One thing is very certain. We all just love a comfy, warm home in the winter. Nothing beats curling up in a nice warm space when it is freezing outside, it makes you feel safe, snug and stress-free.
Though there is a multitude of ways to create your cosy cocoon, for instance a few pairs of socks and a thick blanket, one of the best, and surely the most comfortable, options are to install hydronic or electric underfloor heating in your home.
Heating under your floor is not just affordable and energy efficient, it is completely safe too!
Read on and we will tell you all you need to know about underfloor heating.
Underfloor heating explained
Underfloor heating is the process of having a heating system installed under your floor. This heating system heats up the floor, allowing for a radiant heat to warm your room from corner to corner. Through the concept of radiant heat, you can be assured that there will be absolutely no cold spots in your room. This is a basic overview, to read more on the topic of radiant heating, go have a look here.
The types of underfloor heating
Digging a bit deeper, you will find two major heating options available, which we will expand on for you here:
Hydronic Underfloor Heating
Hydronic heating, also known as a wet system or hot-water system, is a heating method where hot water is pumped through a series of PE-RT pipes connected to a central manifold. You have the choice of different heating sources, ranging from a heat pump to solar panels, which heats the water up to the temperature required to heat your floor. Circulating this hot water through the closed system warms up your floor and in turn your room.
Electric Underfloor Heating
Electric underfloor heating has cables under your floor that heats the floor up for you. Depending on your final floor surface your electric heating may be a cable in the floor slab, an electrical heating cable on mesh or a heating pad, which is a heating wire enclosed in foil with an earth strap.
Reasons to install underfloor heating
Obviously, the first answer here is because it creates a welcoming warmth. This is, of course, the icing on the cake, underfloor heating has many benefits, some of which include:
- Aesthetically pleasing – Your thermostat is the only visible part of your heating system, so there is no old, ugly appliance standing around
- Safe – As the system is completely hidden, there are no hot or moving parts that can cause injury to your children
- Economical – low wattage covers a large area
- Healthy – allergies won’t have a chance!
- Comfortable – Even heat distribution means no cold spots, just cosy warmth
- User-friendly – Can be used under almost any floor covering
- Maintenance free
Choosing your areas for underfloor heating
You’ll have to consider your phase of installation, if the heating is required for a new building then your heating plan gives you a bit more grace than it would if you were remodelling. For instance if you wanted hydronic heating in an existing house, you would need to cut into the subfloor to instal the pipes, with a new building you would put the pipes down before the floor. Regardless you can still add hydronic or electric heating to any existing home. Rooms with ‘cold floor coverings’ like tiles are ideal for underfloor heating – think about the time spent in bathrooms and kitchens with cold tiles.
The important bits for underfloor heating installation
It is advisable to get a flooring or heating specialist to do the installation for you, this doesn’t mean that you don’t need to know the basics though. Being knowledgeable will make sure that you oversee an accurate installation.
- Ensure that your installer has specified the required heat correctly for each room, the is according to a formula of heat required per square meter and also depends on the final floor covering
- If it is a colder room or has high ceilings you need more heat than in a room that catches the sun all day
- Adding insulation under your floor heating will stop downward heat loss and save quite a bit on energy usage
- Make sure the correct heating option is being used for your floor covering
- Know what the warranty conditions are of your heating product and follow these closely
- Be insistent on screeding your subfloor as this will protect, and in turn lengthen the lifespan of your underfloor product
- Consider your thermostat options carefully, a manual thermostat may be cheaper, whereas a digital thermostat will give you more control over your underfloor heating, resulting in a more energy-efficient system.
Covering your underfloor heating
A big question, often asked, is whether a specific floor covering will work with underfloor heating. The general rule is that most floor coverings can be used, some floor coverings have different thermal conductivity to others, some may have to be specified differently. On the whole though, you can consider any of the following:
- Wooden floors
The #Warmupsa essential guide to underfloor heating has been carefully compiled to give you a wealth of knowledge on the subject.
The only thing we didn’t cover in this article, is what colour thermostat you want …
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