Which type of underfloor heating is right for your home

Find out how underfloor heating works, the different options available and what costs are involved.

By Jo Messenger | 12 January 2017

Find out how underfloor heating works, the different options available, what costs are involved and whether it’s right for your home and lifestyle.

Which type of underfloor heating is right for your home3

Image: Pergo (0844 811 8288; pergo.co.uk)

 

Once used predominantly in kitchens, bathrooms or the occasional hallway, under floor heating (UFH) is now aviable choice when it comes to heating larger spaces – and even the whole house. As well as being cosy and warm underfoot, it also offers the benefit of radiant heat; warmth rises up to fill the entire room, with an even temperature and no cold spots.

‘One of the biggest attractions is that it’s completely invisible, with no need for radiators taking up your wall space,’ adds Stuart Wisbey, director at the Stone & Ceramic Warehouse (020 8993 5545; sacw.co.uk). ‘It is also particularly advantageous in spaces such as wet rooms, as floor moisture is quickly evaporated.’

Although there are many systems on the market, they all fall into one of two basic types –electric or wet. An electric system, usually in the form of very thin wire or matting, works independently from central heating, and causes less disruption if you’re retrofitting on an existing floor. A wet system, on the other hand, is connected to the main central-heating source and works by circulating warm water through plastic pipes installed under the floor.

Which type of underfloor heating is right for your home3

Image: Quick-Step (+32 56 675 211; quick-step.co.uk)

 

There are conflicting figures about the eco benefits and savings for under floor heating, depending on the type of piping laid and the insulation used. It can take a couple of hours to heat up a room using under floor heating, whereas a radiator might take only 20 minutes.

However, radiators cool down a lot faster. The solution is to leave under floor heating on all day at a moderate temperature, such as 16°C, which uses less energy than a radiator having to heat a room from cold.

An electric system can be more expensive, but a programmable timer – such as the 3iE Energy Monitor thermostat by Warmup (0845 345 2288; warmup.co.uk) – can be used to optimise performance. Plus, as it runs independently from central heating, you can warm a specified area without having to heat the whole house.