Underfloor Heating: A Cosy Solution for Bitter Winters 

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It’s that time of year again. You’re left worrying about your heating bills and debating whether it’s truly cold enough to turn your radiators on. All while dealing with the cost-of-living crisis – and Christmas expenses. In the realm of heating solutions, underfloor heating stands out as a modern and efficient alternative that not only warms your home but also enhances comfort and energy efficiency.

Electric and Water Underfloor Heating

Electric underfloor heating, sometimes called ‘dry’ underfloor heating, involves installing electric heating mats, sheets or wires under or within your floors.

Water underfloor heating, sometimes called ‘wet’ underfloor heating, instead uses a series of pipes under your floor that are connected to your central heating system.

Heat Distribution

Unlike radiators, underfloor heating supplies a consistent and radiant warmth from the entire floor surface. This even distribution ensures that every corner of the room is comfortably heated, cutting out cold spots that radiators can’t reach and creating a cosy atmosphere throughout your home.

Aesthetics and Space

Underfloor heating eliminates the need for bulky radiators, offering a space-saving alternative. This allows you to design your home without constraints, providing more flexibility and aesthetic freedom in interior design.

Getting rid of radiators also removes the risk of small children burning themselves or running into the bulky frames and injuring themselves. This applies to adults too, but radiators are often more of a concern for families with children.

Energy Efficiency

Renowned for its energy efficiency, underfloor heating warms the entire room, allowing for a lower thermostat setting compared to traditional heating methods. Resulting in enhanced comfort and reduced energy consumption, leading to potential cost savings and a smaller environmental footprint.

Your heating can also be divided into zones, which provides you with precise control over individual areas. This zoning capability allows for personalised temperature settings in different rooms, catering to the diverse comfort preferences of other people in your home. This allows you to optimise energy efficiency too by only heating the spaces in use.

Maintenance

It’s important to properly care for your underfloor heating system to keep it running smoothly. This includes regular inspections to make sure there’s no damage to the components or loose connections. Keep the surface clean by regularly sweeping or vacuuming to remove dust or debris; this is important for the heat distribution too.

It’s also recommended that you get your underfloor heating serviced regularly to ensure it’s running smoothly!

Health and Allergy Benefits

Underfloor heating reduces air circulation and minimises the movement of dust particles, making it an ideal choice for individuals with allergies. The absence of air drafts also helps to maintain a healthier indoor environment by preventing the spread of allergens, providing relief for those with respiratory issues.

Flooring Compatibility

There’s a wide range of flooring materials that are compatible with underfloor heating such as tiles, wood, laminate and even carpet. It’s more about the conductivity of the material: the more it conducts, the better the result. It’s also good to have flooring that retains heat as it’ll make underfloor heating all the more efficient for energy costs. For example, thinner and denser wood flooring can be better at conducting heat.

Although, if you choose underfloor heating for your wood flooring, it’s important to know that the moisture from the heating can change your floors appearance. So, you need to make sure the thickness of the wood is right, so it doesn’t block the heat.

It’s really a case of double-checking!

Installation and Costs

It’s usually better and cheaper to have underfloor heating installed if you’re having work done on your floors already, renovating or moving into a new build; this helps to keep the costs to a minimum.

For water underfloor heating, your floor levels may need to be raised to fit the pipes, making it more complex, which can lead to it being costly to install. In the long run, though, it’s cheaper to run.

Electric underfloor heating, on the other hand, is generally easier and cheaper to fit as it takes up less space. It’s possible to install it yourself, but you would need an electrician to connect it to your electric system. But it is more expensive to run.

Electric, Water or Radiators?

So, should you get rid of your radiators and exchange them for underfloor heating?

Underfloor heating has many advantages in comparison to radiators, which don’t always do the job. The heat they let off doesn’t circulate the room and often you can leave a toasty room only to be hit by a wall of coldness.

Water underfloor heating then increases your energy efficiency, is cheaper to run and is perfect for large spaces. But the installation process is pricey, time-consuming and complex.

Electric underfloor heating has lower upfront costs, is quick to heat up and is easier to install. Except it costs more to run and cools down quickly when it’s turned off.

It’s a decision to sit on due to the complexities and expenses, but underfloor heating might be a better choice for your home and your bills as winter rears its bitter head.

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