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Underfloor heating systems are steadily becoming a mainstream choice in UK homes. This rise in popularity can be attributed to several factors. 

Firstly, technological advancements have made underfloor heating more affordable to install and operate. Secondly, its inherent energy efficiency is a major draw, particularly as the UK strives for a greener future. 

Underfloor heating’s ability to provide consistent warmth throughout a room, without bulky radiators taking up space, also contributes to its growing appeal. It’s a win-win for comfort, style, and sustainability.

Are you considering underfloor heating for your home? It’s a fantastic way to achieve a luxurious and comfortable living environment. But before you dive in, you likely have a few questions. So we’ve asked Brian Burwood, Regional Sales Manager for Ambiente Systems Ltd (our underfloor heating system manufacturer), for his thoughts and advice.

Ambiente Systems Ltd is a specialist manufacturer of wet underfloor heating systems throughout the UK. They are at the forefront of the market and continue to introduce innovative underfloor heating products. 

Brian, drawing from extensive experience in the flooring industry, brings a balanced mix of technical know-how, customer interaction skills, and project management proficiency. Over the years, he’s gained a deep understanding of industry principles, technologies, and installation methods. Brian stays busy consulting with clients and assessing sites to ensure projects run smoothly.

We’ll answer the most frequently asked questions, from installation and running costs to the different types of systems available. Let’s get to it…

technical guru, Brian Burwood

What is underfloor heating?

Underfloor heating is a way of warming your home by installing a heating system beneath the floor surface. Unlike traditional radiators, which heat the air directly, underfloor heating radiates warmth upwards from the floor itself. This creates a comfortable and even distribution of heat throughout the room. One of the most efficient ways to heat your property.

 

What are the different types of underfloor heating?

There are two different types of underfloor heating; electric underfloor heating and water (wet) underfloor heating. 

Pipefitter mounted underfloor heating. Heating system and underf

What is electric underfloor heating?

This system uses electric heating cables or mats installed directly under the floor. When electricity passes through these cables or mats, they heat up, radiating warmth into the room. Electric heating is often used in smaller areas or as a supplementary heating source in specific rooms like bathrooms or kitchens.

 

What is water (wet) underfloor heating?

This system utilises a network of pipes installed beneath the floor. Warm water, heated by a central boiler or heat pump, circulates through these pipes, warming the floor and the room above. Wet underfloor heating is more common for whole-house heating due to its energy efficiency and ability to provide consistent warmth. 

 

Which is better, water or electric underfloor heating?

This depends on your priorities. Water underfloor heating systems take a little longer to install, but have a cheaper running cost; whereas, electric underground heating is quicker to install, but more expensive to run in the long term. Wet underfloor heating typically costs a third of what running an electrical underfloor heating system would cost. The choice of WET vs ELECTRIC UFH is typically based on the size of the area. Smaller isolated areas are more suited to EUFH. Larger areas are normally more suited to WET UFH

 

Is underfloor heating expensive to run?

Water-based underfloor heating systems, especially when paired with a condensing boiler or heat pump, can be more energy-efficient in the long run. This is because they operate at lower temperatures than radiators and heat from the floor space, much greater open area of heat spread, reducing energy waste. Additionally, the radiant heat distribution of underfloor heating can create a more comfortable feeling at lower air temperatures, potentially leading you to use it less overall.


How much does underfloor heating cost?

The cost of underfloor heating depends on the size and the number of rooms. Please contact us here for an underfloor heating quote.


Is it cheaper to leave underfloor heating on all the time?

In the winter months the most efficient way to run underfloor heating is to leave it on 24 hours a day, and increase and decrease the heating settings when needed.

Its most efficient if you were to programme your UFH to time and temperature, this means that when you are AWAY from the home the temperature doesn’t exceed less that 4 degrees difference to the AT HOME temperature.

 

Should you turn your underfloor heating off in the summer?

It is best to turn off the heating during the summer months to ensure you are comfortable and to avoid paying unnecessary energy bills. 

 

Why is my underfloor heating so expensive to run?

If you have chosen electric underfloor heating then this may be the reason you are finding it expensive to run. Electric costs more per kWh compared to gas, it typically costs 3 times to run an electrical underfloor heating system than a wet system.

