If you are thinking about changing your heating system or are building from scratch, underfloor heating may be one of the options you are looking at. It certainly has its advantages when it comes to creating a fuss free interior, but what are the other benefits and will it really do a better job at keeping your home warm?
There are a number of reasons why you would want to choose underfloor heating:
- It keeps your walls free of radiators and gives a cleaner look to your home.
- If used in conjunction with renewable heat sources such as air source pumps or thermal solar panels, it can be incredibly efficient and cheap to run.
- The heat is ambient and non-directional. This means that the room is warm everywhere and because heat rises it very quickly warms the air.
- The heat is less likely to be absorbed by the walls as it does with radiators.
You can choose to have your underfloor heating attached to your central heating system in the same way as radiators. The water is pumped through pipes which are laid out on the floor. You can run this system at a lower temperature than your normal radiators as the water is spread over a larger distance. This system can also be attached to air or ground source pumps.
You can buy a heat pad which has wires embedded in it. These wires are attached to your electricity supply and heated. This can be expensive to run, unless you get your electricity from another source such as solar. However this type of system is good for retro fitting.
Putting in underfloor heating can be a messy job, which is why it is recommended for new builds. You will need to lift your current floor and possibly dig down into your concrete flooring to make room for the coils or plastic tubing. You may have to replace the screed and then put tiles, carpet or wood flooring over that.
If you are looking at a retro fit it is best to go for an electric system as this can be placed directly on the sub-floor.
You will also need to consider the type of boiler you have and if it will be compatible if you go for a wet system. Your pipe work may need to be extended to accommodate the new heating.
Underfloor heating can be used with almost any type of flooring, but you need to bear in mind how thick the material is. For example flag stones and stone tiles may take longer to heat up while some types of wood may be subject to warping or discolouring. Vinyl may also need to be laid with a special glue to prevent the heat making it liable to lifting.
DIY kits can start at as little as £70 which will be suitable for a small room. However you need to expect to spend several hundred for a kit which will give you enough piping for several rooms and all the necessary connections. If you opt to have your system fitted, you will expect at least one days labour as well. Of course this does not take into account any preparation work which needs to be done.