When it comes to your monthly bills, having an energy-efficient home can significantly bring down your cost of living. Certain investments that help with this type of cost-cutting, such as solar panels, often come with a steep initial price tag. But the long term savings make them a worthwhile consideration. The same concept applies to underfloor heating.
It may be hard to believe, but underfloor heating uses much less energy than conventional radiator systems. There are also a number of other benefits that make radiant heating superior to other home heating solutions.
Underfloor heating works through either an electric or water-based system. With the latter, hot water runs through a series of pipes, while electric heating works by warming up wires beneath your floor. Both systems provide an efficient and consistent supply of heat, covering your entire floor and leaving no cold spots.
If you’re considering installing underfloor heating in your home, there are a few things that you need to know.
Traditional radiators need to heat up to between 65 and 75 degrees Celsius in order to provide a sufficient amount of heat in a room. Depending on the type of surface in your home, underfloor heating only needs to reach around 29 degrees Celsius or less. This results in far lower power consumption, cutting your energy bill by an average of 15%.
Superior Heat Dispersion
Radiators tend to make the air closest to them feel too hot while leaving the middle of the room cold. This is because they heat the air around them first. The only solution is to open a nearby window, but this simply results in a waste of energy. Underfloor heating on the other hand, provides a balanced amount of heat throughout the room.
No Wasted Space
If you have radiators on your walls, it can detriment your ability to arrange furniture and other items in the way you want to as you can’t have objects too close to the unit. With underfloor heating, you have an average of 10% more space, affording you the freedom to arrange your home and decorate walls however you want to.
As long as your flooring has insulation underneath to prevent heat loss, you can install underfloor heating below any type of surface. This includes not only tiles or concrete, but also vinyl, wood, laminate and carpet. Additionally, you can install it alongside other heating systems as it connects to the same central boiler unit.
Cheaper Than You Think
You can expect to pay between £1,100 to £1,600 to install underfloor heating in a one bedroom home. Homeowners with three bedrooms will pay around £2,100, while a five-bedroom home will require around £3,500. According to recent studies, 74% of people will happily pay over £1,000 for a home with this heating feature, while 10% would pay £5,000.
This makes underfloor heating not only a wise investment for cutting your energy bill, but also as a means of increasing the value of your home. It’s widely considered a luxury feature and would thus justify increasing the price of your property well above what you could normally charge.
For parents, the hot surfaces and sharp edges of radiators could pose a risk to younger family members. With underfloor heating, the heating system is safely concealed and won’t get too hot. Less air movement means less dust circulation, which results in fewer dust mites and allergens in the air. This also means the air in your home is more breathable.
One of the worst things about waking up on a cold morning is having to get out of bed and walk over the freezing floors of your bedroom and bathroom. With a heated floor and warm air around you, it’s much easier to get up and start the day. This small change to the way your home works adds a great deal of convenience to your life.
Easy Installation and Zero Maintenance
Installing an underfloor heating system in your home is easier than you might think. Compared to similar heating solutions, labour costs are lower as everything is installed in one go, especially if you use a professional service.
Underfloor Heating Aberdeen explains that a properly installed system will last a lifetime without any maintenance work required. Their renewable energy solutions allow you to obtain power from alternative sources, further reducing costs.
They offer a professional and affordable service with a skilled team that offers excellent after-sales support. If you’re looking for a great underfloor heating solution, you can find more information here.
How Underfloor Heating Works
As we learned earlier, underfloor heating either works through a “wet” system that pumps hot water through piping underneath the floor, or a “dry” system that uses electric coils. While it may seem fairly modern and advanced, the same heating principles have been used for centuries by Romans through a system called hypocausts.
Wet systems tend to cost around 33% more than dry ones as more insulation needs to be added to the pipework. If installed during the construction or renovation of building, it will be much cheaper. Electric systems are cheaper to install, but cost more to run in the long term. But running the system at night allows you to benefit from cheaper tariffs.
Living With Underfloor Heating
It takes roughly 20 minutes for an underfloor heating system to reach optimal temperature. Electric systems respond faster, but of course cost more to run. While underfloor heating systems don’t take up any surface space, one should be mindful about placing certain furniture and appliances above the heat coils.
Generally speaking, there shouldn’t be any issues with bedrooms, passageways, kitchens and dining areas. With bathrooms, heating up the floor is slightly more difficult as baths tend to take up more space. Of course, this doesn’t apply if you have a raised or claw-foot bathtub.
Underfloor heating can be connected to a variety of power sources depending on what you have available in your home. If you plan on using a gas-powered boiler, it’s best to have a condensing unit as they’re more suited to low-temperature heating systems. Wet underfloor heating in particular also goes well with thermal stores.
How Different Surfaces Affect Underfloor Heating
You know by now that underfloor heating works with essentially any type of flooring. However, there are certain things to keep in mind depending on the surface you wish to install it under. Carpet insulates are good at preventing heat loss, but aren’t as effective at letting heat in. The combined tog value of your carpet and underlay should be 2.5 or lower.
With wooden surfaces, homeowners should keep in mind that wood will expand and contract more than stone with the change in heat and moisture. This can be addressed with a layer of polythene foam that makes space for these subtle movements. Floating wood boards also work to alleviate this issue.
How Heat Distribution Works
Knowing how heat is distributed in a home is important, as this is the deciding factor when it comes to the comfort and efficiency of a home heating system. The convection of warm air reduces humidity, which in turn can make a room feel stuffy. With radiant heat, objects are heated directly, which maintains a room’s natural humidity levels.
Convection heating initially rises to one area before eventually spreading out, while radiant heat offers a much more even spread of heat. This is why underfloor heating is superior, as it does a much better job at dispersing heat evenly, thus providing better oxygen levels and fresher, more breathable air.
Underfloor Heating vs Radiators
If you’re still torn between sticking with radiators and switching to underfloor heating, let’s take a look at three advantages that underfloor heating has over radiator systems.
Space Saving: Radiators are bulky and their sharp, hot edges pose a risk to both people and nearby objects. The space they consume is especially noticeable in smaller areas such as bathrooms. With underfloor heating, none of these issues exist.
Energy Efficiency: The initial cost of underfloor heating is often higher than that of a radiator, but as learned earlier, the long term savings make underfloor heating a far better option. Opting for a renewable energy source for your heating system further cuts costs and reduces your environmental impact.
Zoning: Underfloor heating is traditionally separated between rooms, with individual thermostats to control temperatures in each section. This allows you to choose where heat is required, further cutting down on energy costs. Radiators tend to heat up a whole house at once through a central control system, which is simply a waste.
The benefits of an underfloor heating system are clear. You’ll save money, increase the value of your home, reduce your environmental impact and keep your toes warm during colder seasons. Although the initial cost may be tough to stomach, the savings make it worthwhile, and the flexibility of installation allows you to tailor the cost to your budget.
Underfloor heating is a great way to improve your quality of life and ensure a better future for yourself and your family, not to mention how impressed your guests will be by the fresh air and warm feeling of your home.