as mentioned above they should pose less of a problem in terms of health and safety issues than a normal gas central heating system.

The installation is also sure to increase the valuation of a property. It is currently growing in demand but remains out of the mainstream for installation in homes just now. However, I expect we will see more and more radiant heating systems turn up in Home Buyers Surveys during the next few years.


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