Summary: How much does underfloor heating cost, average underfloor heating installation costs, average cost of an electric underfloor heating system and average cost of a water underfloor heating system.
Underfloor heating is being used more and more in modern homes in northern Europe and has become popular in the UK in recent years. This type of heating can be used to update an existing property and is increasingly used in new builds.
|Installation & materials (m²)||£15 – £30 (m²)||2019||n/a|
Factors to consider
The heat emitter is the floor itself, hence the room is heated from the floor up unlike normal central heating where radiators are used on walls. There are two types of underfloor heating: electric and water filled. The advantage of electric underfloor heating is that it is cost effective and easy to install. However it is possible that additional heat may be needed on the very coldest days of winter.
A water based system uses warm water in the pipes, typically at fifty degrees centigrade. This temperature is lower than normal central heating, which is around sixty degrees, so is suitable for use with solar water heaters or heat pumps. The water in the pipes is mixed with hot water from a boiler to achieve the desired temperature. This then gets passed to a manifold and is distributed to the various zones throughout the home. A conventional boiler is normally suitable for underfloor heating. However, as the back pressure may be greater with this system, a higher rated pump may need to be fitted.
The areas to be heated are separated into different zones, normally one per room. Each zone is controlled and heated independently from the other. The type of flooring will determine which type of products are used. It is vital to refer to manufacturers’ information with regard to which products are designed for which type of installation. For example, pipes laid underneath a wooden floor may be totally different from pipes which are to be embedded in screed.
It is claimed that underfloor heating can prove to be cheaper than conventional central heating. This is because the same comfort level can be achieved at around 2 degrees centigrade lower as the whole floor area is warmed. One definite advantage is that there is no restriction on where to place furniture in the room and no dust is trapped in radiators. A further benefit is that in bathrooms and kitchens floor areas are quicker to dry out.
Underfloor heating is fairly slow to respond especially when there is a solid floor. The heating takes effect after about half an hour with a wooden floor but can take several hours if the floor is concrete. However, remember that cooling off similarly takes longer. A disadvantage of using underfloor heating, particular in kitchens, is that the underside of fixed items cupboards fitted to the floor can “sweat” which may be detrimental to the furniture.
Costs to consider
The installation of underfloor heating is a job which is best left to the experts and therefore one which needs to be budgeted for carefully. Choose a reputable company which comes with good recommendations. There are many to choose from and new companies are springing up all the time. Try to choose one that has extensive experience both in the home and in industrial installations.
When the pipes are being laid in a new build, this is normally done in screed and is a fairly straightforward procedure. However in an existing building with a solid floor, the pipes need to be laid underneath a special mat which will be covered by timber or tiles. This raises the floor level and skirting boards and doors need to be altered accordingly. This needs to be taken into account when working out the budget.
Heat affects timber so, when laying new timbers, the wood to be used needs to have a less than 10% moisture content to reduce the threat of shrinkage or warping. It is advisable to consult a supplier or manufacturer of other types of flooring to (e.g. vinyls and laminates) to discuss the effect of heating on these materials. Remember too that using a heavy carpet or underlay will mean that heat is reduced as the fabrics act as heat insulators.
Professional installation services are readily available when it comes to underfloor heating. It is always advisable to discuss your requirements thoroughly. Talk to other people with experience of this type of heating system before deciding on what is to be a major investment in your home as underfloor heating will be a permanent fixture and you will not easily be able to change your mind once it is installed. There are advantages and disadvantages to any system but a room with underfloor heating does not have cold spots and therefore creates a very pleasant atmosphere in which to sit and relax.