Imagine walking across your home’s floor on a chilly winter morning and feeling a gentle warmth beneath your feet. Underfloor heating can make this a reality, providing a comfortable and energy-efficient way to heat your home. But with various types of systems available, how do you know “underfloor heating which is best” for you? In this blog post, we’ll explore the differences between electric and wet underfloor heating systems and guide you through the factors to consider when choosing the best option for your needs.
Underfloor heating systems come in electric and wet (hydronic) varieties, offering varying levels of installation complexity, energy efficiency and running costs.
Consider factors such as flooring type, room size/shape, installation process & timeframe when selecting the most suitable system for your home.
Choose a reputable supplier with expertise in both types of underfloor heating to ensure quality products and reliable investment.
Understanding the Types of Underfloor Heating
Underfloor heating systems can be broadly classified into two main categories: electric (dry) and wet system (hydronic). Both systems have their own advantages and disadvantages, depending on your specific requirements and preferences.
By understanding the key differences between these two types of systems, you’ll be better equipped to make an informed decision when selecting the most suitable underfloor heating for your home.
Electric Underfloor Heating Systems
Electric underfloor heating systems utilise ultra-thin wires or heating mats that generate heat beneath the floor, making them a popular choice for single-room installations and smaller areas. They are especially well-suited for spaces like bathrooms, where they can be installed on walls and seating in a shower. Although electric systems are generally more cost-effective to install compared to wet systems, they may have higher running costs.
One advantage of electric underfloor heating systems is their ease of installation, with roll-out heating mats starting at £50 per square meter and a loose-fit kit priced from £100 per square meter. However, it’s important to note that the installation should be carried out by a qualified electrician to ensure safety and compliance with regulations.
Wet Underfloor Heating Systems
Wet underfloor heating systems, also known as hydronic underfloor heating systems, utilise a series of pipes to circulate warm water throughout the floor. These systems are often connected to a heat pump or boiler, making them more energy-efficient and cost-effective to run than electric systems. However, they can incur higher installation costs, with estimates ranging from £80 to £150 per square meter.
To install wet underfloor heating systems, careful planning and execution are required, with pipes laid over insulation and beneath a screed. It’s important to allow the screed to dry for approximately four weeks before laying flooring. With proper underfloor heating installation, you can enjoy the benefits of a warm and comfortable home.
The pipes used in wet underfloor heating systems are designed and tested to provide a life expectancy of 50 years, ensuring long-lasting performance.
Factors to Consider When Choosing an Underfloor Heating System
When selecting an underfloor heating system, it’s crucial to consider factors such as the type of flooring, the size and shape of the room, as well as the installation process and timeframe. Additionally, you’ll need to compare the installation and running costs of electric and wet systems. Wet systems are generally more cost-efficient to operate, but may have higher installation costs, while electric systems are often more affordable to install, but can have higher running costs.
It’s also essential to think about the specific heating needs of your home, as well as the type of project you’re undertaking (new build or renovation). For example, electric underfloor heating might be more suitable for small areas like bathrooms, while low-profile wet systems could be more appropriate for larger spaces like conservatories. If you’re considering renewable energy technologies, such as heat pumps, pairing them with a wet underfloor heating system can further increase efficiency.
Installation Process and Timeframe
The installation process for underfloor heating systems can vary depending on the type and size of the project. Generally, the installation can be completed within one or two days. However, wet systems usually require more time for installation due to testing and screed drying, while electric systems can be installed more quickly using simpler methods.
When installing an underfloor heating system, it’s important to enlist the help of a qualified professional, such as a plumber or electrician. This ensures that the system is connected to the mains properly and complies with safety regulations. Attempting to install underfloor heating without professional assistance is not recommended, as it can lead to complications and potential safety hazards.
Energy Efficiency and Running Costs
Underfloor heating systems are generally more energy efficient than traditional radiators, as they provide a consistent and even distribution of heat throughout the room. Wet underfloor heating systems are more cost-effective to run than electric systems, as they are often connected to a heat pump or boiler for efficient heating. However, the initial installation costs for wet systems can be higher, ranging from approximately £20 to £40 per square meter.
On the other hand, electric underfloor heating systems can be more affordable to install, with costs typically ranging from £500 to £8,000. However, the running costs for electric systems can be higher than wet systems, so it’s essential to weigh the trade-off between installation and operational expenses when making your decision.
