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Underfloor Heating Options: Understanding The Different Types Available

Living in the UK can often involve a mixed bad of weather throughout the year. Whether you live in the highlands of Scotland to the capital in London, the weather is always keeping the British public on their toes.

Creating a pleasant home environment is essential to many homeowners, and is one way to make your home more comfortable is through heating. A sound central heating system is necessary and one that we don’t appreciate enough until something goes wrong with it. Some households may find underfloor heatinga rewarding investment and another way to keep the home warm throughout the year!

In this guide, you’ll learn more about underfloor heating and what makes it popular, as well as the variety of options available for homeowners right now. If you’ve been considering an underfloor heating system, then this guide will be helpful to digest.

Types of Underfloor Heating Options

When it comes to underfloor heating, there are two options available. These are electric heating systems and hydronic underfloor heating systems. Electric systems are also referred to as dry underfloor heating, and hydronic underfloor heating is described as a wet type of underfloor heating.

They are similar to one another, but both have their advantages and disadvantages.

So how do you choose between the two?

1. Electric Underfloor Heating Systems

One option for heating systems under your floors is electricity. It’s probably one of the more popular of the two, and many modern homes have them.

Electric Underfloor Heating

How does an Electric underfloor heating system work?

Electric underfloor systems work with ultra-thin wires that heat up underneath the floor. This is typically done before the flooring is laid down if it’s a modern build. However, for those older properties wanting to install this type of heating, it does involve bringing up the current flooring to install.

The wire heats up when you turn the system on, and the floor’s surface heats up as a result.

The costs of Electric underfloor heating

The UK’s underfloor heating market makes upalmost 7% of the total UK heating systems sector. It’s a growing market that many homeowners are looking at when heating their homes. So how much does it cost to install?

Typically, installing electric heating systems under your floor can cost anywhere between £500-£8,000 depending on the amount of flooring that needs covering.

The advantages and disadvantages of electric underfloor heating

There are some advantages to installing underfloor heating for electric systems and some disadvantages that are worth considering.

Advantages

  • Energy-efficient, which helps lower your carbon footprint contribution.
  • Easy to operate.
  • Works with all types of floor coverings.
  • Easy to install and fit into any property.
  • Adds to your home’s safety and comfort levels.

Cons

  • Installation costs can be expensive.
  • The amount of time it takes to install could make it challenging for some.
  • There can often be issues with floor height concerning other fixtures and fittings in the space.

2. Wet Underfloor Heating Systems

Wet underfloor heating systems tend to be the second choice, but they’re still popular. The same method of laying down the flooring is used with this type of underfloor heating, but the difference is that the heating is made through a circuit of pipes.

Wet Underfloor Heating Systems

How does a wet underfloor heating system work?

Warm water is distributed throughout the pipes that have been placed beneath the floors. This heat is then monitored through thermostats that are intelligent and create a consistent temperature throughout the property.

The costs of wet underfloor heating

Due to how this underfloor heating works, it’s a lot more cost-effective to run. A wet heating system is slightly more expensive and is often used mainly for new-build properties. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t have it in your existing home.

The cost of this underfloor heating option will set you back around £80-£150 per square meter. So for a small bathroom, you’re looking at £400 to £750. However, this could increase depending on the size of the space.

The pros and cons of wet underfloor heating

Just like electric systems, there are some pros to installing thehydronic underfloor heating system. Knowing the cons of this system can help you decide which one is best for your property.

Pros

  • Cost-efficient, and you make your investment back over time.
  • Energy-efficient means you reduce your carbon footprint.
  • It offers radiant heat that distributes warmth across the entirety of the floor.
  • It can be combined with a heat pump for renewable heating.

Disadvantages

  • The initial costs to install the underfloor heating can be too expensive for some.
  • Is typically only installed in new-builds.

How Is an Underfloor Heating System Installed?

When installing underfloor heating, it’s always best to approach an expert in this field, although it is something you can attempt yourself.

Underfloor heating is installed by firstly choosing the type of floor you’re installing it under. You’re then going to ensure the subfloor has been cleared entirely of any debris that could impact the installation process.

Insulation is installed to help prevent any heat escaping, and for electrical systems, you’ll need a qualified electrician to ensure the system is connected to the mains.

The floor is pulled up if it’s already laid down, and the pipes or wiring are laid down. For wet heating, it’s typically covered with a layer of screed. This helps with insulation and helps to feel the heat that is being generated a lot quicker as a result. The same will often be done with dry underfloor heating too.

How Long Does It Take to Install an Underfloor Heating System?

The installation length can often come down to the type of system and how ample the space is that you fit it in. You’re looking at a day or two on average to get underfloor heating installed. For commercial heating systems, it may end up taking longer.

