A Guide to Underfloor Heating
If you’re thinking about installing underfloor heating, there are some things to keep in mind. Underfloor heating serves as an energy efficient way to heat your home and you’ll save valuable space as radiators aren’t required. With underfloor heating, the heat is distributed evenly so there’s no risk of cold spots or children and pets burning themselves on a radiator.
There are two main types of underfloor heating available today:
The first is an electric mat system. This is where electric cables are attached to mesh mats and wired up to the mains and the thermostat. This system is much less disruptive to an existing home and has a cheaper upfront installation cost but is far more expensive to run than the following system.
Hot water systems are far more disruptive to the existing floor than electric mat systems and have a higher installation cost but are much cheaper to run. Pipes are fitted underneath the floor and are connected to the central heating system. As underfloor water heating systems distribute heat more efficiently than radiators, the water can be heated to a lower temperature than while heating the room to the same temperature as a radiator.
In order to prevent heat loss, the house needs to be properly insulated underneath the heating system, which will direct the heat upwards. If you’re planning to install a hot water system, a valve with timer controls will be installed in each room. Modern underfloor heating pipes tend to be continuous in order to be maintenance free and leak proof.
Underfloor heating is compatible with essentially all types of flooring but sometimes concessions need to be made.
If you plan on having underfloor heating in a carpeted room the carpet should have a maximum of a 2.5 tog thermal resistance whereas if you have a stone floor or something similar, the time it takes to reach the optimum temperature will depend on the thickness of the material. If you plan on having underfloor heating with a timber floor, it’s recommended that you only use floors that are recommended for underfloor heating use. If you do use timber floors, a small gap needs to be left to allow the timber to expand in the heat, though this will be covered by your skirting board. Lastly, as with timber, only specifically recommended laminates or vinyls should be used.