Introduction to Underfloor Heating
Imagine never having to experience that winter morning dash to avoid walking on an icy floor. Well, fortunately, underfloor heating could make that a reality.
And it’s not just the luxury of having warm feet that makes underfloor heating a good choice, it’s also an effective way to heat our homes for less.
So what is underfloor heating and how does it work?
There are two ways that underfloor heating works; a wet system and a dry system.
Underfloor heating can be used with a variety of different flooring…
A wet system is a series of pipes which link up to your boiler and pump the hot water around under the floor.
A dry system uses a network of electric coils which go under the floor. You can either opt for a loose fit wiring system which is ideal if you’re trying to install the heating in a small, awkward space such as a bathroom. Or a ready made mat which you can just roll out – ideal for larger, open plan spaces such as the kitchen or lounge.
Will underfloor heating save energy?
This depends on how good your insulation is. A poorly insulated home is never a good idea but if your home loses a lot of heat then you’re going to severely reduce the effectiveness of any heating system you have installed – underfloor or not.
If the floor isn’t insulated well enough then you’re going to find the heating system will also heat the earth below as well as the room above, which just wastes energy which means higher bills for you.
Regardless of whether you go for a wet or dry system, you need to make sure the areas under the heating elements are well insulated to ensure you get the full benefits.
An electric, or a dry system, will cost less to install but cost more to run.…
What are the costs associated with underfloor heating?
Running costs of course vary on room size, how often you have the heating on, which type of underfloor heating you have and how well your room is insulated.
An electric, or a dry system, will cost less to install but cost more to run. If you’re going to go for the water based option then you can expect to pay around a third more than you would pay to have a radiator installed. Of course, if you add this system to a new build then you’re likely to see the installation costs dramatically decrease.
Which flooring does it work with?
Underfloor heating can be used with a variety of different flooring however, the choice of floor covering will have an impact on how well the heating performs.
Tile and stone are generally the best type of covering. This is because they absorb the heat as opposed to insulating it and let it out at a constant and effective pace.
Wood will reduce efficiency but if you opt for thinner timber then you won’t notice too much of a difference. Solid timer is more tricky as it needs to be left to set for around a month before it can be used.
Carpet can be used with underfloor heating but its essential to make sure that you choose the right type of carpet. You need to make sure that the chosen underlay has a low thermal resistance and the carpet has a hessian back to ensure efficient running of the underfloor heating system.
You may not get instant results
One thing to keep in mind if you decide to opt for underfloor heating is that unlike gas central heating, you won’t feel the effects after just a couple of minutes. The underfloor heating system does take a little while to warm up so it may not suit your needs if you’re prone to feeling chilly or you can’t predict the weather.
That said it is does have many good points that outweigh the one or two negative points that come as standard. For example, it can often be controlled on a room by room basis meaning you don’t waste energy heating rooms that you’re not using.
Underfloor heating is a great way to heat your room evenly and avoid any cold spots that are often associated with radiators. And talking about radiators, having underfloor heating means that you free up a ton of space on your walls because you won’t need them anymore. So from a design perspective it’s most certainly a winning idea.