Electric Underfloor Heating: What to Consider

If you want to rethink your home heating, then you can opt for an underfloor heating kit. Indeed, underfloor heating has so many benefits. Electric underfloor heating is actually a cost-efficient treat for your bare feet, and it does not have radiators that should take up much of your wall space. Electric underfloor heating kits are operated through thermostats and are slim so they are popular for bathrooms.

Here are some things to consider before using electric underfloor heating.

Flooring Compatibility

Not all floor finishes are compatible with electric underfloor heating. However, it is comfortable with most types of floor finishes.

  • Stone, porcelain, slate, terracotta, and ceramic floors are actually considered perfect for electric underfloor heating because of the high thermal conductivity and thermal mass of these flooring types. They retain heat well and spread radiant heat fast.
  • Engineered timber is also compatible with electric underfloor heating because of its stable structure that does not mind fluctuations in temperatures.
  • Solid timber flooring may also be ideal, but you have to check with your supplier first an electric UFH suits it.
  • Laminate and vinyl are also two types of floor finishes that can work well with electric underfloor heating.
  • Carpet with an underlay that has a combined tog value of a maximum of 2.5 is also compatible with underfloor heating.

Heat Loss Calculations

Heat loss potentials in the home or building should be actively considered before getting an electric underfloor heating. The fact is that certain factors can make heat escape. Fabric heat loss is carried out by windows, walls, the floor, and the roof. This means that building construction methods can actually affect the amount of heat lost in the process. Moreover, different interior and exterior temperatures also result in heat loss.

On the other hand, there is infiltration heat loss, where warm air naturally escapes from the home or building if the air outside is too cold. Infiltration heat loss is a result of air changes per hour multiplied by the volume of the room, the difference in temperature and the level of heat of the air. 

Insulation Needs

When it comes to using an electric underfloor heating system, using the right insulation board is a must. Insulation will reduce downward heat loss and can, therefore, reduce your operational costs by as much as half. There are actually two types of insulation boards that can be used with your electric UHF.

  • Uncoated insulation boards are manufactured and developed in order to provide a cheaper way to thermally insulate electric underfloor heating systems on screed or concrete floors. They are usually around 10mm in thickness.
  • Coated insulation boards are basically reinforced with a cementitious coating as well as fiberglass mesh in order to provide strength and stability to substrates of timber. This is available in 6-50mm thicknesses.
  • Rigid insulation boards are specially developed to provide instant thermal insulation and convenient cushioning. The cushion is useful as a floating layer for the floating floor build up. These are sold in boards of 5mm thickness.

Cost Effectiveness

Expect to spend more with water systems compared to electric UFH when it comes to preparation, underlay as well as installation. Usually when it comes to materials, you spend more than double for warm water UFH compared to electric types. With the installation, the difference is also almost double. Thus, the electric underfloor heating system is economically better. However, with initial unit costs, the electric type is more expensive.

Here are other considerations.

  • Make sure that you use timers with electric underfloor heating in order to optimize its performance.
  • Electric UFHs are easy to retro-fit, but you will incur more costs with retro-fit compared with a new build installation.
  • Electric UFHs may have higher running costs too depending on the building structure, so always seek an underfloor heating expert when it comes to this.

Type of Thermostat

If you need to put up an underfloor heating system, then you will need to choose the right thermostat for your home. One of the biggest ways to waste energy is a poor heating schedule or a structure that allows too much escape of heat. Thus, choose either of these two thermostats, whichever suits your building.

  • Manual thermostats are basically simple and economical.
  • Programmable thermostats are customizable and can be programmed to adjust temperatures of your electric underfloor heating automatically.

Some Final Words

The electric underfloor heating is the better choice for a UFH compared to the water system. This is mainly because of installation costs. However, you have to make sure that your electric UFH should be suitable to your flooring type, should need a good thermostat, should use a good insulation board, and should take note of heat loss. The most important thing is that it is something within your budget when it comes to initial, installation and operational costs.