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Guidelines For Underfloor Heating

One of life’s little luxuries is underfloor heating, and it can be a welcome perk in the winter for your bathroom, kitchen, or even the conservatory. Underfloor heating offers many benefits, including removing the necessity for radiators that can so often spoil the look of a room and take up space that could be put to much better use. It’s also an efficient way to warm a room and can give a much more pleasant and even heat compared to radiators or fireplaces. Since the heat emits gently, there are no cold spots and very little heat is wasted.

Underfloor heating systems are generally used in ground-floor rooms but may be fitted in any room of the home where floors can easily be taken up. The most popular rooms for installation are bathrooms, kitchens and conservatories, as these are more likely to have tiled flooring rather than carpeted.

There are a couple of different types of underfloor heating:

Hot water system
Hot-Water (or wet) Underfloor Heating System

These underfloor heating systems use water from the central heating system. The water is pumped through plastic pipes laid onto the subfloor before the final flooring surface is installed. This reduces water-heating costs as it uses water at a lower temperature than most standard radiators. Sometimes the floor height may need to be altered to fit this system, so it’s best used in new constructions, such as extensions and conservatories.

Electric mat system

Electric Mat (or wire) Underfloor Heating System

This system features cables that are attached to mesh mats or elements that are embedded into a continuous roll. These mats are spread out onto the floor and linked up to the thermostat and mains power supply. This underfloor heating system is cheaper to install but are generally more expensive to run than wet systems. This system can easily be fitted in the home without adjusting the height of the floor.

Line seperator

What To Consider When Installing Underfloor Heating

There are a few considerations when installing underfloor heating:

1. Check that your home is properly insulated to prevent heat loss.

2. Make sure that there is room for insulation to be installed beneath the system.

3. Find a space for wet system controls to be situated, such as a cupboard.

4. Choose a condensing boiler for lower running costs.

5. If you’re thinking of installing the system under a carpet, check that both the carpet and underlay have a thermal resistance of fewer than 2.5 togs.

6. Remember that thicker stone tiles will take longer to heat.

7. If you’re using timber tiles, they must be specifically recommended for use with underfloor heating.

8. Check that any vinyl or laminate boards are compatible with underfloor heating.

Underfloor Heating Safety Guidelines

Once you have compatible flooring for your chosen underfloor heating system, there are a few safety guidelines that you should follow to ensure safe use:

1. Do not place the following over the top of your underfloor heating system: rugs, mattresses, bean bags, animal beds, and flat-based furniture.

2. Do not drill or nail the flooring area above the underfloor heating system.

3. Do not turn the underfloor heating system on unless the floor is completely dry.

4. When turning the underfloor heating system on for the first time, it should be turned on gradually over 48 hours.

5. The underfloor heating system must be controlled with an approved thermostat.

Remember; your underfloor heating system should always be installed by a professional electrician.

Advantages of underfloor heating

  • Heat the entire room evenly -  underfloor heating gives even distribution of heat as opposed to radiators. 

  • Increases the value of your home - underfloor heating gives a sense of luxury to your property and can make it easier to sell your property to potential buyers. 

  • Comfort - there’s no feeling quite like the feeling of getting out of bed in winter and placing your feet onto a warm floor. 

  • Can be used with different flooring types - you will find that underfloor heating can be used beneath a variety of flooring types, including laminate flooring, vinyl and even real wood flooring. Here at Leader Floors, each of our product pages will tell you if the flooring is suitable for underfloor heating. 

  • Save on radiator space - underfloor heating systems are ideal for rooms that want to save on radiator space and can ensure that open-plan areas stay heated. 

  • Energy-efficient - as wet systems heat water at a lower temperature than radiators, you can save money on energy bills.

Disadvantages of underfloor heating

  • Installation cost - the installation cost of underfloor heating systems can be expensive, and if you are not planning on having work done on your floors, you will have the added cost of ripping up flooring that you may have recently installed. 

  • Furniture restrictions - you have to be selective about the positioning of some furniture with underfloor heating as furniture that is flat across the bottom can restrict airflow and cause thermal blocking. 

  • Longer time to heat the room - due to the lower temperature that underfloor heating operates at, it can take longer to heat a room.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here at Leader Floors, we are often asked underfloor heating system questions, which is why we have compiled some of the most asked questions about underfloor heating. 

Is underfloor heating expensive to run?

When thinking about the running costs of underfloor heating, there is a common misconception that it can be very costly to run. This isn’t the case, and some underfloor heating systems can be more energy-efficient than central heating and save you money on gas and electricity bills. 

Electric underfloor heating systems cost approximately less than 10p per square meter when running at full power for 6 hours. For water-based underfloor heating systems, the temperature that the water is heated to is lower than the heat needed to heat a radiator which reduces costs. 

The installation cost of underfloor heating systems can be costly but a worthy investment. 

Can underfloor heating replace radiators?

Underfloor heating can be used to replace radiators in some rooms, and for spaces that are open plan and wide, underfloor heating is the ideal solution. The perk of underfloor heating is in its even distribution of heat throughout the room, unlike radiators that are a single source point of heat. 

Can you run underfloor heating from a combi boiler?

If you have a combi boiler, you can still install underfloor heating in your home; however, you may need to make a few changes. You will need a heating engineer to install a two-port valve if you plan on having your underfloor heating and radiators run from the same boiler. This valve controls the flow of water, which means that you could heat the underfloor heating and radiators at the same time, meaning that the system could overheat. 

Should you leave underfloor heating on all the time? 

During the winter months, it is advised to leave your underfloor heating system on at all times. With this being said, you should set the temperature to varying levels depending on the activity usage of the room. Underfloor heating can take a few hours to warm up completely, so it is best to keep it on a constantly lower level.

Can underfloor heating go under carpet?

Yes, underfloor heating can go under carpet. If you are installing underfloor heating below a carpet, the underlay mustn’t exceed 2 togs. If you are searching for underlay that is compatible with underfloor heating, we have a wide range for you to choose from here at Leader Floors. 

Is underfloor heating bad for your health?

Underfloor heating is not bad for your health. There are many benefits to having underfloor heating, including its ability to reduce mould and dust mites that can often occur from having radiators within a property which is ideal for those with breathing difficulties. 

How long does underfloor heating last?

Underfloor heating systems can last for around 50 years if they are fitted correctly and are maintained following underfloor heating guidelines and advice.

Can you have underfloor heating with wooden floors?

Underfloor heating can be installed below wooden floors, but there are a few things that you should consider before deciding whether you want to go ahead with the installation. 

  • Wood is an insulator, which means that when underfloor heating is activated, it can slow down the transmission of heat. 

  • Wood is not as insulating as carpet. 

  • If it is installed incorrectly, the system can warp the flooring.