If you are replacing your heating system, undertaking renovation work on your house, or building from scratch, then underfloor heating is definitely something to consider.
There are several advantages:
Underfloor heating: the pros
Underfloor heating is a modern and high-spec feature – allowing you to enjoy the luxury of warm floors during cold winter mornings and even providing a good selling point to push up your property’s resale price.
A large system can do away with the need for bulky radiators, offering extra space and a clean decorative finish.
Underfloor heating is thought to be a more efficient way of heating a room – where that room’s walls, doors and windows are well insulated – because of the way the heat is distributed.
Radiators rapidly heat the area immediately around it, with the heat rising and slowly distributing around the rest of the room. An underfloor system heats a larger surface area from the floor upwards at a lower temperature, resulting in a more consistent temperature.
Pros at a glance
- Provides warm and cosy stone and tile floors
- Can replace radiators in a room, freeing up wall and floor space and offering a high-end finish
- Lots of flexible options available, covering different flooring types
- Possible to install in a new-build or retrospectively
- It’s invisible when you walk into a room.
- It’s maintenance free when it’s installed properly.
- It allows you to do away with radiators in the ground floor rooms, although you will still need radiators upstairs for a totally warm house.
- It only requires a low water temperature to provide a decent amount of heat and a good condensing boiler is adequate for this.
- It helps to reduce the circulation of dust and other allergens when compared to traditional radiators.
- It can in some cases reduce your home’s energy consumption by 15% although this may not be so in some houses.
Underfloor heating: the cons
One common complaint about some underfloor heating systems is the slower heating time compared to other forms of heating – so a room or area can take longer to heat up, depending on the system, though it will also take longer to cool down.
This can be an issue if you need immediate warmth in a room and are depending on the underfloor system to provide it, though a good system should have controls to allow you to pre-programme it to switch on beforehand.
An underfloor heating system can be pricey to install, maintain and run, particularly if it’s supplementary to your main heating system – and is generally seen as a luxury extra rather than home heating essential.
If you want to install this type of heating in an existing floor then you have to literally rip the floor up and relay the concrete with the integrated pipe work.
In order to keep the floor at a comfortable temperature, your boiler has to be constantly turned on. Should you turn it off for any length of time then the concrete will cool and it takes an age (and quite a lot of energy) to reheat it to your desired temperature.
Cons at a glance
- Can be expensive
- Retrofit installation of underfloor heating can be a upheaval
- Not all underfloor heating systems can replace radiators as the main heating source
- Longer heat-up times