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Underfloor heating (UFH) is a smarter, more effective way to heat your room. It gently wats the objects and people in the room directly, from the ground up, making it a much more energy-efficient heating method. But, is it the right heating solution for your upcoming home improvement project? To help you make an informed decision, I’ll take you through the benefits and drawbacks of underfloor heating.
So, let’s get right into it!
Benefits of Underfloor heating
Compatible with most floor surfaces
Underfloor heating systems can be installed on almost all types of floor surfaces. For instance, you can install them under wood, carpet, vinyl, engineered wood, tile as well as the laminate flooring. However, since this system relies on the floor surface to retain heat, solid surfaces tend to be more effective than laying carpets directly over underfloor heating systems. All in all, it’s a matter of personal preference, so you can choose to install them under any type of flooring.
High energy efficiency
All types of underfloor heating systems are far more energy efficient than conventional radiators. Specifically, radiators have to be heated up to 65 – 75 deg C, while underfloor heating systems are only heated up to around 29 deg C depending on the floor type being used. Also, radiators heat the area around them first before the heat can move to other areas, leading to cold spots. However, underfloor heating eliminates the issue of cold spots since they heat the entire floor surface. This ensures uniform distribution of heat, helping the entire room reach the desired temperatures in a short time.
Lower maintenance costs
Another benefit of underfloor heating systems is that they need very little maintenance once they’re up and running. Better yet, most of these systems, especially electric systems have a lifetime warranty. However, water systems may require regular check-ups to ensure they are running properly.
On top of that, some underfloor heaters are equipped with smart thermostats. This allows you to control when the heating comes and off conveniently.
The floor may remain cold with convection heating and radiators, causing dampness to occur at the ground level. This forms the ideal breeding ground for dust mites and other harmful organisms. Thankfully, underfloor heating systems ensure that the floor surface is always warm and dry, creating tough conditions for such organisms to live and breed in. According to research, installing underfloor heaters in your home can help to reduce the number of dust mites by up to 80 percent. Therefore, people with respiratory illnesses like asthma will feel more comfortable in indoor spaces with radiant heaters.
Radiators take up a lot of space and may end up compromising the aesthetics of your home. On the contrary, underfloor heaters free up a lot of space, giving you enough room to install extra furniture or de-clutter your living space. As a result, these heating systems are suitable for open space living.
Comfort & safety
The heat from radiant heaters is uniformly distributed and more comfortable than that of traditional radiators. This causes the temperature around the room to be consistent, making the house feel more comfortable. More importantly, the air is more oxygen-rich and fresher. As for safety, with underfloor heating, you don’t have to worry about your kids hurting themselves on a hot radiator.
A greater level of control
As you know, conventional radiators are usually equipped with a single thermostat that sets the temperatures for every room in your house. However, underfloor heaters are much more specific since each room can have a dedicated thermostat. This allows you to regulate the heat in individual rooms, helping you save money by maintaining low temperatures in spaces that are rarely used.
Water underfloor heating systems and some electric systems are easy to install as part of a renovation project. You can easily install such systems as a DIY project, but that will depend on the room size. However, before you carry out any work, make sure you seek advice from a qualified electrician or plumber.
Potential drawbacks of underfloor heating
Now that we’ve looked at some benefits of underfloor heating, let’s consider its potential limitations;
High installation cost
Although the initial cost of installing underfloor heating systems may be lower than that of other systems, the costs are typically higher. This is because you have to remove the floor of the room you intend to install the underfloor system. As a result, it takes more manual labor compared to attaching a radiator onto the wall.
Raises the floor height
Any underfloor heating system increases the floor height of your home by a few inches. Similarly, the insulation board you choose to lay down will also increase the floor size. This can lead to various problems for houses with low floor-to-ceiling heights.
Takes longer to heat up
In most cases, underfloor heaters take longer to heat up compared to radiators, depending on the floor type and size of the room. To overcome this challenge, make sure you turn up the heater before you need it.
How much does it cost to install Underfloor heating?
As already mentioned, the cost of installing underfloor heating systems can be high, especially for home improvement projects. However, the actual costs will vary based on various factors including the type of underfloor heating system you’re planning to use.
Generally speaking, the installation cost of electric systems ranges from $75 to $100 per square meter. From there, you can lay the system yourself to save money. However, you’ll still need to hire a qualified electrician to connect the system to a power supply, which can increase the cost by about $150 – $250.
Water-based underfloor heating systems are usually installed during the build phase, but you can also incorporate them into a renovation project. Whichever the case, their installation costs will be 2 or 3 times more than electrical systems.
Final Word- Are underfloor heating systems worth it?
Overall, underfloor heating is a great and energy-efficient solution for heating your home. The only issue with this system is that its installation is a bit higher compared to traditional heating systems. Other than that, it ensures that your home gets a uniformly spread warmth and saves you money in the long run since it is more efficient than conventional radiators.