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Underfloor Heating

Underfloor Heating Guide: The Pros, Cons & Costs


We’ve all been in homes that have radiators on the walls to provide heating to the home, but they’re not the only way you can heat your home. Underfloor heating is one of the most popular alternatives as it’s a ‘hidden’ heating system that can help to free up space around the home.

To help you decide if it’s the right choice for your home, we’ve taken a look at the pros, cons and costs of installing underfloor heating.

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How Underfloor Heating Works

You won’t be surprised to find out that underfloor heating is fitted under the floor, heating the whole of the floor to a low but warm temperature with the heat spreading evenly around the room. There are two different types of underfloor heating systems available, a ‘dry’ one that runs on electricity and a ‘wet’ system that circulates hot water.

  • Electric: By using a series of electric wires or electric heating sheets that heat the room from either below or within the flooring. A ‘dry’ system sits on top of a layer of insulation to ensure that all of the heat travels up to the room.
  • Wet: Circulates hot water from the boiler through pipes under the floor, this then heats the room. A ‘wet’ system can also be powered by a solar water heating system or air source heat pump.
  • Underfloor Heating: The Benefits

    Now that we know how underfloor heating works, let’s take a look at all of the benefits it can bring to your home:

    Spread heat evenly around the room

    It can be easy to think that because the floor is being heated, only your feet will feel the benefit, but underfloor heating systems spread heat all around the room right up to the ceiling. So you’ll feel the benefit from head to toe.

    Increased space around the home

    With an underfloor heating system, you can remove radiators from the walls and you might be surprised at just how much more space your home will have. That sofa you have backed-up to a radiator could go right up against the wall.

    Reduce your heating bills with a wet system

    Radiators have to be at a high temperature for a room to feel the full effects, a ‘wet’ underfloor heating system on the other hand, operates at a much lower temperature. Thanks to this, you’ll be saving money on your energy bills. Dry systems won’t have the same result because they run on electricity which is more expensive.

    Can be used under different floor types

    If you’re considering underfloor heating all around the home but have several different types of flooring, underfloor heating can be fitted under most of them:

    • Carpet and rug flooring
    • Laminate
    • Stone
    • Tile
    • Vinyl

    Underfloor heating is adaptable to many types of flooring but there will be differences in how quickly and efficiently heat transfers to the room. Surfaces with good conductivity (stone or tile) will offer the best results.

    Helps to prevent dust circulating

    When radiators are on they circulate dust around the room but with underfloor heating this won’t happen, perfect for anyone with asthma or dust allergies.

    Higher house price

    Many people see underfloor heating as a luxurious way of heating a home which can appeal to potential buyers should you look to sell your home.

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    Underfloor Heating: The Cons

    As we’ve seen, underfloor heating has many benefits but it’s worth making a note of some of the potential downsides before investing.

    Installation cost

    Underfloor heating systems themselves have a reasonable price attached to them but when it comes to the installation, the costs soon add up. The best time to have the system installed is when you’re renovating your home or are moving into a new build.

    Takes time to heat a room

    While a low operating temperature will benefit your energy bills, this will mean that you’ll be waiting longer for the room to be heated throughout.

    Furniture can’t be placed in some areas

    Dry systems will prevent you from placing any furniture that’s flat across the bottom on areas of the floor where the heating mat or cable is installed as this can restrict airflow and cause thermal blocking. You’ll also have to consider where you place items that have a tog value over 2.5 such as rugs or bean bags.

    Electric systems can be expensive to run

    An electrician will be needed to connect an electric system up the the electricity supply which will come with a cost, then on top of that the system will cost much more to run than with water.

    How Can Air Source and Ground Source Heat Pumps Benefit an Underfloor Heating System?

    As underfloor heating system operate at a low temperature, air source and ground source heat pumps are a great way to heat the system with lower running costs.

    You can find out more about air source and ground source heat pumps here on Home Heating Guide.

    Can Underfloor Heating be Installed into Every Room?

    You can install underfloor heating on ground floors and upper floors in many rooms around the house from the kitchen to bedrooms, with the most popular room being the bathroom. Installing the system will mean that you can part with radiators but if you don’t want to remove them from every room, you can have a combination of underfloor heating and radiators around the home.

    What’s the Cost of Installing an Underfloor Heating System?

    Depending on whether you’d like an electric or water system, the price will be different. Dry electricity systems will potentially cost £75 per square metre for underfloor heating mats and cable will be roughly £100 a metre. A wet system will have higher material and installation costs but it doesn’t cost as much to run, which helps in the long term.

    The type of system you have installed isn’t the only thing that will have an impact on the final installation cost, you’ll also have to consider the following:

    • Number of rooms and their size
    • Will any radiators be removed
    • If you’re having work done on the floors at the time of installation

    As there are so many things that can change the cost of installation we highly recommend getting quotes from at least 3 different installers to help you get the best deal.

    What other ‘Hidden’ Heating Systems are Available?

    Underfloor heating systems aren’t the only way to heat your home as if from nowhere, you do have some more options:

    • Skirting board heating
    • Wall panel heating

    What’s skirting board heating?

    You may remember the inventor of skirting board heating appearing on Dragons’ Den, leaving without any investment. Since then, skirting board heating has gone from strength to strength. With the heat coming from a low point in the room but not having to heat the entire floor, like with underfloor heating, it will achieve an even heat distribution around the room much faster. So less energy will be required and you’ll have lower energy bills as a result.

    For a 2 bedroom semi-detached home the cost of installation will amount to around £6,000.

    What’s wall panel heating?

    Wall panels are fitted behind walls, either heating a small area of wall or an entire room. They can be fitted into different types walls from straight vertical walls to sloping ceilings and many more walls of a complex nature. As they leave your walls warm and dry, they help to prevent mould, which is a great benefit. Prices normally start from roughly £70 per square metre.

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