The idea of underfloor heating might come across as a little extravagant to some homeowners. It has engineered a reputation for itself as being messy and expensive – not to mention difficult to install.
But when you take into account how much more effective it can be than conventional radiators and how much money you’ll save on your heating bills as a result, it’s certainly worth it – particularly in rooms with naturally cold floors.
It’s also nowhere near as expensive as you might have been led to believe and with the help of a qualified heating engineer it can be installed with minimal disruption. But before we go any further, let’s start with the basics.
What is it?
The concept of underfloor heating is a scientific one at its heart. Heat rises and so the idea of having the heat beneath your feet means that it will rise up and penetrate the home with greater efficiency.
The underfloor heating itself will either take the form of pipes filled with hot water to electric coils that warm up when activated. The former is a much more ambitious task as it will require the assistance of a plumber. It works in a similar manner a radiator but actually uses significantly less heat, so is much more efficient.
Electrical underfloor heating, meanwhile, is a little more straightforward when it comes to underfloor heating installation as the wires are thin and are generally attached to mats that can be easily fixed to a layer of insulation underneath your floorboards.
Note, however, that this option will prove more expensive in the long-run, as they require a lot of juice.
What are the benefits?
Value – Once the underfloor heating is installed, your home’s value will increase quite significantly, even if you just choose to install in the living room. It’s a very desirable feature for buyers so always keep that in mind.
Comfort – There is a definite luxury to feeling the warmth beneath your feet and being able to go barefoot in winter.
Efficiency – With heat being more evenly distributed thanks to the way the heat is generated and spread, you’ll soon find your energy bills plummeting.
Flexibility – Electrical underfloor heating can be installed beneath tile, stone, wood and carpet and is surprisingly simple to install as long as you are DIY proficient and don’t feel nervous about pulling up a few floorboards.
How do you install it?
For a water-based system, we would always recommend hiring a professional contractor to do the job as you’ll be messing around with the waterworks in your home. This rarely ends well. Pipes need to be laid and connected to the boiler and that is not a job for a layman. While
electric systems can be installed quite easily, meanwhile, we’d also always suggest having a friend to help you that knows what they’re doing.
Is it right for me?
If you’ve ever caught yourself glancing at the radiators in your home and thinking “wouldn’t everything look and feel so much better if I could get rid of those horrid bulky things” then yes, underfloor heating is right for you. It’s important to acknowledge, however, that the substantial installation cost most likely won’t be reimbursed through savings.
Essentially, it’s more worthwhile if the home is a new-build as there is no need to tear everything down before building it up again. Even if your home is hundreds of years old though, it could be seen as a smart investment. It really depends on just what kind of person you are and how much you value your comfort.