Indoor climate improvements: what home owners want
There has been plenty of coverage relating to indoor climate in the news recently from the health implications of damp and mould, particularly in older properties to the transmission of air borne pathogens during the covid pandemic and importance of energy efficiency due to rising fuel costs. These topics are driving awareness of the importance of indoor climate for a healthy, comfortable and energy efficient living environment and providing motivation for homeowners to make home improvements.
We conducted some research in late 2022* on the preferences of homeowners and their motivations to invest in home improvements for their indoor climate. This article summarises their responses and highlights some of the systems available to meet their requirements.
A warm house is top of mind
43% worry about not getting their house warm enough
With concerns over the costs of fuel, keeping the house warm is an understandable concern, especially during winter months. Most (86%) of our respondents had radiator heating systems in their homes with only a small proportion having switched to underfloor heating systems so far.
Only 8% having replaced radiators with (energy efficient) underfloor heating and only 6% have installed a combined underfloor heating and cooling system
Recent research for Wavin by LCP, a leading European research and consultancy company explains why underfloor heating provides significant efficiency benefits in residential heating compared with conventional radiator-based emitters. Underfloor heating can provide an equivalent level of comfort as radiator based systems with a lower air temperature due to the larger surface area. At lower temperatures there will be less heat loss due to a lower gradient with outdoor temperatures and therefore lower heating costs. With uneven temperatures from radiators the temperature sensor may be unrepresentative of the of the room temperature and therefore more difficult to control and maintain an optimal balance of heating efficiency and comfort. With underfloor heating the set point will better reflect the actual temperature and therefore make it easier to balance thermal comfort and heating efficiency.
Wavin Comfia Underfloor Heating
Choose Wavin Comfia for underfloor heating:
- A variety of systems are available to suit a range of floor types and coverings
- Quality assurance and compliance with building regulations (part L)
- Simplify design and planning with an easy to use underfloor heating calculator
- Easy installation
- High availability from merchants across UK
Find out about Wavin Comfia underfloor heating
Air quality matters to home-owners
Our survey showed a high level of recognition of the link between indoor climate and health, an increase in awareness of indoor air quality due to covid and a high concern over clean air in the work place, which with a high number of people spending even more time at home while they are working builds an even stronger case for improving air quality there.
- 68% believe that indoor climate impacts their health and well being
- 54% have become more aware of the importance of indoor air quality due to covid
- 82% stated that clean air matters to them in the workplace
- 29% worry about no fresh air in their house (graph 1)
But the practicalities of ventilation can be tricky
With concerns over energy costs and efficiency, it makes sense that many home owners are reluctant to open windows to let in fresh air, even when they are cooking or showering. Cold draughts, increased heating costs, security, road noise, outdoor pollution and just forgetting or not thinking about it are all possible reasons that home owners may choose not to open a window.
Our survey found that:
56% of respondents don’t always open a window or turn the extract/cooker hood on when cooking/frying/ heating up food on the stove and 54% don’t always open a window of turn on a ventilator when taking a shower
The addition of mechanical ventilation could be an option for existing homes where damp or air quality are an issue. Heating controls can also help to control humidity.
Greater control equals a better and more energy efficient indoor climate
- 30% of respondents ranked ‘saving costs in the long run’ as the most important motivation for investing in a better indoor climate
- 53% don’t always turn down the thermostat when leaving the house
- Only 7% have installed zone control, been able to manage heating, cooling and/or ventilation for individual rooms
Small changes to heating systems making them easier to control can add up to big differences.
Wavin Sentio Controls
Installing smart controls such as Wavin Sentio controls can provide a range of benefits for indoor climate including awareness of energy consumption, Apple and Android Apps for remote control of heating from a mobile phone, ease of use with a simple logical interface, an outdoor sensor for weather compensation to increase energy efficiency and thermostats to monitor and control humidity to prevent damp and mould in room. Find out more
There is an understanding of the links between indoor climate and health
The NHS website explains how you are more likely to have respiratory problems, infections, allergies and asthma if if you have damp or mould in your home and how it can also affect the immune system. Babies, children, older people and those with existing respiratory problems or weakened immune systems are more sensitive. Scientific research is also clear that cold homes increase the risk of strokes, respiratory infections, falls and injuries due to reduced strength and dexterity. There was a generally an understanding of the health issues that can be caused by poor indoor climates in our survey.
81% of respondents agreeing that mould in the home makes you more likely to suffer from throat and upper respiratory infections and 73% agreeing that comfortable indoor temperatures make you less likely to suffer from nose, throat and other respiratory symptoms like lung or breathing problems.
Investing in indoor climate
Our survey suggests that so far there has been very little investment in home improvements for indoor climate however with greater awareness the options to create a healthy, comfortable and energy efficient environment, there is likely to be an increase in demand in coming years.
- 58% of respondents have not made any investments to improve a healthy indoor climate so far (graph 3)
- 31% stated that saving costs in the long run and 27% stated that improving health and well being was the most important motivation in investing in better indoor climate
- Only 11 % did not find any of the motivations important enough to invest in a better indoor climate
Provide your customers with the solutions they need for a healthy, comfortable and energy efficient indoor climate for their home with Wavin Comfia Underfloor Heating and Sentio controls. Find out more on our underfloor heating page or try our calculator below.
*Our survey included home owners over the age of 18 living in England with 1018 participants in total and some questions asked to a subset of participants based on their answers to a previous question. Percentages in this article have been rounded to one decimal place.