Guide to buying underfloor heating


by Adam Brundell January 28, 2016

 

 

Whether you're looking to get a whole-house heating system or heat a room, our guide tells you how underfloor heating works and how the system can help you to stay warm when it gets chilly.

 

HOW DOES UNDERFLOOR HEATING WORK?

Unlike radiators, which work by heat convection where air is circulated and heated by high local temperature, underfloor heating works by producing even radiant heat which emits from the floor and warms the room from the ground up. With radiant heat, comfort tends to be felt sooner and at a lower temperature. There is minimal air flow keeping the temperature comfortable and even, everywhere in the room.

 

WILL UNDERFLOOR HEATING HEAT MY ROOM?

Electric underfloor heating comes in different heat outputs with a higher wattage available for high heat loss areas, such as conservatories in order to provide enough heat for the room.

 

Wet underfloor heating systems usually generate 40°C to 65°C degree temperatures where the actual floor temperature will be on average 23°C to 32°C degrees, meaning that for a high heat loss area, the temperature can be adjusted to provide sufficient level of comfort.

 

The heat output of an underfloor heating system needs to be greater than the heat loss of a room or area for the system to provide enough heat so it's important to conduct a heat loss calculation to ensure the system can provide enough heat. This can be conducted by an architect or a heating engineer and it will help you to choose the correct heat output for the underfloor heating system.

 

It is also advisable to install the system with sufficient insulation, such as insulation boards, which shorten the heat-up time by pushing the heat to the floor level and by preventing heat loss to the sub-floor.

 

ELECTRIC AND WATER BASED SYSTEM

There are 2 types of systems available: electric and warm water based underfloor heating. The former utilises electricity to heat a very thin wire and the latter warm water which circulates in the heating pipe.

 

The suitability of each system depends on your project and preference. The electric system may be better for small areas such as bathrooms and renovations as it doesn’t raise floor levels. Wet systems are ideal for larger areas or with new builds as they are fitted into the structural sub-floor.

 

COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH THE SYSTEM

There are a variety of systems available and the underfloor heating costs depend on the running time, heat output, the size of the heated area and the system type. You will also need a thermostat to control the system which is sold separately to the heating system.

 

The running costs are linked to energy prices, room size and height and running time. Using a smart thermostat, such as the Warmup 4iE Smart WiFi Thermostat, can save you money. The 4iE can save up to £200 on energy usage by finding smarter ways to heat your home.

 

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

Material

Whether you’re looking to get a dry or wet system, pay careful attention to the materials the underfloor heating wire or pipe has been made of. For electric systems, fluoropolymer is a very durable material making the wire tough yet very thin. So the best electric underfloor heating systems are made out of fluoropolymer. As for the pipe, 3 types are usually available: PEX-a, PE-RT and PE-RT/AL/PE-RT. We recommend the PEX-a pipe as it’s flexible, yet strong and kink resistant.

 

The high quality of the heater and pipe is important as it will give peace of mind knowing that the system is robust and provides worry free heating.

 

Warranties

Even though underfloor heating is known for its reliability once the system has been installed, it is important to make sure your system is covered with appropriate guarantees and warranties.

 

Should something go wrong during the installation and the heater or pipe get damaged, it is invaluable to be able to get a new system to replace the damaged one. We offer a Safety Net™ Installation Guarantee on all Warmup electric systems and wet underfloor heating pipe. If you or your installer accidentally damage the heating system during installation, return it to Warmup and we will replace it with another heater of the same make and model free.

 

Additionally, we give a Lifetime Warranty for Warmup Loose Wire, Matting, StickyMat underfloor heating systems and PEX –a underfloor heating pipe.

 

Support

Even though it is unlikely that you will experience problems with your system after it has been fitted to the floor, you should check that support is available if needed.

 

Whether it is support for installers when on site, or support for setting up a thermostat or using the system, a 24/7 all year-round support will provide peace of mind. This is something we offer to all our customers and we are able to assist at any time of the day and any time of the year should there be any problems on 08453452288.

 

SUITABLE FLOOR FINISHES

The system is suitable for use with almost any floor cover including carpet, vinyl, laminate, wood, stone and tile.

 

INSTALLATION

The system can be fitted by a competent DIYer, but you can also get a professional installer to fit the system for you. All electrical work, including wiring and connecting the thermostat to the heating system needs to be completed by a part P certified/NICEIC electrician.




Adam Brundell
Adam Brundell

Author




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