There are now many ways to heat a home. Do you know the differences and advantages of every system?

Radiators were, until quite recently, the only way to heat the home. Now, however, the technologies and systems have evolved to bring us a range of new systems to keep us warm in winter and ensure optimal comfort in the home.

The solutions naturally differ in terms of technical features and benefits, but all guarantee energy savings and, therefore, lower bills.


Radiant systems for heating

For new buildings, but also in the case of ones that are to be renovated, underfloor heating systems can be considered the most popular solution and are a viable alternative to conventional radiators. But how do these systems work and what are the main benefits they can provide? Compared to radiators, which by their very nature take up space inside the house, the radiant system is practically invisible
It uses a coil of pipes located under the floor in which water generally flows at a temperature of between 30 and 40 °C. Once the floor is warmed up, the heat is transmitted by radiation into the rooms, guaranteeing the ultimate in wellbeing in the home. This solution, which can be designed for wall or ceiling application, also offers good reliability and durability. Energy savings are also ensured at the lowest temperature setting (radiators need to be at a temperature above 60° C in order to work properly ed.). 
These savings increase significantly if a heat pump, which uses free renewable energy (outside air, groundwater or underground heat ed.), is combined with the system: and these are savings you could never have with a condensing boiler that runs on fossil fuel.

Fan coils

Radiant systems are now very popular in Italy and most Italians are familiar with them; however they often think the Italian term ventilconvettori and fan coils are two different things, when in fact they are one and the same thing. But what exactly are fan coils? Are they similar to radiators, or do they work more like radiant heaters?

In terms of appearance, fan coils resemble classic radiators in that they have a terminal that can be placed on the wall or floor. They differ from radiators however in two main respects: fan coils release air directly into the environment and can be used not only for heating but also for cooling.

The way they work is very simple. First of all, fan coils draw in air from the room with a fan and then bring it to the desired temperature by means of a heat exchanger connected to the condensing boiler or heat pump. Once the air is heated or cooled, it can be released back into the various rooms of the house. 

Of course, like every air conditioning solution, fan coil units also have pros and cons. One of the main advantages is low consumption during operation, and the fan coil unit is similar to a radiant system in this respect. In heating mode, in fact, a flow temperature of 45-50 °C is sufficient compared to the 60-70 °C of radiators, allowing the fan coils to work perfectly with low-temperature heat generators (heat pumps, ed.) and a solar thermal system. The second advantage is ease of use, with newer models featuring numerous ventilation programs and on/off timers.

What about the wellbeing that comes from having a uniform temperature throughout your house? This can be achieved by simply choosing the product best suited to your needs. For example, in the case of a very large room, the advice is to install a fan coil in the centre of the ceiling, while in smaller rooms a wall-mounted solution may be fine.

The main disadvantage of fan coil units is the significant cost of installation, but this is offset by a reduction in consumption of around 30 percent compared with radiators. Then there are other factors such as noise emissions, the handling of dust and electricity consumption.

And the heat pump?

A heat pump is not an alternative to a fan coil or radiant heating and cooling system, but is the generator that enables their operation. It is a generator that differs from the classic boiler in the way it can work at a low temperature (for this reason the combination is not recommended with classic radiators ed) and, above all, with renewable energy sources. Fan coils provide cost savings in combination with a boiler which runs on fossil fuels such as gas and LPG, but are even more advantageous with the integration of a heat pump.

Heat pumps for every need

Whether they are hybrid, i.e. combined with a boiler, or Full Electric, the heat pumps designed by Clivet are the ideal solution for pairing with fan coils (as well as radiant floor, wall and ceiling systems ed.). 
The company offers two main types of solution for both individual homeowners and condominiums and commercial or industrial buildings: 

  • split heat pumps, as the name suggests, separate the indoor unit from the outdoor unit, optimising the use of space; 
  • single-unit heat pumps integrate the two units into a single product, achieving high levels of comfort and a significant return on initial investment.