Underfloor heating isn't a new concept – it's been keeping toes toasty since Roman times. With technology's continual advancement, it has now become an efficient, practical, and increasingly popular way of heating homes and commercial buildings. This blog post will explore the different types of underfloor heating systems, their benefits, drawbacks, and ideal use cases, so you can make an informed decision for your next project.
Hydronic Underfloor Heating Systems
At the top of our list is hydronic, or wet, underfloor heating systems. These systems circulate warm water through a series of pipes laid under the floor. Typically connected to the central heating system, they use a manifold to distribute water evenly across different zones, ensuring an even spread of heat.
The significant benefits of hydronic underfloor heating are its efficiency and scalability. These systems can be up to 25% more energy-efficient than traditional radiators and are excellent for larger spaces or entire properties.
However, the installation process can be more complex and expensive compared to other options. Installation requires a certain floor depth to lay the pipes, meaning it's better suited to new builds or substantial renovations. Also, as these systems heat slowly, a good level of insulation is required to ensure the heat isn't wasted.
Electric Underfloor Heating Systems
Next up is electric, or dry, underfloor heating systems. These systems function by running an electric heating element or cable under the floor. The electric current heats the element, which in turn heats the floor and, eventually, the room.
Electric underfloor heating is typically less costly to install than hydronic systems and can be installed under virtually any type of flooring, including tile, stone, and wood. They are ideal for smaller spaces like bathrooms or kitchens, where they can quickly warm up the floor.
However, while installation is cheaper, electric systems can be more expensive to run, depending on the cost of electricity in your area. Therefore, they're typically used as a secondary heat source or in rooms used less frequently.
Infrared Underfloor Heating Systems
A newer player in the underfloor heating game is infrared systems. Infrared heating is a form of radiant heating. Rather than heating the air, it directly heats the objects and people in a room, much like the sun.
Infrared underfloor heating systems use panels or films fitted under the floor. These panels emit infrared rays upwards, heating the room from the ground up. They are energy-efficient and can be paired with renewable energy sources, such as solar panels, for a greener heating solution.
Installation is generally straightforward, similar to electric systems. However, the cost can be prohibitive for some, particularly as this is a relatively new technology. Also, as with all underfloor heating systems, proper insulation is vital for optimum performance.
There is no 'one-size-fits-all' when it comes to underfloor heating. The best system for you will depend on various factors, including your project's size, the nature of the space, your budget, and your long-term energy cost considerations.
Hydronic systems are efficient and ideal for larger spaces but require more invasive installation. Electric systems offer flexibility and ease of installation but can be more costly to run. Infrared systems, though a newer technology, offer unique advantages and potential energy efficiencies.
All systems provide the undeniable comfort of warm floors, a touch of luxury, and potential space-saving benefits over traditional radiators. With these insights, we hope you are a step closer to choosing the perfect underfloor heating system for your needs. Stay warm and cozy!