Which underfloor heating is not a straight forward question to answer to be honest. The best underfloor heating is going to depend on your personal project and what type of heat source you are going to use to power the underfloor heating.
Wet (Water) Underfloor Heating
Water underfloor heating systems tend to be best suited to new build and partial renovations (projects like a new extension or a new floor slab). The main reason for this is because water systems require quite a large amount of depth (thickness) – a typical floor build up requires 100mm Kingspan or Celotex insulation, 16mm heating pipes and 50mm Anyhdrite screed or 65-70mm Sand and Cement screed, therefore when trying to incorporate this into an existing build can be tricky to do.
In addition to this there are low profile (lopro10) water systems that requires less depth, and one can typically achieve 30mm floor build plus the floor covering. These are more commonly know as “overlay” panels with a 10mm or 16mm pipe embedded in to the panel. Although these systems offer a perceived advantage over the 16mm pipe systems we find them very difficult to install and provide a long lasting result.
Water systems also benefit from the multitude of renewable heat sources to warm the water, such as Air Source Heat Pump (ASHP) and Ground Source Heat Pump (GSHP), Biomass or Thermal-dynamic panels, the choice is wide and varied.
Wet underfloor heating makes the best use of these products due to the low water temperature that is flowing around the heating pipe. Radiators for example require 60-80d flow temp compared with underfloor heating that can be as low as 35-40d which matches that of a heat-pump.
Electric Underfloor Heating Systems
Electric underfloor heating sometimes gets a bad rep – this is normally due to the lack of experience of the “arm chair expert” when talking about electric systems.
As a company who has been fitting electric underfloor heating systems for almost 10 years now (since 2004) we can positively say electric has its place in this market.
The beauty of this system is the low profile build up required – this means when re-modelling a room you can have the benefits of underfloor heating without the headache and expense of digging deep in to the floor to accommodate thick heating pipes.
One thing a lot of our customers say to us about electric systems is the benefit of not interfering with the existing heating system and the fact it is a stand alone heating system. Therefore it can be used as a top up to central heating or it can be used as a primary heat source.
We often get asked about running costs with associated with electric underfloor heating, and the general perception is that electric underfloor heating costs a fortune to run – this is not necessarily true and although everyone knows someone who’s had a bad experience I tend to find from customer feedback that a well designed and installed system is cheaper to run than OIL heating, LPG and Electric Storage Heaters.
This type of underfloor heating is best for existing floors, upper floors, and anyone who wants the benefits of underfloor heating who hasn’t got an opportunity to install a wet system.