Underfloor heating is a great alternative to traditional radiators or hot-air heating systems. Underfloor heating can be either a ‘wet’ system that pumps warm water through pipes under the floor, or a ‘dry’ system of electric coils placed under the floor.
Underfloor heating is often associated with luxury and the feeling of a warm, heated bathroom floor on a cold winter’s day’, which is always a welcoming start to any cold winter morning.
One of the many benefits of underfloor heating is that it is out of view. Due to the equal distribution of heat, it is an efficient way to heat a room if the system is used correctly. For example, if you have a stone floor with underfloor heating built in, the heat will be retained, even when the window is open. Compared to the way radiator heat dissipates, as the moment a draft enters a room, you will instantly loose heat. Radiators heat up the area immediately around them, which the heat is quickly dispersed upwards, and away from the desired area. Radiators must work harder for you to feel the effects, and require the water to be at a higher temperature to work effectively, however, a good underfloor heating system will heat a larger area and maintain a constant heat throughout and will be more cost effective. Thermostats on Underfloor Heating Systems should not be used in the same way as a Radiator Thermostats, as underfloor heating should be left on a constant low temperature. Leaving your system running at around 12 Degrees for example,even throughout the summer months at a lower temperature but always keep the system running. Underfloor heating is a much more cost effective way to heat your home and should you become too warm, it is best practice to open a window and NOT turn down the temperature by using the Thermostat.
Underfloor heating can be an attractive proposition. It also provides a very clean and minimal look to complement your new dream home. Underfloor heating works at a lower temperature and works particularly well with tiles and stone — making it a popular choice for bathrooms or large tiled main living area.
Electric Underfloor heating relies on a network of wires. Depending on the shape of the room, you can go for heating mats, which cover large areas, or individual wires which can be place which are bespoke to your project design and layout. Electric systems are cheaper to install than water based systems, however, they are slightly more expensive to run, making them better suited to smaller areas.
Water-based systems, are a network of pipes linked to your boiler that pump hot water around your rooms. As underfloor heating systems distribute heat more evenly, they need water at a lower heat than a radiator, making your boiler more efficient, but the installation and costs are typically initially higher for this reason, however well worth considering.
Pipes are thicker than wires, so you will require more space in your floor for the system to be installed, or the ground may need to be slightly raised which are points to consider prior to making your decision on which flooring system to go with, which is dependent on the type of project you have planned. Just as an example the following information may be useful to assist you in your choice of system.
- 1. Electric UFH is usually rated at 200W/m². Therefore, for a 20m² room, the electricity usage is 4kW per hour!!
- 2. Wet UFH systems run at typically 50°c from a boiler (in some cases at 35°c or lower) whereas a radiator system is usually 70°c – 90°c, so the efficiency gains are clear to see.