Who wouldn’t want to come in from the cold and immediately feel the warmth in your feet or step out of the shower straight onto a warm floor in your bathroom? In Scandinavian countries underfloor heating is extremely popular and nearly 80% of the homes are heated in this way. Until now it had been seen as a luxury for the rich and famous but recently it has become a more common form of heating here in the UK especially in new build homes where it is fitted as standard.
Underfloor heating is seen as more efficient system to run and can be installed beneath virtually any floor type. It is particularly popular in bathroom spaces where fitting in a radiator can be tricky. Underfloor heating works by heating the floor upwards through radiation to cover the entire volume of the room at the same time. Unlike a traditional radiator system this creates an even dispersal of warmth throughout your room so there are no draught or cold spots.
So is the common myth that it is just affordable for the upper class true or is underfloor heating a viable option for any number of homes? A useful starting point is to look at the different types of underfloor heating available in the current market and the pros and cons of this type of heating before you decide if it is something you wish to have in your home.
What Types of Underfloor Heating are Available?
Hot Water (Wet) Systems
With this type of underfloor heating water is pumped through the pipes within the sub floor from the main central heating system or via solar energy. This is best for new build homes so that it can be installed at the time of construction.
Electric Mates/Wire (Dry) Systems
This style of underfloor heating is produced by unique mats or wiring which are connected together to spread out beneath the floor of the room. This is linked to the thermostat and main power supply of the home. This more slim line style of underfloor heating is easier to install in homes making it a more viable option for many of us with an older property.
Generally speaking electric underfloor heating systems are cheaper to install than hot water systems but are not as efficient to run once installed.
What are the Pros and Cons of Underfloor Heating?
This invisible source of warmth means you can plan the layout of a room without having to consider where you will have to place a radiator. Despite the range of modern radiators available they can still create an eye sore in an otherwise minimalist style room. Underfloor heating can help retain a seamless feel to your room and allow extra space for other pieces of furniture you may wish to have.
Underfloor heating is more energy efficient as it only has to create a lower temperature to achieve the desired room temperature. The average running costs of these systems are typically 15-40% cheaper than conventional radiator systems. Most systems come complete with thermostatic controls for individual rooms meaning that you won’t waste energy or money heating rooms that you don’t need to.
If you have your underfloor heating correctly installed initially then there is little that can go wrong with these systems. The initial pressure testing that is carried out with hot water systems would identify any potential leeks so that these are rectified before the appropriate floor covering is placed on top.
Without any radiators in your room children can’t bump into any protruding edges or piping. This also removes the risk of young children or people with limited mobility burning themselves on the hot surface of a radiator. Underfloor heating also allows for more practical floor covering without them being cold which can be useful for homes with children or pets or for bathrooms where spillages can be more easily cleaned.
Underfloor heating systems are known to produce less airborne dust in your room. This is particularly important for people with allergies and asthma.
Underfloor heating can be quite slow to warm up the room especially in rooms with solid floor surfaces. Wooden floors can take up to 30 minutes to warm whilst concrete floors can take one or two hours meaning that you need to have your heating on for longer periods and also remember to switch the heating on in advance. We suggest timers will help you with this problem so that you don’t have to wait for your room to feel warm.
When planning where you are going to position the underfloor heating you must consider the layout of your room especially where the units will be in a fixed position. This heating type can cause the inside of cupboards or units to ‘sweat’ which can be detrimental to your furniture. It is also worth making sure you select the correct wooden flooring type to compliment your underfloor heating as some woods can warp over time.
Difficult to Alter
Once your underfloor heating is in place it is a massive upheaval to change or adapt the system so it needs to be really well thought out and designed. It will take major work to remove if you aren’t happy with the system once it is installed.
Hot water systems are expensive to install initially and underfloor heating will be quite costly if you install it as an additional luxury to your current heating system. Running it alongside your main heating system will prove costly on your energy bills.
Underfloor heating is becoming more popular and despite the drawbacks, it is easy to see why with an ever growing need for more space in the home and people trying to be more energy efficient. To be an efficient system it will work best for properties that are well insulated to enable the rooms to preserve the heat that is created. It is also worth considering for extensions or when creating an en suite space as it is easily installed when constructing a new room or building. Which type of underfloor heating you opt for is very dependent on your individual home or the type of property in which you wish to install it.
Here at Bella Bathrooms we have a range of underfloor heating systems that will be a valuable addition to your home but more specifically will add a touch of luxury to your bathroom. Our underfloor heating systems are supplied with 25 year guarantees that assure you that these are top quality systems for your home.