It’s worth getting an idea of how long it will take because this can often impact daily life depending on what rooms you fit it in.

Is It Expensive to Run Underfloor Heating?

The cost is what tends to put some people off from underfloor heating. However, when it comes to the expense of running it, it’s affordable.

It costs less than 10p to run one square meter of below-floor heating. The initial installation cost is often the most expensive, but the running expenses offer incredible value.

It can lower the cost of your heating bills, and an underfloor heating solution might be better for your home than using traditional methods of heating the home.

Underfloor Heating Expensive

Where Can I Use Underfloor Heating?

You can use underfloor heating anywhere within your home. For example, you might find it beneficial to have it installed within the living room area or in a conservatory where there are cold spots.

The underfloor heating can also go into bathrooms and bedrooms with tile, laminated or wooden flooring. There’s no end to where you can put it, and it’s a great way to add warmth in places that often feel cold.

Who doesn’t want that warm fuzzy feeling underneath their feet?

What Type of Flooring Is Underfloor Heating Suitable for?

Choosing the right type of flooring is essential. What kind of flooring is usually recommended for these heating systems?

Heat pumps are always suitable to incorporate to control the heating distribution. With that said, any of the below flooring types are great when you’re placing this system in your home.

  • Polished screed and resin
  • Vinyl
  • Linoleum
  • Solid and engineered hardwood flooring
  • Carpets and rugs
  • Ceramic and stone tiles

Some flooring is going to work better than others. There are also additional costs worth considering for your total underfloor heating cost.

We recommend choosing ceramic, stone flooring or hardwood/solid flooring for this type of system. That way, you get the most out of it and a high heat transfer.

Where to Get Underfloor Heating Systems from?

There are plenty of places that you can get underfloor heating systems from. Here at Plumb Nation, we offer a variety of electric and hydronic systems that are suitable for all homes.

Whether you’re building a new home or you’re looking to do a renovation project on your existing property, it’s a worthwhile investment to make. There is a system that can cater to every homeowner in both the cost-efficiency and the various preferences that one may have for their heating system.

Which Underfloor Heating Option Is Best for Me?

How do you choose a heating option that’s best for you? It’s good to weigh up your options based on what you require the heating system for. Are you installing this in your bathroom or your living room? Do you need it in more than one room or across your whole property?

The difference between the two options are relatively minimal, so you may wish to go for the more budget-friendly option of the electric over warm water underfloor heating.

There’s also the addition of heat pumps, making this a more renewable energy source for your property. Once you’ve figured out the type of system you want, you need to consider the type of flooring that goes on top.

This can often come down to cost and comfort, so if you prefer something more pleasant on your feet, you probably want a softer surface like vinyl or carpet.

Final Thoughts

Whether you opt for a wet system or a dry one, there are benefits to both. Underfloor heating is a luxury, though it can be accessible for most households across the UK. As well as being energy efficient, the cost can work out quite well depending on the floor space you need covering.

Retrofitting underfloor heating is worth considering if you’re doing renovations to your home or if it’s a new build; it’s worth asking the developers to put it in for you at an additional cost. This can be a great way to help heat your home all year round.

FAQs

Is underfloor heating safe to use?

Underfloor heating is very safe to use, and as long as it’s getting installed professionally and by those who understand what they are doing, you shouldn’t have any issues.

Whilst it might be more cost-efficient to do it yourself, if you’re not entirely sure about what you’re doing, then get it done professionally. That extra saving you make by doing it yourself can all go to waste when something goes wrong.

Can underfloor heating systems leak?

If you’ve considered underfloor heating, then you might have been put off by the idea that it would be costly to fix if something broke. However, a leak or fault with underfloor heating is very unlikely. Any potential damage is usually caused when installing and not once the flooring has been laid down.

How long does underfloor heating last?

Compared to radiators that typically have a running life of eight to twelve years, underfloor heating can last for up to fifty years. For cost-efficiency, underfloor heating is good on the wallet!

This can often be a worthwhile investment if you want to limit the number of radiators you’re using in your home at once. It means that you can turn off your radiators and run your heating solely through your floors.

What is the best way to control underfloor heating?

Typically with underfloor heating, you’ll have access to digital thermostats, which offers one of the best ways to manage the system daily. Most are smart thermostats that can adapt to save on energy and costly bills.

Underfloor heating controls are straightforward to understand, and they’ll usually come with a helpful guide.

Can I install an underfloor heating system myself?

Underfloor heating can be installed by yourself, but it’s worth getting a professional in when connecting it to the mains. Unless you’re a qualified plumber or electrician, then it’s not worth risking it by trying to do it yourself.