As the cold winter evenings draw in, chilly floors can really spoil your cosy Christmas vibe. Underfloor heating is one way to keep your home toasty over the winter months, but many of us don't really understand how it works and what to consider before installing - so we asked David Playfoot, segment manager at underfloor heating supplier Uponor, to share his answers to common questions:
How does underfloor heating work?
Underfloor heating distributes water through a network of pipes integrated into the flooring. It provides heating during the cooler months by circulating warm water through the pipes which then radiates through the floor to create an even distribution of heat around a room.
What’s more, underfloor heating gives you complete design freedom as there’s no need worry about avoiding radiators when arranging your furniture, meaning you can make your home look exactly the way you want it to.
What many people don't know is that underfloor heating can also provide cooling during the summer via the distribution of cold water, helping to ensure an optimal temperature throughout your home and maximising comfort all year around.
Thanks to advances in technology, the system can now also be managed through smart controls, which not only makes your life a little easier but will also add value to your home.
How much does it cost to install?
The cost of installing underfloor heating will vary depending on the type of system you choose. For new builds and extensions, for example, the most popular method is known as solid screed. This option involves installing pipework into the floor during the construction stage, so needs to be planned for in the initial designs. Once the pipes are in place, a fast-drying cement is added on top, creating a solid floor which can then be topped with the floor covering of your choosing.
The cost of solid screed underfloor heating is difficult to estimate as it varies depending on the area of the UK and the size of system being installed but for a typical self-build project with a 100m² floor area, you could expect bespoke screed underfloor heating to cost approximately £2,000, excluding the cost of installation. For a more accurate quote, it’s best to speak with a reputable tradesperson.
Will it mean digging up the floor?
Our recent research found that 32% of people think they would have to dig up their floors to have underfloor heating installed; however, this not the case. If you’re working on renovating your home and you don’t want to excavate the floor you can install a low-profile underfloor heating solution, which can be fitted on top of existing flooring both downstairs and upstairs. There are options available that are only 15mm thick, meaning there is no need to take up the current floor, providing the surface is level and smooth.
How will it affect my heating bills?
Our research also found that 34% of people wrongly think underfloor heating is more expensive to run than radiators. In reality, underfloor heating actually requires 15-40% less energy and can therefore reduce your overall bills and provide long-term cost savings. This is because underfloor heating gives the same heat output as radiators but operates at a lower temperature, meaning running costs are lower.
What do I need to consider when choosing an underfloor heating system?
Whether you’re working on a new build or extension and require a solid screed system or you’re renovating your house and think you’d prefer a low-profile option, it’s important to select the right underfloor heating solution for your project.
Consider if you’d like zonal controls installed, so you can control the temperature of single rooms or areas independently, as well as what floor covering you’re planning. Whilst all floor coverings work with underfloor heating, as some are more effective than others. Hard surfaces like ceramic tiles transfer heat from the underfloor heating through to the surface of the floor very effectively, but if you’re opting for carpet, you will need to ensure that the combined tog rating of the carpet and underlay does not exceed 2.5 togs in order for the heat to disperse into the room effectively.
For everything you need to know about underfloor heating, we’ve created a handy guide to help you select the right solution for your home.