If you are considering underfloor heating for your home, it is difficult to know what type of system is best suited to your property, and which will be the best in the long run.
There is a wealth of information out there, but it can often be difficult to navigate your way to the right answers.
Some of the more frequently asked questions about underfloor heating systems are listed below:
Can I use underfloor heating with my wooden floors?
Both wet and electric systems are suitable for use with wooden and timber flooring. They can be laid on insulation board onto the wooden subfloor and secured between joists.
Check that the flooring is able to withstand the maximum outlet temperature of your heating system and that they are compatible to be fitted together. In general, wood with a maximum moisture content of 10% is usually recommended for subfloors and floorboards.
Can I put carpet on top of underfloor heating?
Underfloor heating systems are equally suitable for use underneath carpets, although you should not use an underlay as this can act as an insulator against the heat from the floor. Most carpets are compatible with underfloor heating but they should not have a TOG rating in excess of 1.5.
What is the best type of flooring to use with underfloor heating?
Stone and concrete floors give the best performance with underfloor heating as they conduct the heat so well. Tiled floors and lino floors, provided they have no insulated backing, give the next best efficiency levels, while carpets allow less heat to transfer into the room by acting as insulation.
Is underfloor heating suitable for use in conservatories?
Underfloor heating is designed for use in conservatories as well as indoor rooms, with many manufacturers supplying systems specifically for use in conservatories.
They often require a greater heat output than indoor rooms as they can get much colder through the winter nights. The conservatory can be timed to heat individually from the rest of the house for better efficiency.
How can I control my underfloor heating to come on and off?
The heating system will be installed with a timer, much like the one you will have used for a central heating system. Most underfloor heating systems are sophisticated enough to allow you to time each room to come on and off at different times to suit.
Can I use underfloor heating with other types of heating?
Underfloor heating can be used alongside other types of heating, if neither can be used to heat the space on their own. Circumstances may dictate that in a large building with high ceilings or a property with poor insulation, that underfloor heating is used in conjunction with central heating or electric convection heaters.
It is perfectly viable to link a wet underfloor system and a central heating system to the same boiler.
Why is underfloor heating more efficient than radiators?
Radiators emit heat via convection. This type of heat rises quickly, and can lead to hotspots in the room and a band of hot air at ceiling level. Much of this heat is lost through the roof to atmosphere, and effectively wasted.
Underfloor heating transfers heat to the floor, which acts as one large heating surface. It emits radiant heat and this is absorbed by people and furniture in the room, they in turn will radiate the heat back into the room.
The nature of radiant heat absorption means that the thermostat can be set 2oC lower with an underfloor heating system than with a central heating system, and the same comfort level can be maintained.
And because the heat is coming from floor level an even temperature is maintained throughout the room, resulting in less heat loss through the roof. All of this makes underfloor heating more energy efficient that a radiator heating system.
How long will it take for my underfloor heating to warm up in the morning?
Underfloor heating is different to central heating and you will have to adjust the way you set up your heating. Radiators can heat a room on average in about 30 minutes, while underfloor heating can take between 1-2 hours to heat, depending on the size of the room and the type of heating system.
This is easily controlled by setting the heating system to come on earlier than you would with a conventional system, so the room is heated by the time you want to use it.
Underfloor heating has a much slower cool down time, and to counteract the early switch-on time, the system can be switched off earlier than a central heating system and maintain the heat level longer.
Is underfloor heating better than conventional radiators?
Underfloor heating may be better than radiators, but it does depend on the type of property you are going to put it in. Poorly insulated houses or buildings with particularly high ceilings may not be adequately heated by an underfloor system.
In well insulated homes and new building which must adhere to building regulations, underfloor heating is often a better choice than conventional radiators.
It is generally more energy efficient as it runs at lower temperatures than central heating systems, and uses less energy to heat. As the floor becomes the heat source, a more even temperature is spread throughout the house rather than heat being lost to the ceiling and through the roof.
Less heat loss results in less energy usage, and underfloor heating fitted in a well insulated property should see a reduction in heating bills compared with a conventional central heating system.
Another advantage is that it frees up the space that would otherwise be taken up by radiators against the wall. Underfloor heating leaves you with no restrictions as to where furniture and objects in the room can go, leaving you more options for room design.
It is not intended to be installed underneath fixed units, however, which is something to bear in mind if you come to completely redesign the room in the future.