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Electric underfloor heating (UFH) is one of the fastest-growing home improvement projects in the UK over the past couple of years.
Ever since people have become aware of its benefits over conventional radiator heating, more and more homeowners are switching to this energy-efficient heating system.
Warming your home or office with electric UFH can be a brilliant way to stay toasty during the cooler months, all the while enjoying better comfort, hygiene, energy and cost savings, and a lot more.
If you are considering electric UFH as part of your next home or office renovation project and want to know all about this heating solution, read our detailed guide where we cover its benefits, installation, and costs:
Electric underfloor heating (UFH) is a heating method that uses a thin heating wire installed under the surface of the floor, which when warmed up, heats the floor surface and gives off radiant heat. When standing or walking on the floor, it feels nice and warm under your feet.
Often installed in rooms that have hard floors that feel cold when barefoot, such as kitchens and bathrooms, electric underfloor heating is ideal for rooms with lots of fittings and furniture, leaving very little room for conventional radiators.
Underfloor heating warms up a room using a mix of heat and convection, unlike radiators that mostly just use convection. UFH reduces the likelihood of cold spots while helping create a more constant and comfortable temperature throughout the room.
There are two main types of underfloor heating:
Electric underfloor heating makes use of a thin heating wire under the floor, whereas wet underfloor heating systems consist of pipes connected to a boiler that uses warm water from the central heating system.
Wet UFH systems are the best option if you are building from scratch or are planning an elaborate system for the entire house. Electric underfloor heating, although cheaper and easier to install, can have relatively high running costs.
It is also often a good idea to opt for electric UFH for heating small areas, such as bathrooms, where it may be difficult to install wet underfloor heating. To make it more energy-efficient, you may use devices such as timers, motion sensors, and hot water sensors.
Some of the benefits of installing electric underfloor heating include:
Both electric and water-based underfloor heating systems have been shown to be more energy-efficient than conventional radiators when it comes to energy consumption and bills.
While traditional radiators have to be heated at a high temperature (65°C to 75°C) in order to properly heat a room, UFH systems have an operating temperature of around 29°C, depending on the type of floor finish, thereby consuming much less energy and keeping your energy bills lower.
In addition to that, radiators are prone to cold spots since they heat the air nearest to them first, leaving the air cold in the middle and far corner of the room.
Since UFH provides warmth from the ground up, there are no cold spots or stuffiness in the area being heated, and it is much easier to achieve the desired temperature set using a thermostat.
All in all, compared to conventional radiators, underfloor heating provides an average saving of around 15% on your energy bills, thanks to the efficient way they operate in.
One of the key benefits of underfloor heating is that once installed, it is almost effortless to run and requires close to no maintenance over the years.
If installed properly, electric underfloor heating systems will not need regular servicing, whereas water-based systems may require occasional checks to ensure everything is working correctly.
There’s something extremely soothing and comfortable about your bare feet coming in direct contact with the warm floor, which is exactly what underfloor heating provides.
UFH provides a consistent temperature in the room and a balanced climate throughout, considering all parts of the room share the same heating system. One part of the room won’t feel cooler or warmer than the rest, which is usually the case with radiator systems.
In addition to that, underfloor heating systems are much safer and more hygienic than radiators since the latter produces high levels of moisture and humidity at floor level, creating an ideal environment for insects and dust mites.
With underfloor heating systems, you get more control over the temperature and residents don’t have to put up with the same temperature.
This is possible with the help of a dedicated thermostat that allows you to change the room’s temperature according to your preference.
Most conventional radiator systems fitted with thermostatic valves are often unreliable and offer poor temperature control.
To get the most out of your UFH system, you need to install a good system which, although might come at an added cost, will help you save money over time since you can adjust the settings based on your use and turn them off in areas that are not currently in use.
For the UFH system to work properly, it has to be compatible with your floor system. Luckily, it works well with most floors and you don’t have to have a solid surface, such as stones or tiles for best results.
While solid floors retain heat much longer, UFH works just as well with vinyl, carpet, laminated, and engineered wood to lay out the system.
Radiators are bulky systems that require a lot of space to set up and homeowners having these systems often complain about their precious space being compromised because of them.
With underfloor heating systems, a large amount of space is cleared up since there is no need for radiators. You can easily use this free space for extra storage or furniture.
Since UFH systems are tucked out of sight, they can accommodate any home décor style, in contrast to radiators that awkwardly take up space in your room and spoil the décor.
In addition to being aesthetically unappealing, radiators also pose serious health and safety risks due to their jaggy corners and potential fire hazards, especially for children and vulnerable adults.
