If you are considering an alternative to central heating, underfloor heating may just be the thing for you and your home. Smaller spaces will undoubtedly benefit from the absence of radiators taking up valuable wall and floor space, but you could benefit from reduced heating bills too.
Although underfloor heating is considered to be a cost-effective heating option, that may not always be the case if you were to retrofit it. Taking up floors and laying new flooring could be pricey, so it’s ordinarily better suited for new builds and planned extensions.
We’re going to go through the different types of underfloor heating, so you can get a better idea of how each works.
In short, radiators will heat the air around the radiator with the warm air rising - this usually heats a room unevenly. Whereas underfloor heating will heat the floor evenly giving you a radiant heat.
There are two types of underfloor heating to consider: dry or wet systems. The dry system operates using electrical wiring and the wet uses water-filled pipes. The wattage output of underfloor heating tends to be between 100 - 200W per meter square. So, the required wattage will really depend on the room size, purpose of the room and how well insulated it is.
The system of your choosing, along with the temperature probe, will need to be installed on top of a layer of insulation board - this ensures the heat is reflected up rather than down. Next will be a layer of levelling compound poured on top of the cables and probe - this will give you a level surface, ready to lay down your new flooring.
Let’s explain each type of underfloor heating in a little more detail.
Temperature controls for underfloor heating are likely to differ slightly from manufacturer to manufacturer, but they will have pretty much the same functionality.
Each room will have its own control panel where you can set the temperature. The ideal temperature for a living area is usually around 21℃, with the bedroom slightly lower at around 18℃. You can set the time for your heating to come on and off from here too.
Underfloor heating does tend to take a little longer to heat up than your standard radiator heating system, but it will give you a more constant and evenly distributed warmth.
Keeping your heating at a steady temperature should see you saving energy, reducing your carbon footprint and, in turn, a reduction in your heating bills.
Simply put, you can create heating zones when you have underfloor heating in several rooms - controlling them by using separate thermostat controls. This is great when you use certain rooms more than others or want to set a timer for each room - you may want the bathroom heating to come on first thing in the morning and the living room at night, for example.
This will come down to a number of factors - room size, number of rooms or ‘zones’, retrofitting or brand-new floor, installation cost, running cost, floor height. Once you can answer these questions you should have a better idea of what to look for.
Here are some things to consider:
For further information about underfloor heating, and help with planning your installation project, contact one of our Plumbing & Heating specialist branches for expert advice.
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Disclaimer: The information contained on this page is intended as an overall introduction and is not intended as specific advice from a qualified professional. Travis Perkins aims to avoid, but accepts no liability, in the case that any information stated is out of date.
Always refer to the manufacturer's guidance for installation instructions and product maintenance.