It's a real luxury to feel a warm tile under your feet. One way to achieve that is a modern underfloor heating system that may be installed in every homeroom, transforming the floor into one giant radiator. You may either go the electric or wet route, for they provide the same function. For damp or electric underfloor heating, a system of pipes or wires is installed below the floor. When the system is turned on, the pipes or cables warm up and heat the floor's surface, creating radiant heat that heats the space from the ground up.
1. Electric Underfloor Heating
Electric underfloor heating employs heating mats installed directly on the subfloor. Self-adhering to the bottom of a mesh mat, these heating mats use electrically heated wires. The heating mats are put on top of a layer of screed, which is sand and cement, to make sure the surface is even. A layer of insulation then follows to prevent heat loss through the bottom. After that, the desired flooring is laid on them. After being placed, the heating wires are plugged into the electrical grid, then their temperatures and durations are managed by a thermostat and timer. Electric underfloor heating may be installed by a handyman or skilled laborer, which is a significant plus for electric underfloor heating. However, only a licensed electrician should connect the heat mats to the building's electrical system.
Several factors should be considered while shopping for electric underfloor heating, the most important being selecting a system with the appropriate wattage for your needs. These systems have a wide temperature range, from around 25 to 31 degrees Celsius, and power densities of 100 to 200 watts per square meter. The wattage required depends on factors such as room size, insulation, and the kind of flooring used, both below and above the heat mats. Therefore, low-wattage heat mats would be appropriate for a compact, well-insulated room with excellent heat-conduction flooring, such as ceramic or stone. If you want the same warmth in a big, drafty room with poor heat conduction flooring like carpet, you'll need heat mats with greater wattage.
2. Wet Underfloor Heating
Wet underfloor heating is a system that circulates warm water under a building's flooring. A polyethylene pipe network is secured underneath the floor with plastic clips.
First, insulation is laid down, so that warm air rises, and then the area is screeded (with sand and cement) to provide a flat, level surface for the pipes to rest on. The selected flooring is then laid over it. Once in place, the pipes will be linked to the boiler and heating system through a manifold. The pipes under your feet are heated in the same way water is circulated through your radiators. Then, a thermostat and a timer are used to regulate the system. The use of wet underfloor heating may be combined with any fuel heating system, such as gas, LPG, solar panels, or heat pumps. Water underfloor heating is excellent for new buildings. When renovating, it might be more challenging to install since it requires a floor height increase of roughly 10 to 15 centimeters.
A licensed heating expert should be consulted to install wet underfloor heating. This includes plumbing repairs, the installation of a manifold, and the hookup and testing of the system to the boiler or other heat source. Further, only a certified Gas Safe engineer should ever operate on a boiler.
Investing in wet underfloor heating requires careful consideration to guarantee the system will adequately warm the building. This is because, unlike radiators, these systems operate at more comfortable temperatures (about 27-31°C). The amount of heat produced is further affected by factors including the room's dimensions, insulation levels, the thickness of the screed, and the kind of flooring installed below and above the pipes. For this reason, a compact room with excellent insulation and heat-conducting flooring will be warmer than a big room with poor insulation and flooring.
The effectiveness of underfloor heating may be affected by various variables, including the area to be heated, the quality of insulation in the building, and the flooring material. Since the heat from a wet underfloor heating system is dispersed more uniformly across a space, it is a more cost-effective alternative to traditional radiators. Because of the increased surface area, it may use water at a much more moderate temperature. Wet underfloor heating is more efficient than radiators by 15-40 percent.
Considering the lower heating efficiency of electricity than gas, electric underfloor heating is less effective than wet underfloor heating. Because of this, the ongoing expenditures of electric underfloor heating are more significant. However, it is more efficient to heat a single small room because it can be used independently without heating the whole house.