The final cost of an underfloor heating system will be broken down into several areas, each of which may come from different suppliers or one sole contractor.
The cost of purchasing the system, the cost of installation, and the running cost of the heating once it has been installed, all need to be taken into account when assessing which type of system to use.
Initially the choice of heating system will be determined by the type of property it is going to be installed in, and by the functionality you require from your heating.
If you are working on a new build project this decision might be taken after discussion with your architect and main contractors; but if you are working on a project alone you should take quotes from several suppliers and fitters to try and get the best price from both.
How much is underfloor heating to install?
If you are refurbishing a house, or you intend to install underfloor heating into your existing home, an electric system is likely to be cheaper to fit than a wet system.
There is much less work involved in laying the cable or matting then there is laying water pipes, and some matting is supplied with adhesive backing for sticking to the subfloor.
Some electric systems can be laid directly onto the existing floor and covered with a new floor; and as they are generally no more than 3mm in depth there is rarely any alteration work to the property required.
In new builds wet systems are more popular than electric systems, because of the cheaper running costs and the suitability for being combined with renewable energy sources.
Cost of installation is likely to be £15 per square metre for the fitting of an electric system into a new building, and £180 per zone for the connection to the mains supply.
Wet systems tend to be slightly more expensive and cost in the region of £18 per square metre for the system to be laid and £240 for the plumbing connections and the electrical work.
How much is the heating system and equipment?
System costs will be tailored to an extent by your budget, by the number of rooms or zones that you have, and by the amount of functionality you desire from the system.
UK Underfloor Heating offer a sliding scale of prices for their wet underfloor systems, as an example they supply a system to cover an area of 20m2 in a single zone, or a 14m2 conservatory for £395 +VAT. A single zone of 40m2 or a conservatory of 28m2 would cost £580 +VAT.
These prices are just for the supply and delivery of the system and do not include installation.
Electric system prices can vary depending on the output in terms of wattage. Conservatories tend to require systems with higher power to keep them heated in the colder months, while rooms inside the house can be heated by lower rated systems.
Handy Heat is one supplier of electric cabling and matting for underfloor heating, and they offer a 1m2 cable mat for £125 +VAT; and a similar mat to cover an area of 20m2 is priced at £642 +VAT.
Recommended for timber or concrete subfloors, these mats produce 150 watts per square metre. Conservatories tend to need matting or cabling, which can supply 200 watts per square metre and a system will cost £393 +VAT to cover an area of 10m2. Again, these prices do not include the installation of the system.
What factors can affect the price?
The size of the job will clearly have a bearing on the total price, and the amount of equipment that will need to be used
Products on the market are becoming more and more advanced with thermostats for each room with some systems, intelligent timer control units, and ‘setback’ features, which allow the heating to drop to a lower temperature overnight to save energy, but also speeds up recovery time in the morning.
The more functionality you ask for from the heating system, the more it is likely to cost.
Time on site is another important factor, which is often out of your control.
If you have contracted a firm or a local fitter to carry out the installation, you are reliant on him completing the job on time, so that he is not paid more for being on site longer, and other trades are not held up by his presence.
Try to negotiate a set fee for the install to avoid any further or hidden charges.
How about running costs?
Running costs can only be truly assessed when a system has been installed and is in use. Direct comparisons can be made with previous heating bills when other systems were used, and new builds can be compared to similar properties with central heating.
Wet systems are generally considered the cheapest system to run because they take their heat from a gas boiler, while electric systems use electricity directly from the mains supply.
As long as gas is cheaper per KWh of heat output than electricity, wet systems will prove cheaper to run in the long term.
Both systems are cheaper to run than radiators; they operate at lower temperatures than central heating, and less heat is lost through the roof. Underfloor heating produces radiated heat that is absorbed by people and objects in the room, which means that on average, an underfloor system can provide the same feeling of warmth at a 2oC lower temperature.
The cost of an underfloor heating system can range from a few hundred to several thousand pounds, depending on the type of property being built.
Whether you are installing a wet or electric system, gather quotes from several suppliers and fitters before you make a final decision on the installation.