All you need to know about underfloor heating
Underfloor heating has become an increasingly popular choice for homeowners in recent years. Choosing underfloor heating can be a big decision, and whether it is suited to your home is entirely dependent on your lifestyle. Here, we establish its pros and cons to fully inform your choice.
WHAT IS IT?
With an underfloor heating system, the floor itself becomes the heat emitter, warming the room from the floor upwards.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ELECTRIC AND WATER-BASED?
Both electric and water based underfloor heating systems are available, being almost identical in their offerings. However, they work differently.
Electric systems utilise a network of wires under the floor, and a choice of loose-fit wiring – best for small spaces – cables, or ready-made mats are available. They are often cheaper than water-based systems as they are simpler, and are more suitable for small, difficult to reach places.
Water systems include a series of pipes linked to the boiler – or solar panels – and pump hot water under the floor. They are expensive to install, and an expert will be required.
Whichever system is in place, the area is separated into zones (one zone per room), which can then be heated and controlled independently.
HOW DOES IT DIFFER FROM RADIATORS?
The more conventional heating system emitters are mounted on the wall, and the room is effectively heated from the ceiling downwards.
- Underfloor heating can be an efficient way of heating a room evenly, as the heat rises slowly. In contrast, radiators heat more isolated areas.
- It frees wall space, enabling further shelf units or storage space.
- The system can reduce bills by as much as 35%; however, to ensure efficiency results, the correct system has to be fitted.
- Underfloor heating can be used with almost every floor type: ceramic tiles, stone and wood being the most popular. Cold, harsh flooring can be kept comfortably warm given their conductive properties, quickly transferring heat from the pipe to the floor surface.
- It can enhance selling price: underfloor heating has a high-spec reputation, potentially attracting buyers searching for a luxurious property.
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- Underfloor heating can take longer to heat up in comparison to radiators, which work quickly to high temperatures.
- There is a lot to consider: the system requires designing and tailoring around the age and size of the property, considering the type of floor, heat source and personal preference.
- There will be a considerable amount of upheaval if underfloor heating is fitted into an existing, floored room.
- Installation can be particularly expensive to install, especially in older houses.