Underfloor heating is a great alternative to traditional radiators and eliminates the need for bulky radiators.
What is underfloor heating?
Underfloor heating can be either a 'wet' system that pumps warm water through pipes under the floor, or 'dry' system of electric coils placed under the floor. Underfloor heating uses the basic principle of heat rising. We look at the pros and cons of underfloor heating, the different types of underfloor heating systems available, how to install them and the costs involved.
Electric underfloor heating
Electric underfloor heating relies on a network of wires under your floor that heat up. Depending on the shape of the room, you can go for heating mats, which cover large areas, or individual wires which can get in every nook and cranny. The wires usually sit on top of a layer of insulation. They can fit under different floor types. Electric wires themselves are fairly thin, making them easier and cheaper to install than a water-based system, but they are also slightly pricier to run, making them better suited to smaller areas.
Water underfloor heating
Water-based systems, in contrast, are a network of pipes linked to your boiler that pump hot water around your rooms. Better yet, because underfloor heating systems distribute heat more evenly, they actually need water at a lower heat than a radiator, making your boiler more efficient. The difficulty with water systems comes in the installation, and costs are typically initially higher for this reason. Pipes are thicker than wires, so there needs to be enough room in your floor for the system to be installed, or the ground may need to be slightly raised. This means that while they’re a great solution for new builds, they can be difficult to install on some properties.
Deciding if underfloor heating is for you
The main attraction for underfloor heating is comfort. The way both types of systems heat a room mean not only will your feet be toasty and warm, but the heat through the room will be more evenly distributed and consistent. 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 — the second a draft enters a room. It also provides a very clean and minimal look.