One of life’s little luxuries, underfloor heating 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:
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.
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.
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 less than 2.5 tog.
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.
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 a 48-hour period.
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.