 

Can underfloor heating replace radiators?

Underfloor heating is a great alternative to traditional heating in the home and can completely replace the need for radiators. However, there are some cases where underfloor heating may not be the best option for your home. 

Underfloor heating is more effective in well insulated properties, such as new builds. Older properties might require additional insulation to make underfloor heating a viable alternative to radiators.

Water-based underfloor heating with a condensing boiler or heat pump can be more energy-efficient than radiators in the long run. Electric underfloor heating can be expensive to run, especially with current energy prices.

 

Will underfloor heating increase the value of my property?

Underfloor heating in a home can certainly increase the value of your property for several reasons. Here are some reasons why it may be attractive to buyers:

  • Energy efficiency: Underfloor heating lowers the EPC rating of your home. Couple this with good insulation and you increase the value and desirability of your home for resale.
  • Space saver: The absence of radiators frees up floor space and creates a streamlined look.
  • Even heat distribution: Radiant heat from the floor provides a more comfortable and consistent warmth throughout a room.
  • Luxury appeal: Underfloor heating is often seen as a high-end feature, adding a touch of luxury and comfort to a home.

Overall, underfloor heating can be a valuable addition to your home, potentially increasing its market value. But it’s best to consider it as part of a broader package of improvements that enhance comfort, energy efficiency, and overall appeal.

Woman relaxing at home lying on carpet

Can you put underfloor heating under a carpet?

Yes, both types of underfloor heating are compatible with carpet. Underfloor heating is compatible with most floor coverings. Carpet and wood have the highest thermal resistance so increases response time from the UFH. Tiles and vinyl have a lower thermal resistance, so the response is quicker. 

 

Is electric underfloor heating cheaper than gas central heating?

In most cases, electric underfloor heating is not cheaper to run than gas central heating, especially with current energy prices. Here’s why:

  • Energy Cost Difference: Electricity generally costs more per unit of energy than gas. This means electric underfloor heating needs to work harder and use more energy to achieve the same heat output as a gas boiler system.
  • System Efficiency: While electric heating systems can be very efficient at converting electricity to heat, gas boilers are inherently more efficient at generating heat from burning gas.

However, there are some nuances to consider:

  • Water vs. Electric Underfloor Heating: Water-based underfloor heating, even when heated with electricity through a heat pump, can be more efficient than radiators because it operates at lower temperatures.
  • Off-Peak Tariffs:  If you have access to off-peak electricity tariffs, which offer lower rates during off-peak hours, you might be able to run electric underfloor heating more cost-effectively.

Overall, for most situations, gas central heating is the cheaper option to run compared to electric underfloor heating. If you’re set on underfloor heating, consider a water-based system with a heat pump, especially if you have good home insulation, to potentially achieve lower running costs than gas central heating.


What is the lifespan of underfloor heating/how long does underfloor heating last?

For water underfloor heating the pipes must comply with UK industry standard DIN 4726, which means they must last at least 50 years. Electric underfloor heating usually lasts at least 25 years under a warranty.

cropped shot of woman walking barefoot in room

Does underfloor heating work with wooden floors?

Yes, it can work well under laminate flooring and other engineered woods. However, we recommend against using authentic wood flooring, as it can twist and warp due to its natural moisture content. Always consult the manufacturer of the timber floor before installing it over underfloor heating.

Can you put underfloor heating on a concrete floor?

Yes, you can absolutely install underfloor heating on a concrete floor! In fact, concrete is considered an ideal material for underfloor heating due to several advantages; it’s an excellent heat conductor, retains heat well and it is compatible with both wet and electric underfloor heating systems.

Heated floor isolated on white

Do I need to install insulation boards underneath the underfloor heating?

Yes, we highly recommend that you install insulation underneath your underfloor heating. This will enable more heat to generate and work its way upwards through the flooring and into your home.

 

Do you install underfloor heating under kitchen units?

No, as this is a waste of energy. A lot of kitchen appliances generate their own heat; adding more heat in the way of underfloor heating will only increase the appliance heat and also compromise food items stored inside.


Should the floor feel really warm with underfloor heating?

Yes, when installed correctly, the floor should feel nice and warm and comfortable enough to walk on.

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