Looking for new way to heat your home? Tired of a frosty stone floor and cold feet? The traditional way to heat up your home was with the use of radiators. But now, underfloor heating (UFH) is fast becoming the number one choice in heating. With this system, you need no radiators that take up space in a room. We will reveal you the advantages of this heating system and two main types. We also show you, where is the most suitable area to place it and why would you love it.
Electric underfloor heating
This type of heating is also called dry and relies on a network of wires under the floor that heats up. All mats and rolls are connected and linked up to the thermostat and power supply. You can choose between heating mats, which cover large areas, or individual wires which get in every cranny. All depends on the shape of the room, but mats are generally a little bit cheaper. Wires can fit under different types of floor, but you shouldn´t use them under too thick carpets. Electric wires are easier and cheaper to install in comparison to a water-based system. However, costs for the run are higher. So they are most suitable for smaller areas.
Water underfloor heating
This type is also called wet and supplies heat via a series of pipes set beneath the floor, which circulate warm water from the heat source (boilers or heat pumps). A wet system is thicker and requires more space than its electrical equivalent. Wet systems are particularly suited to new floor constructions and builds because retro-fitting can be difficult. Installing of a water-based system is not easy in generally and thus, shouldn´t be done without assistance. It requires the knowledge of a professional with an understanding of a central heating system. In a case of current boiler incompatibility, maybe the new one will be necessary to buy. Water underfloor heating initial costs and installation costs may be higher. However, the running costs are lower per KW of heat output than costs of an electrical system so this system will be cost effective in the long term. The wet system reduces water-heating costs as it uses water at a lower temperature than radiators. 40°C – 65°C temperature will give a floor temperature 23°C – 32°C.
Pros and Cons
Advantages of UFH
Underfloor heating is hidden away, invisible and out of view. You don´t have to worry about reserving a space on the wall for a radiator. It is very efficient way to heat the room as emitted heat is consistent and very comfortable. Radiators heat up the area around them, heat is quickly dispersed upwards and leave stone cold flooring. In opposite, underfloor heating heats a larger area, is very cost-effective and works particularly well with tiles or stone. This system works at a lower temperature and heating doesn´t require hot water, so it´s ideal for condensing boilers. Heating provides comfort in a range of optimum and acceptable indoor temperature (20°C – 24°C) and floor temperature (19°C – 29°C). The temperature was set up after tests conducted by independent companies. You can install underfloor heating by yourself (electric system) or with professional assistance. Heating runs quietly without groans of old pipes and clears rooms of impractical radiators. System evaporates dangerous water spillage from bathroom or kitchen tiles. With no dust gathering and circulation around the room heating system is the right solution for sufferers of asthma or other respiratory issues. Last but not least, you save from 15% to 50% on heating bills.
Disadvantages of UFH
This system, of course, has some handicap too. It is not the best choice for impatient people, as it takes a longer time to heat up than radiators. For the wood floor, it takes 30 minutes and for another floor from one to several hours. Time depends on the depth of the embedded pipes and cables. On the other site, heat retains longer after switching off. You must be aware what you can place on the floor, especially certain furniture like pianos place on insulation. Underfloor heating installation can be costly and is suitable for newly built properties. Retro-fitting can be expensive and is difficult to change the system once installed.
Underfloor heating can be used with almost any flooring type.
You can install underfloor heating and use carpet, providing that the carpet and underlay have a thermal resistance of less than 2,5 tog. The majority of carpet styles will have the thermal resistance less than 1 tog.
Stone, ceramic, terracotta
Heat up time depends on the thickness of the tiles. Thick flagstones will take longer to reach the desired temperature. But when reached, there is no difference in heat value between thick or thin floor.
The timber flooring should have a maximum temperature restriction (27°C). Around the edges, an expansion gap needs to be left. Many suppliers recommend a specific brand of underfloor heating, so listen to their advice.
Vinyls and laminates
Use high-quality material. Allways consult using with flooring manufacturer or heating installer. Not all laminates and vinyls are compatible with underfloor heating. Some suppliers have developed their own underfloor heating systems or have one or two they work with.
If you choose water or electric underfloor heating, you will never feel cold feet again. The heating system will provide you a cozy feeling and leave your walls free for decorations that can be bought for money saved by lower heating bills.