If you are undertaking a project and want to install underfloor heating, there are two types of heating system that we can use at UK Screeds. One is an electric system and the other is water-based. Both systems heat the floor of the room and the people and objects within it, as opposed to a radiator system which simply heats the air and actually leads to a lot of waste energy.
Electric systems are either installed as a heating cable system or a heated mat. Both convert electrical energy into radiant heat. Heating cables are installed directly on to or within the substrate, while a heating mat uses extremely thin wires pre attached to a correctly sized mat which can be simply rolled out and adhered to the substrate.
Water-based systems are also known as hydronic underfloor heating, and use water heated by a traditional boiler or a heat pump and this is then pumped through pipes laid on the substrate. Water-based systems are usually recommended for new builds as they typically need to be laid within a thicker layer of screed than electric systems which means that the overall depth of the system is greater than electric. If you are installing in a renovation project, electric heating may be recommended because it doesn’t have a significant impact on the floor build-up. Electric heating may also be recommended if it is only to be installed in one or two rooms, such as a bathroom.
The underfloor heating we at UKscreed install uses less energy than a radiator system by running at lower temperatures than a radiator, yet producing the same amount of heat in the room. However, the running cost of electric heating will be slightly higher than that using a water based system, because of the cost of electric tariffs.
Water based systems offer a lower long-term running cost than electric , and if you use a more efficient heating source such as an air source heat pump it will save more. Even greater savings can be made long term by controlling the underfloor heating system with a thermostat.