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Home Uncategorised Underfloor heating – comfy, cosy and energy efficient

There are lots of reasons to love underfloor heating.  It creates an even heat, with no cold spots, it frees up radiator wall space and there’s nothing quite like walking on a warm floor bare foot. But perhaps more importantly – especially in this current climate – is the fact that it’s more energy efficient.


Energy efficiency – comparing radiators & underfloor heating


It’s often quoted that underfloor heating is between 15-40% more energy efficient than radiators and that equates to a big saving!  The reason is that radiators need to warm up to a higher temperature to build sufficient heat, whereas a floor area – being much greater – requires a lower input temperature. Underfloor heating produces radiant heat which is distributed quickly and evenly throughout a space. Radiators rely on convection to spread their heat; warm air moves upwards, sinks, cools and is then reheated, creating a flow of warm and cool air.


The supply and insulation of radiators is lower than underfloor heating, but the cost savings of underfloor heating deliver over time, as less heat is needed to run the system.


Types of Underfloor Heating Systems


There are two different types of underfloor heating: warm water or ‘wet’ systems – sometimes referred to as capillary systems – and electric systems.


Warm water systems are popular in new builds and extensions, but they can also be installed as part of a room renovation.  These systems basically take warm water from the boiler and it’s carried around in plastic pipes under the floor. A screed is poured over the pipes and the finished floor is then laid. Installation is more expensive than an electric system but running costs are lower. These systems are also suited to many different types of renewable energy, like heat pumps.


Electric systems comprise of cables or a heating element mat which is installed underneath the floor. The installation process is a lot cheaper and less disruptive, though running costs tend to be more.


Good flooring partners


In terms of the best types of flooring to use over underfloor heating, natural ‘hard’ floor finishes, like stone, porcelain and engineered wood, are the best options.  They offer the best heat transfer as they are the most thermally conductive.


Good insulation is important with both warm water and electric underfloor heating systems. Electric systems can be laid by an experienced DIYer but professional installation is recommended for wet systems, in terms of calculating floor heights, achieving the correct temperature and installation into a screed.  Here’s a link to Indigenous’ flooring collection, which includes ideal floor partners in stone, porcelain and engineered wood.


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