More and more homes these days are being fitted with underfloor heating because of the many benefits that it has over and above a radiator system. Underfloor heating is actually nothing new, because it goes back to, at the very least, Roman times. They used to dig a trench and cover it with stones, and then heat the air under the stones from a strategically placed fire.
Fortunately, things have come on a bit since those days, and today we have underfloor heating of two different types – either electric or water-based. Electric underfloor heating uses either a heating cable or a heating mat into which fine heating cables are fixed. One of the advantages of a heating mat is that it can be installed very quickly. All you need to do is to roll it out on the insulation boards and connect it up to the electricity supply. It doesn’t take very long to lay a cable either.
A water-based system works somewhat like a radiator in that you have a pipe system laid under the floor through which is pumped water that has been heated by your boiler. It could also be heated by a ground source or air source heat pump which makes it very environmentally friendly.
While it is also easier and quicker to install an electric underfloor heating system, it also costs less than a water-based system. However, there is one big disadvantage and that is that electricity is expensive. Once installed, a water-based system will cost a lot less to run than electric, so the savings go on forever.
Many Benefits Over A Radiator System
Underfloor heating has many benefits over a radiator system, one of which is that it heats the whole room evenly – or at least, it should do. A radiator system works by convection which means that it heats the air nearest to the radiator. Hot air rises, and so the heat goes up to the ceiling and is then distributed around the room. However, this also means that some areas will be warmer than others, and there will be cold spots.
As the warm air is distributed around the room it takes dust with it which is not good news for anyone who suffers from allergies or asthma. Another advantage of an underfloor heating system is that it gives you more space in the room because there are no radiators. So, you can push a sofa or other furniture right up against the walls. Underfloor heating systems are also virtually maintenance free: with a radiator system you have to bleed them every so often.
Underfloor heating not only heats the whole room evenly, but it heats it using less energy. Radiator systems require a lot of heat in order to produce sufficient warmth in the room, whereas an underfloor heating system will only need to run at a maximum of 29°C and in some instances a bit less. By installing a water-based heating system you will also save on heating bills compared with a radiator system.
Whichever type of underfloor heating system you install, you are going to have to cover it with a screed in order to produce a flat and level surface on which to install the final flooring. There are no restrictions on the type of flooring that you can use other than the fact that in the case of carpet or rugs you have to consider the tog value of them. This must not exceed 2.5 tog because otherwise you could have a thermal blockage.
If you need to hire a floor screed contractor in Gloucestershire to lay the screed over your heating system, at UK Screeds we’ve got you covered. We install a liquid screed which has several advantages over the conventional sand and cement screed when used in conjunction with underfloor heating. If we are installing the underfloor heating as well, we always use a water-based system because of the advantages over electric.
The screed that we use is perfect for underfloor heating because it completely covers the heating pipes, so there are no gaps which can interfere with the heat transfer. It is also laid more thinly than sand and cement screeds which means faster heating times, which in turn means less on your heating bills.