If you are considering installing underfloor heating in a new project, or you are thinking about installing it in an existing building, there are certain things that you need to take into consideration.
First, there are two ways of using underfloor heating. It can be either electric or water-based. Electric underfloor heating can consist of heating wires or a heating mat with very fine wires running through it. Water-based underfloor heating, which is what we install at UK Screeds, as underfloor heating installers in Gloucestershire, has a system of pipes which carry water which has been heated by your heat source and is pumped through the system.
If you are looking to be as green as possible, your heat source can be a ground source heat pump or an air source heat pump, and of course, you can also use solar panels. A ground source heat pump can be used if you have sufficient space in your garden in which to lay the heating pipes carrying the water horizontally, but you could also use a borehole which can be anywhere from 15 – 100 metres deep if you don’t have sufficient space for the trenches to be dug.
An air-source heat pump uses heat from the air and is fitted outside the home in much the same way as an air conditioning unit. It is also about the same size. Whichever you use, you will need electricity to power the heated water around the home. It is also possible that you may need separate heating for your water.
Now it is true that underfloor heating systems that use heating pipes cost more to install than an electric system, and also take a bit longer to install, but they are quite a bit cheaper to run than electric underfloor heating, unless you are using green energy, so the benefits will continue for as long as you own the home.
Our underfloor heating systems provide radiant heat which will heat the room evenly, as opposed to the convection produced by radiators. When you have a radiator system it heats the air directly around it and this then rises up to the ceiling from where it is dispersed around the room by convection. This means that there will always be parts of the room which are not as warm as others, whereas with underfloor heating you do not have that issue. Neither do you have radiators which take up space in the room and are not, after all, the prettiest looking things.
The good news is that our underfloor heating systems can be used in conjunction with almost any type of floor finish that you wish. Possibly the best type of flooring for use with underfloor heating is tile or stone because these have high thermal conductivity. They will heat up quickly and they transfer the heat from the heating pipes into the room fast. They also store heat and keep the floor warm while using less energy.
Using tile or stone in conjunction with underfloor heating is ideal for use in high heat loss areas, such as a conservatory, because of the thermal conductivity and storage properties.
Underfloor heating is also ideal or uses with carpet, provided the underlay or backing does not act as an insulator. The total tog of all materials must not exceed 1.5 togs. You would need to check this with your carpet supplier. Using underfloor heating with carpet means that you won’t suffer from dust mites that can live in a carpet when you have a radiator system. The heat means that the carpet is too dry to provide a home for them.
If you want a wood floor, the best type to use is engineered wood because it acts well with changes in floor temperature. You can use other wood, but with less dense wood you need to pay attention to the thickness of the floorboards so that they do not act as an insulator. The denser and thinner the wood is, the better.
Other flooring types that can be used in conjunction with underfloor heating include laminate, which is growing in popularity, vinyl, and even concrete.