Other types of home and water heating

Under floor heating


  • Underfloor heating can be  a ‘wet’ system that pumps warm water through pipes under the floor, or a ‘dry’ system of electric coils placed under the floor and uses the basic principle of heat rising.
  • In UK it is relatively rare whereas in Germany and Scandinavia it is the norm


  • Like the best high-end fitting, underfloor heating is hidden away and out of view, doing away with the clutter of radiators.


  • One of the biggest downsides is cost – not from the system itself but from the cost of underfloor heating installation – making them particularly suitable for new-build properties or when you are already having work done on your floor.
  • Due to the lower temperatures, an underfloor heating system will take longer to heat a room, so it is vital to combine it with a timer.
  • Be careful what you stand on the floor e.g Plants or certain furnishings may be adversely affected.

Underfloor heating pipes before overlaying with wood floor.

District heating


  • District heating involves the supply of hot water through hot water mains to homes and businesses – the hot water feeds into the domestic pipework to warm radiators and provide hot water in the home. It eliminates the need for an individual boiler in the home, but a heat exchanger is required.
  • Popular in northern and eastern Europe, examples of district heating schemes in the UK are currently limited (Nottingham), but more are likely to be constructed over the next few years.


  • Improves security of supply.

District heating diagram (image: MTS Contracting)

Immersion heaters


  • An immersion heater is an electric water heater that sits inside a hot water cylinder. It acts a bit like a kettle, using an electric resistance heater (which looks like a metal loop or coil) to heat the surrounding water.
  • Most households will use a combined central heating/hot water boiler to heat their home and provide hot water, however If your boiler breaks down immersion heaters will still generate hot water for your home
  • Immersion heaters are connected to their own power supply via a cable. They can be switched on and off, as there’s no need to constantly heat the water in your hot water cylinder. Immersion heaters can either be used as a property’s primary water heater, or can be used as a backup water heater for combi boilers.
  • Immersion heaters are an expensive way to generate hot water and yet some households, particularly those with older heating systems, use immersion heaters as their only source of hot water.


  • You can usually turn your immersion heater on or off by simply flicking the switch on the wall socket.


  • An immersion heater needs a thermostatic control, otherwise the water temperature can rise too high.

Immersion heater diagram


One of the most common misconceptions about Rayburns is that they have to be ‘always on’, however today’s Rayburn ranges includes many models that offer total, independent and programmable control over cooking, heating and hot water – so that every user can tailor the use of a Rayburn to suit their own lifestyle.


Gas fires and fixed gas heaters

When it comes to gas fires, the following options are available:

  • Open flame
  • Radiant
  • Glass-fronted
  • Flueless (catalyst)

Fixed gas heate