With UFH, you don’t have to worry about such accidents taking place because not only are they completely safe but also away from reach.
Contrary to what many people think, UFH systems are easy to install, both for new-build projects as well as retrofitting as part of a home renovation.
Depending on the scope of the project and the type of UFH system you want to have installed, it can take as little as 1 to 2 days.
Regardless of the type of installation, always make sure it is conducted by a fully qualified installer who has the experience and skill required to work with UFH systems.
While electric underfloor heating is a great solution for homes as well as offices, there are a few things to consider before opting for this new and more efficient heating solution:
When it comes to installing electric underfloor heating systems, it is always best to have a professional installer inspect your property to help determine the desired temperature, type of flooring, potential heat loss, and ceiling height.
While these systems are compatible with all kinds of flooring types, stone, marble, slate, and engineered wood are the best when it comes to insulation and heat retention.
The best time to install underfloor heating is as part of a renovation or retrofit, preferably when you first move into your house. If you do not have plans to renovate any time soon, we suggest you lay out new flooring on the existing floor structure or add a floating floor to accommodate the pipes.
For the least amount of changes to your existing floor, you may also consider installing a lightweight, low-profile system that has designs that are as thin as 15mm and eliminates the need to alter features such as door frames and stairs.
If you plan to install UFH all over your house, make sure you refer to the house’s blueprint since it takes into account your requirements and helps come up with a way to heat up every room without the need for additional heating.
To get the most out of your UFH system, you will have to make sure that your property is insulated in order to minimise heat loss and allow the heat to travel upward.
When it comes to controlling the temperature, make sure to leave enough space to house the controls. In the case of wet systems, each room will have its own valve. It is also common to integrate the UFH with a smart system and control the temperature using your smart devices from anywhere in the world.
Regardless of the type of UFH system you opt for, you must refrain from going on the DIY route and only let professionals with the required skills and experience install them.
Electric UFH systems, although relatively easy to install, require complex planning and are quite labour intensive. Wet systems are more difficult to install and require the use of fitting specialists who will pay attention to crucial details such as boiler capacity, valve controls, and set up timers.
When it comes to UFH installation, the total cost is affected by several factors such as:
You can expect to pay upwards of £50 per square metre for electric underfloor heating and upwards of £120 per square metre for wet systems, with installation and materials costing anywhere between £500 and £8,000.
The final cost will depend on the type of underfloor heating you choose and the complexity of the system. However, you should keep in mind that UFH is far less expensive to install for areas up to 20 square metres.
|Electric Underfloor Heating
|£50 to £75 per square metre
|£60 to £85 per square metre
|Wet Underfloor Heating
|£120 to £135 per square metre
|£135 to £185 per square metre
In addition to the materials and installation costs, you also need to look at the running costs to see how much UFH systems cost to operate over time.
When compared to other options, underfloor heating isn’t expensive to run and it offers plenty of benefits in terms of evenly distributing heat across the property, which is something that conventional radiators seldom do.
Most underfloor heating systems also have the ability to heat a room more effectively on lower heat as well, saving you a lot of money over time.
Since UFH systems have an operating temperature as low as 29°C, they use a lot less energy as compared to radiators that generally require a high temperature of around 65°C to 75°C.
UFH is estimated to be 25% more efficient than a radiator-only heating system, particularly when paired with a modern condensing boiler, and 40% more efficient when combined with a heat pump.
The materials for electric UFH systems are cheaper as compared to wet systems, but since electricity costs more, you can expect their running cost to be higher in the long run.
That being said, electric underfloor heating is a great option for small spaces and retrofit building projects.
Some options that you can choose from to make the system more efficient include:
Calder Electrical has been providing electrical services to residential, commercial, and industrial properties for over 40 years and we are specialists in all aspects of electrical installations, maintenance, testing, and energy-saving practices.
We understand the importance of reducing your energy consumption which will not only help you lower your bills but also allow you to play your part in reducing harmful carbon emissions.
Our energy-saving services include installing smart systems for lighting and heating, installing or upgrading to energy-efficient products such as LED lighting, a wide range of smart home solutions, and ways to maximise an existing solar PV or wind turbine installation so that you can store excess energy rather than feeding it back into the grid.
We work to meet the standards set by the NICEIC to make sure all your electrical wiring and installations meet the current regulations and all the notifiable work is signed off by the local authorities.
Or would like us to provide a survey and quote then please contact us and we will be happy to help.Call us on 0800 612 3001