Trench heating vs underfloor heating: What is the difference?

12 May 2023 Cariad Marketing

It is important to know the difference between trench heating and underfloor heating because these two types of heating have different pros and cons. Knowing the distinction between the two will enable you to select the most appropriate type of heating system for your home or building based on factors such as cost, efficiency, ease of installation, maintenance requirements, and the desired level of comfort.

This information can also affect the design and construction of a building, as the choice of heating system can affect the layout and placement of heating elements and other building components.

Speak to our trench heating grille specialists.

Differences between trench heating and underfloor heating

To understand the differences between trench heating and underfloor heating, we must first understand how they both work.

Underfloor heating can be used to act as a primary heat source, replacing all your radiators, or purely just to heat the floor. It mainly comes in two forms, water systems and electric systems. The electrical systems use electrical cables to generate heat, whereas the water systems use pipes within the floor, a heat source and a pump which pumps the water through the pipes, resulting in a heated floor. Of course there are pros and cons for both types of underfloor heating.

Advantages of electrical underfloor systems are:

    • Easy to install
    • Will only increase floor height slightly
    • Can choose wattage output depending on different scenarios
    • Cheaper to install in smaller areas such as bathrooms and domestic kitchens
    • Can be seamlessly installed into existing rooms with minimum disruption to the space

Advantages of water underfloor systems are:

    • Ideal for large areas and multiple rooms
    • Usually cheaper to run than electric heating
    • Cheaper to install in new builds and full refurbishments
    • For low energy usage, they can be run using Air Source Heat Pumps
    • Systems can be controlled remotely via mobile phone, iPad or computer

Disadvantages of underfloor heating:

    • Both types take time to install (hydronic underfloor heating takes much longer than electrical).
    • Cost of installation (price will vary depending on the system you choose however for both, there will be daily labour costs, plus the cost of hiring a qualified electrician or plumber to assist in installation and quality checks).

Trench heating works by drawing cold air through grilles and into trenches. The air is then warmed over a copper and aluminium heat exchanger and rises to heat the room by convection. This allows the entire room to have warm air distributed evenly from floor to ceiling. The size of the trench determines the amount of heat that is produced by the trench heating and it is affected by the width and depth of the unit installed.

Advantages of trench heating:

    • Economic and energy efficient
    • Aesthetic and discreet as they don’t take up much space and come in different materials (wood or aluminium).
    • Flexible design and customisable.
    • Ease of installation.
    • Easy access and low maintenance.
    • Can be used in conjunction with other heating methods.
    • Doesn’t take up wall space.

Disadvantages of trench heating:

    • Dust can accumulate in the trenches so it needs to be cleaned regularly.

Trench heating vs underfloor heating comparison

Trench heating works well to produce heat at floor level and circulate it evenly throughout the room, so your room is at the desired temperature. This type of heating limits the likelihood of cold spots or draughts, especially in a large room.

Trench grilles can be installed across the threshold of patio doors, bifold doors or French doors and can be customised to fit curves. Trench heating saves space in your room and furniture can be placed wherever you’d like, plus, you can use any materials for your large space including wood, carpet, tile, laminate flooring or rugs. Trench heaters also lead to low turbulence, meaning fewer dust and allergens are circulating in your space.

Underfloor heating uses both convection and radiant heat to warm a space. While it can also be used to heat a large space, it can be quite costly to install in a big room. It’s not just floor insulation that you need to consider when fitting an underfloor heating system, but inadequate room insulation is a primary cause of higher running costs as large, draughty rooms lose heat much quicker.

Furthermore, underfloor heating takes longer to heat up the room than a regular radiator. You also cannot use it under some items of furniture or fittings, which restricts how you set up your living space.

Trench heating

Trench heating can be your primary source of heat in your home, or it can be a secondary source if you happen to have a lot of windows and several levels in your home. Ideally, you would then use different types of heating methods.

Get in touch with one of our experts to help you to decide which trench heating grille is best for your home.

To learn more about trench heating vs. underfloor heating.

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Perfect for every space

At The Trench Grille Centre, we have a wide range of high-quality grilles that have been carefully designed to add a sense of warmth and style to your space..

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