Best heating for cost-of-living crisis

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You don’t need me to tell you we’re experiencing unprecedented rises in energy costs.

But, now is a good time to go over how a RugBuddy or FootBuddy can help minimise the impact of the price hikes. There are possible health benefits, too!

This is quite a long post as it is a complex subject and I wanted to cover as many of the influencing factors as possible. But first, here's a typical customer comment:

"Just to say that I am about to repeat my order [below] because the RugBuddys we bought from you last Autumn have been brilliant and with the worry of how to keep warm this winter, I know a third one is just what we need." Sarah (Glos) August 2022

The basic principle is that the RugBuddy™ or FootBuddy provides a warm, radiant surface, where you need it most in your room.

Introducing radiant heating allows people to turn-down, or even turn-off, their central heating. You may already have experienced this yourself as a customer.

There have been many tests and the website http://www.healthyheating.com/ champions the usefulness of radiant panels (which is what RugBuddy and FootBuddy are) in achieving a comfortable natural environment.

Let’s take a closer look at the main considerations to see where the benefits, including energy savings, arise:

Understanding Comfort at Lower Temperatures - Thermal Comfort and ‘Feeling Warm’

Radiant heat allows us to feel warm at lower air temperatures (typically 2 to 3 degC lower) than with conventional heating.

When people say they are feeling cold, what they mean is the rate of heat loss from their body is uncomfortably high. In other words, heat loss due to external factors is significantly exceeding the rate at which the body is generating its own warmth from metabolism.

Body heat can easily be conducted away, e.g. standing on a cold floor or sitting on a cold surface. However, most of it is radiated away from your (warm) body to colder surfaces surrounding you.

Air temperature only plays a small part where it is in direct contact with your skin. (Note, though, that moving air has more effect, increasing heat transfer as it moves across the skin - hence the cooling effects of draughts).

Using a RugBuddy™ to create a radiant surface at the perfect temperature at floor level creates a natural environment of thermal comfort.

Radiant skin losses from the neck, head, and hands, and body/clothing, plus conductive losses through the feet, are quickly brought to a level that has been shown in repeated tests to be most comfortable. This is where the human body is in balance with its surrounds and you ‘feel warm’.

(Source: http://www.healthyheating.com/Thermal_Comfort_Working_Copy/HH_physiology_intro.htm#.YrxF6-zMLIU)

Contrast this with a typical central heating systems using radiators:

  • Convection draughts leave you with cold feetDespite the name, conventional radiators act mainly as convectors (+80%). Air is warmed as it passes over the vanes at the back of the radiator. The warm air rises, cools down because of heat loss, falls to the floor, and the cooler air is drawn in at the bottom.
  • The convection currents inevitably lead to cool air currents at floor level - experienced as draughts around the ankles. Even if your windows and doors are fully draught-proofed, you will feel convection currents as a cooling draught.
  • The air warmed by radiators eventually warms surfaces in the room and some comfort is achieved but not nearly as quickly as a radiant source at floor level. The air however must be quite a number of degrees warmer to do so (creating more heat loss). In addition, moving air has a cooling effect making you acutely aware of those low level draughts.

Radiant heat allows us to feel warm at lower air temperatures than with conventional heating. Keeping the air temperature as low as possible reduces convection draughts, reduces energy losses to the outside, and saves on your bills. Here is a summary why you should consider introducing plug-in radiant heating:

Energy Losses 1

Lower air temperature means less heat loss through walls, windows, and ceilings, because of the reduced difference with the temperature outside.

Energy Losses 2

Having a tailored warm floor area in the middle of the room for personal comfort reduces energy loss at walls and windows.

Speed to Comfort

A low power electric radiant heater like RugBuddy or Footbuddy is quickly up to its operating temperature.

Compare that to using a flame in a gas boiler to power your radiators. Did you know a typical central heating system contains 70 – 100 litres of water. That’s approximately 50 kettles-full! And once the water is up to temperature, it needs to overcome the cold metal in the radiators before it will start to heat the air in the room.

Health Impact 1

cure condensation and mould H2OAvoiding, or reducing, convection from wall-mounted radiators in turn avoids condensation and mould growth in wall corners and floor.

Junctions between walls, ceilings and floors often suffer from what’s known as the cold bridge effect. This occurs where the building’s construction prevents proper insulation of the junctions and internal surfaces will be colder.

By directly warming surfaces, radiant heating can further help avoid the formation of condensation.

Health Impact 2

Convection currents disturb dust particles and mites. Asthma sufferers are very allergic to these. By reducing or avoiding convection currents, and utilising radiant heat, dust disturbance can be reduced to near zero.

Greening of Energy for Heating

Access to renewable energy is usually in the form of electricity.  Government policy is encouraging the use of electricity for heating. Electric heating is nearly 100% efficient in converting to resistive heat.

Electricity is a clean and healthy way of transporting energy and is 100% efficient with correct use. National Grid transmission losses are about 1.7% and a further 5-8% is lost over the distribution networks.

Electricity users do not generate CO2, however the generation facilities often do. But as more electricity is from carbon free renewable resources this energy source becomes cleaner and more environmentally sustainable.

Photo Voltaic (PV) generation at home is growing in leaps and bounds. PV energy is clean and so is electricity used in the home.

Wind generation at sea as well as sea tidal is growing.

Nuclear power is CO2 clean but there are political issues surrounding locations and waste disposal.