There are two forms of underfloor heating and neither is particularly complicated to install or run. These are the ‘wet’ hot water systems or the ‘dry’ electric systems.
Both can be made to fit any type of property and flooring. The only thing that may change is the requirements of the system.
Even oddly shaped rooms can have underfloor heating and an expert will be able to advise you on the best course of action. They’ll come up with a room plan which can tackle any foreseeable problems.
Wet underfloor heating systems
This type of underfloor heating uses water heated to a temperature of around 65°C. This water is pumped at a low pressure through the system to hooped pipes, which are insulated beneath the flooring. This insulation reflects heat into the room above.
As you’d expect, it’s easier to install wet underfloor heating during a refurbishment or in a newly constructed property.
Water is supplied to the system by a central heating boiler (condensing boilers being the most cost effective) and the water flow is controlled by thermostats and manifolds.
Each room is likely to have its own thermostat which will be wired to the manifold controller. When you need heat, thermal valves allow water through the pipes.
A professional plumber is best placed to connect the manifold to the heating system, while the electrical wiring should be left to an electrician.
Dry/ Electric underfloor heating systems
Electric underfloor heating requires cables to be fitted between one and two inches beneath the floor covering. This is why it’s best to have it implemented in a new building or during a refurbishment.
Like the water underfloor heating, electric can be combined with any type of flooring, including laminate, wood, carpet and vinyl.
Advances in the efficiency of underfloor heating has led to the use of ribbon cables and heating mats, which provide a greater surface area of heat.
The system will operate at temperatures of around 30°C to avoid discolouration and other damage the heat may do.
Also because the cables and mats are relatively thin, the floor level won’t rise and doors won’t need to be altered.