Underfloor Heating. The Cost and Benefits

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Electric Installation | Indoors | New Builds | Residential

Underfloor heating is a popular way to heat your home. You get warm floors underfoot, as well as an efficient method of heating.

Underfloor heating is a popular way to heat your home. You get warm floors underfoot, as well as an efficient method of heating. Underfloor heating warms the space with a mix of radiant heat and convection, producing a consistent, comfy temperature level throughout the home, while decreasing the likelihood of cold spots. 

Let’s look at some options and the advantages and disadvantages.

What is Underfloor Heating?

Underfloor heating involves the installation of a system (of either pipes or wires) into the flooring. The floor, in essence, ends up being the whole radiator, warming the room. It warms the room from the ground up and is more effective than the majority of other kinds of heating. This is because underfloor heating has a lower operating temperature level than other forms of heating.


What’s Better, Electric or Wet Underfloor Heating?

There are two main kinds of underfloor heating: In standard terms, a wet underfloor heating unit features pipes, filled by warm water and powered by a boiler or heatpump, hidden within the flooring, and generally embedded within a floor concrete. This is the very best kind of underfloor heating for those developing from scratch and/or preparing a whole-house system. Electric underfloor heating is frequently cheaper and easier to install than wet underfloor heating. Nevertheless, the running costs can be three times greater. It is typically a great idea to set up electric underfloor heating in a small, single area like a bathroom or en suite, where it might be tough to set up wet underfloor heating. Then running cost becomes crucial and the extra trouble and expenditure of a wet system is well worthwhile. If you are choosing a whole-house underfloor heating unit, there will be different pipelines running into each room. This allows you to control when those spaces or ‘zones’ are heated and for the length of time, avoiding you from having to heat unoccupied areas.


How Does Underfloor Heating Work?

UFH warms the mass of the flooring (the screed and the floor finish) and that heat then radiates into the space – there is some convection going on but over 80% of heat transfer is by radiation. The impact of this is that UFH warms the room from the ground up, providing even heat across the entire space, getting rid of cold areas and consequently offering more comfort. It also indicates that we feel warmer earlier. As such, if we want to set the temperature level of the space at 20 ° C, a radiator system will require to get the ceiling to 21 ° C or 22 ° C for us to feel comfortable while watching telly. With a UFH system, the ceiling can be at 18 ° C and we will still have a comfy 20 ° C at sofa level. According to the Energy Saving Trust, a 1 ° C decrease in temperature level will minimize the heating bill by 10%.


Is Underfloor Heating Expensive to Install?

Underfloor heating costs from around $60/m2 to $100/m2 set up, based on a brand-new construct or extension. These figures will vary depending on the size of the home, the amount of heating up the building needs and whether it is a new build, renovation or conversion.


Can Underfloor Heating Replace Other Heat Sources?

Potentially yes, but this will be determined home by home, room by room, depending on heat loss and whether the output from an underfloor heating unit is bigger than this loss figure. Heat pumps are less expensive to buy, they are well understood and there is a huge range of size, design and installers, however they are less effective. The biggest issue is that in bigger rooms they can produce a temperature difference of up to 4 ° C throughout the room. An underfloor heating system likewise provide a 15% reduction in energy need compared to a heat pump system.


Is Underfloor Heating Cheaper to run Than Heat Pumps?

While underfloor heating has a higher preliminary expense than heat pumps, do not let this put you off. The running expenses are typically far lower for UFH than heat pumps. It’s worth keeping in mind too that underfloor heating unit have a life expectancy of 50 years plus, while the average heat pump will just last between 8-12 years. A screed-based wet underfloor heating installation includes laying pipes over insulation. These pipes are laid in rows, coiling where needed, and equally spaced to ensure an even spread out of heat throughout the flooring location. A self-levelling screed is then put over the pipes, successfully burying them. When poured, the screed is treated with a chemical spray to stabilise it. You may need to wait 4 weeks for your screed to dry effectively before moving on to laying flooring in your area.


Can I Install Underfloor Heating into my Existing Home?

In a brand-new development, the additional expense of underfloor heating relative to the whole build expense is seldom a deal breaker. Nevertheless, if you’re looking to retrofit underfloor heating, it can be extremely disruptive and pricey as it frequently includes taking up floors that might otherwise be best left alone, or raising the floor level, which may have ramifications on the joinery (doors, skirting and so on).


Which Types of Flooring are Compatible With Underfloor Heating?

Can I Put a Rug Over UFH? Yes you can, however it will affect output. In this case, it’s best to make the pipes to be a lot closer together, around 100mm. Underfloor heating isn’t only compatible with tile or stone floor covering. Many suppliers will define whether a floor covering will work with underfloor heating, so try their first. Ceramic and porcelain tiles, luxury vinyl tiles and natural stone floor covering are among the most efficient choices for UFH. It’s a good concept to inform the underfloor heating system designer the type of flooring you’re using so that the pipe design can be correct.


Can I Use Underfloor Heating With Polished Concrete Floors?

Concrete is an exceptional heat conductor, so polished concrete floorings work actually well with underfloor heating. The thermal mass of your concrete will keep heat and guarantee your space stays warm for longer after your heating is switched off. It is easy to pour over the pipework and they absorb and hold the heat produced well.


Controlling an Underfloor Heating System

Underfloor heating system manages have two main parts: The zone control will be placed someplace where the homeowner can make adjustments, while the underfloor heating manifolds will be put out of the way– under the stairs or in a cupboard. There is no regular maintenance program needed, however if things do go wrong, it will usually be with the heating control systems rather than the underfloor system itself.


If you’re considering underfloor heating, give us a call and we can come out to your place for a free quote and to chat through the options. Give us a call now.

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