If you are considering installing underfloor heating, whether as part of a renovation project or a new build, there are several things that you need to know. At UK Screeds, as liquid screed contractors in Bristol, we can install your underfloor heating for you as well. There is absolutely no doubt that underfloor heating has many benefits when compared with a radiator system.
Just to begin with, an underfloor heating system will heat the entire room evenly which does not happen with radiators. A radiator heats the air around it and above it, and it rises until it hits the ceiling and is then circulated around the room by convection. What this means is that there will be warm spots and cooler spots in the room. The air next to the radiator will be hotter than in the centre of the room which will be cooler.
As the air circulates around the room it also moves dust around with it. This is not good news for anyone with asthma or breathing issues.
By contrast, an underfloor heating system covers the whole of the floor and so heats the room evenly. It does not move dust around the room and so there are no dust mites or allergens swirling about.
Furthermore, an underfloor heating system is far more energy efficient than radiators. In order to heat the room, radiators need to run at between 65 – 75°C, whereas underfloor heating only needs to run at 29°C or even a little less, depending upon the floor covering, in order to heat the room effectively. This means that the bills for heating your home will be far lower than a radiator system.
There is another big advantage if you do away with radiators, and that is the amount of space that they take up. Remove the radiators and pipes and you can have almost 10% more space in the room. You can also put furniture right up against the wall if you choose.
There are two choices when it comes to underfloor heating, and that is either an electric system or a water-based system. An electric system uses either a heating cable or heating mat. A heating mat has a cable running through it and it can be installed very quickly by simply rolling out the mat over the substrate or insulation boards. A heating cable is a continuous cable which is run backwards and forwards on the flooring.
A water-based heating system, which is what we install at UK Screeds, uses a continuous heating pipe through which water that has been heated is pumped. The water can be heated by a boiler or an air source or ground source heat pump, and only uses electricity for the pump to push the water around the system. Electricity is, of course, expensive, so a water-based system costs a lot less to run than an electric system.
Once installed, an underfloor heating system needs virtually no maintenance whatsoever. The system can be controlled by a dedicated thermostat which can be a simple manual thermostat, a programmable thermostat, or a smart Wi-Fi thermostat. With the latter you can control the temperature from anywhere – even when away from home – using a smartphone or tablet.
Another benefit of underfloor heating is that you no longer have to worry about the hot surfaces of radiators when you have young family members in the house.
At UK Screeds, when we have installed underfloor heating for you on top of insulation boards, the system needs to be covered using a liquid screed. This has a definite advantage over a traditional sand and cement screed because it will totally cover the heating pipes. This is something to take into consideration when installing underfloor heating as a renovation project because it will increase the height of the floor.
When it comes to the cost of underfloor heating, installing an electric system will cost less than a water-based system. However, you have to take into account the fact that the water-based system will cost less to run and so will save money on a continuing basis. Underfloor heating can also be used in conjunction with almost any type of floor covering, although if you are using carpet, it must not exceed 2.5 togs because it could interfere with the heat transfer if it is higher.