Underfloor heating is an efficient means of heating your home. And with underfloor heating kits being more competitively priced than ever, now is the time to take a fresh look at this easy to install and cheap to run heating system.
Underfloor heating can either be a wet system, where hot water is pumped through pipes beneath the top layer of flooring or a dry system, in which electric mats heat the floor above.
There are pros and cons to both, although it is now widely accepted that wet or water underfloor heating is the most efficient system.
Underfloor heating is not a modern invention. The Romans enjoyed hypocaust heating – fire under the floor – in their bath houses. Now common in Northern European countries, Britain is also beginning its love affair with underfloor heating.
An Efficient Heating System
Underfloor heating has the potential to save you money but how much depends on two factors. Essentially, these variables have an impact on how well underfloor heating brings heat to your home;
Level of insulation
Top of the list is how well or not your home is insulated. Before you purchase an underfloor heating kit and start ripping up floorboards, you should take time and money out of your budget to upgrade and bolster current insulation measures;
* Loft insulation should be at a minimum depth of 270mm and make sure all parts of the loft, including corners are insulated.
* Wall insulation is achieved through cavity wall insulation, where the gap between the outer and inner walls of a property are filled. Or, for when there is no cavity, thermal wall insulation adds a top layer of insulation boards onto the exterior of your home.
* Double glazed windows and doors also form part of insulation measures in your home.
* Floor insulation will be fitted as you or a specialist contractor fit the underfloor heating system, both wet and dry systems. This prevents heat being lost to the floor, ensuring that all the heat is radiated to the room above.
The efficiency of the boiler
Once you have dealt with the insulation of your home, you now need to turn your attention to the big piece of technical kit that will run the wet underfloor heating system: the boiler.
Underfloor heating kits for wet systems are compatible with modern, combi-boilers. Underfloor heating is a different kind of heat – it is far gentler and the systems runs at a lower temperature. Therefore, when the boiler fires to send heat through the system, you want the most efficient boiler you can lay your hands on (and your budget will stretch to).
Underfloor heating can be the primary source of heat in a well-insulated home or can run alongside a central heating, attached to the same combi-boiler.
A Different Type of Heat
The heat supplied by a wet underfloor heating is a different kind of heat to that of a central heating system.
Radiators heat a room by heating the air, known as convention heat. Hot air rises, cools and then falls back to the floor, where the radiator heats it again.
Underfloor heating produces radiated heat. This means that instead of heating the air, it heats objects. Thus, the hot water heats the plastic piping through which it flows, which in turns heats the screed floor or pre-routed insulated boards which them heat the top layer of flooring.
And it heats the room evenly, unlike radiators which tend to have a hot spot close to the radiator itself. The entire floor is heated, there are no cold or hot spots, just a pleasant, gentle warmth beneath your feet.
The Benefits of Underfloor Heating
For those who have invested in underfloor heating, they are realising many benefits;
- Save money on heating bills – no one likes spending their cash on bills, thus the lower the heating bill the better.
- Healthier heat – underfloor heating doesn’t cause air movement thus, there are less dust and dust mites swirling about for you to breathe in.
- Gentler heat – radiators and central heating is a dry heat which can make your home feel stuffy and overly warm. Underfloor heating provides a much gentler heat.
- Luxury – there is something luxurious about warm floors throughout your home. Underfloor heating is suitable for all rooms, including a gentle heat in the kitchen and a warm floor in the bathroom.
- Hidden – many homeowners also like the fact that the mechanics of the heating system is hidden away.
Are you considering underfloor heating for your home?