Compatibility with Different Flooring Types
Underfloor heating works well with various flooring types, including tiles, wood, laminate, and carpet. However, it’s crucial to ensure proper installation to avoid issues such as cracking or uneven heating. For example, when using carpet and underlay with underfloor heating, the combined thermal resistance should not exceed 2.5 tog.
Engineered boards are a popular choice for use with underfloor heating systems due to their low warping potential and excellent heat conduction properties. By selecting the right flooring material and ensuring correct installation, you can optimise the performance of your underfloor heating system and enjoy the benefits of comfortable, even heat distribution.
Retrofitting Underfloor Heating in Existing Homes
Installing underfloor heating in existing homes can be disruptive and costly, especially for wet systems. Therefore, it might be more suitable to consider electric underfloor heating for small areas like bathrooms, while low-profile wet systems can be used in larger spaces like conservatories.
When retrofitting underfloor heating in existing homes, it’s important to consider factors such as the installation process, timeframe, and cost comparison between retrofitting and installing in a new build. This will help ensure that you make the best decision for your home and enjoy the benefits of underfloor heating without unnecessary complications.
Controlling Your Underfloor Heating System
Underfloor heating control systems typically consist of zone control and heating manifolds, with minimal regular maintenance required. Digital thermostats are the optimal solution for regulating underfloor heating, allowing you to easily adjust the temperature in each room or designated zone.
Pairing your underfloor heating system with a heat pump can further increase efficiency and help reduce your overall energy consumption. By choosing the right control system and incorporating renewable energy technologies, you can optimize the performance of your underfloor heating and enjoy a comfortable, energy-efficient home.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Underfloor Heating
Underfloor heating, also known as radiant heat, offers numerous benefits, such as improved comfort, energy efficiency, and compatibility with renewable energy sources like heat pumps. By providing a consistent and even temperature distribution throughout the room, underfloor heating systems have been shown to reduce energy demand by 15% when compared to a traditional radiator system.
However, there are some drawbacks to underfloor heating systems as well. Installation costs can be higher, and retrofitting underfloor heating in an existing home can be more challenging and costly compared to installing in a new build.
Despite these challenges, the benefits of underfloor heating often outweigh the drawbacks, making it a worthwhile investment for many homeowners.
How to Choose a Reputable Underfloor Heating Supplier
When selecting an underfloor heating supplier, it’s crucial to look for companies that offer design services, aftercare support, and a range of high-quality products. Additionally, ensure that they have experience with both electric and wet underfloor heating systems, as well as any additional renewable energy technologies you may be considering.
By choosing a reputable supplier with a proven track record in the industry, you can have confidence in the quality and performance of your underfloor heating system. This ensures that your investment in underfloor heating will provide you with years of comfort and energy savings.
In conclusion, underfloor heating systems are an excellent way to improve the comfort and energy efficiency of your home. By understanding the differences between electric and wet underfloor heating systems and considering factors such as installation costs, running costs, and your specific heating needs, you can make an informed decision on the best system for your home.
Don’t let cold floors stand in the way of your comfort and enjoyment of your living space. Consider investing in an underfloor heating system and experience the benefits of a warm, energy-efficient, and comfortable home.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best form of underfloor heating?
Screeded wet underfloor heating systems combined with ceramic and porcelain tiles, luxury vinyl tiles, natural stone flooring and polished concrete are the most effective and efficient types of underfloor heating when powered by a heat pump.
Heat pumps are an energy-efficient way to heat your home, as they use less energy than traditional heating systems. They are also more cost-effective, as they require less maintenance and can last for many years. Additionally, they are quieter than other heating systems, making them ideal for homes with young children or pets.
What is the most economical use of underfloor heating?
For the most economical use of underfloor heating, water-based systems are recommended by experts as they efficiently transport hot water through pipes. Radiant heat is also more cost-effective compared to conventional systems, reducing energy bills.
Which is best wet or dry underfloor heating?
Wet underfloor heating is 25% more efficient when connected to a boiler, and up to 40% more efficient with a heat pump. Electric underfloor heating is considerably more expensive but can be better suited to smaller heated areas.
Ultimately, the best system depends on your project needs and the size of the area to be heated.
Can underfloor heating be installed in existing homes?
Yes, underfloor heating can be installed in existing homes, but it involves considerable disruption and expense.
Is underfloor heating compatible with all types of flooring?
Underfloor heating is generally compatible with tiles, wood, laminate, and carpet, although proper installation is important to ensure optimal performance.
Proper installation is essential to ensure that the system works as intended and provides the desired level of comfort. It is important to consult a professional to ensure that the system is installed correctly and that all safety measures are taken.