With the hottest bank holiday on record behind us we are all looking forward to some warm weather, finally. So we are pretty sure that the last thing on your mind right now is your home’s central heating system. But this is the best time to be thinking about it, especially if you are considering changing or upgrading your system, or you are moving into a new home and need to install a new one. There are plenty of things to think about and if you are short on space you may be considering underfloor heating as a potential option. We look at when underfloor heating may be a suitable option for a home and what the pros and cons of it are to help you decide. We explore wet systems – the ones that use a boiler and water – as opposed to dry systems which are electricity based.
The pros of underfloor heating
It may be a relatively new form of central heating in UK homes, but it is quickly gaining in popularity for the following reasons:
- It is comfortable. Nothing beats that feeling of warm toes when you walk around the house in the winter months. It is even more special in the bathroom after a shower or bath.
- Even heat distribution. It heats the home evenly and avoids hot and cold spots in the way that you get with wall radiators.
- Efficiency. Get the system size right and you could end up with lower heating bills as you could be heating the same area as a radiator, just more efficiently. The water in an underfloor heating system does not need to get to as high a temperature as it does for a radiator-based one, reducing your heating bills. There is also less heat loss, even with open doors and windows or if your home is draughty, keeping your home warmer.
- It is out of sight. There are no bulky and unsightly radiators leaving you with plenty of wall space to decorate as you like and won’t interfere with your interior design style.
- It works with any flooring material. Even carpet! Suitable for stone, wood, tile, or carpet underfloor heating need not change your plans for flooring materials. If you are considering installing a system under carpet though there is a recommended maximum thickness of 1.5 tog to maintain system efficiency.
- Adds value. An underfloor heating system is still considered a luxury by many so could add value to your home when you come to sell.
The cons of underfloor systems
There is a balance to be struck between the good and the bad with any heating decision. For underfloor systems, the downsides include:
- Cost. It is still relatively expensive to install as it requires a bit of upheaval around the home to get the piping laid down. Depending on the final installation cost you may not be able to recover it for a while even with the lower heating bills. If you are seriously considering installing an underfloor heating system then the best time to do it is when you are undertaking extensive renovations that will require lifting up floorboards and laying pipes.
- You need a timer. It takes a little longer for a room to warm up so a timer is essential to be sure that you get the optimal temperature you want.
- You need to get the sizing right. If you opt for a smaller system you may find that you need additional radiators to heat those cold spots that your smaller system cannot reach.
- It may not work with your furniture. If you have particularly heavy items, you may need to replace them as they may be unsuitable to place on top of your heating system, or you may need to reconsider how your furniture is arranged around your space.