Is gas or electric right for your underfloor radiant heating?
Photo via STEP Warmfloor
Underfloor heating is a great way to heat a well-insulated home. Many people building their dream home or renovating a property choose underfloor heating as a source of heat. With new manufacturing techniques creating ultra-thin electric mats and slim line water systems too, retro-fitting them into your property is a very real possibility.
Underfloor Heating Supply understands the need for different systems in different properties which is why many consumers compare and contrast electric underfloor heating and those systems powered by gas.
Which one would you choose? And how do you choose between them?
Gas underfloor heating
A gas powered boiler, similar to a central heating system can be used for underfloor heating. Also similar is the fact that the heat is provided by warm water mixture circulating through a system of pipes. These pipes are in the sub-floor under a layer of thin concrete known as screed. This type of system is also known as a wet or water underfloor heating system.
Electric underfloor heating
Electric heating usesa series of thin mats that sit just below the top layer of flooring. Easy to fit and operate, many people opt for these system as it is incredibly easy to install. It is possible to lay this system in a room or across the whole house without the need for a specialist team.
A common factor on which we base a lot of decisions before we purchase something is how much something costs. With underfloor heating, not only do you need to look at installation costs but running costs too (more later).
A gas underfloor heating system will require more installation work. The piping is thicker than that of an electric mat therefore, the floor will need to be excavated to accommodate this system. This is why this is a system that is popular with people building a new home or renovating a property. It is possible to fit this kind of system in a ready-built property but it may be more disruptive and take a little longer.
An electric underfloor heating system, as has already been hinted at, is far easier and simple to fit. As well as lifting the top layer of flooring, there will be a need to possibly insulated under the where the mat will sit and then once the mats are unfurled and in situ, the top of layer of flooring is simply laid back on top.
Running costs – i.e. energy prices
There has been much written regarding energy prices in the UK in recent years. With the cost of energy from non-renewable resources increasing year on year, more consumers are realising the need to not only insulate their homes better but to seek alternative forms of renewable energy.
Electricity prices can be high and thus, many people will say that the running costs of electric underfloor heating is far costlier than gas. But gas prices have also risen too in recent years.
Many people who install electric underfloor heating do so not only when the insulation of their property is top notch but also when they invested in an energy source such as solar panels etc.
The key to keeping the running costs of either system low and cost-effective is to ensure that the system does not need to work too hard by not only insulating your home but also by having the floor covering that heat up fast and retains heat for as long as possible.
Some people will also pay close attention to the energy efficiency of both systems. Some say that electric underfloor hating is more energy efficient – that is, it uses less energy to heat the mat and the top layer of flooring than that of gas underfloor heating.
Lifespan and maintenance
The underfloor heating kit themselves come with a warranty that provides peace of mind that if installed and operated correctly, the system itself will last years and years.
However, with a wet system, you will need to bear in mind that the gas boiler itself will need regular servicing, as well as repair should it go wrong. Like a central heating system, ensuring that there is adequate pressure and that the fluid mixture is carrying heat throughout the system is important too.
Electric mats rarely fail as there are no moving parts etc. There is a possibility that some of the electrical components and chips may fail but this is rare.
So which is better?
It depends on:
- Your budget for installation and running costs
- Current energy supply and which works best in your property
- Whether you are prepared for the disruption that comes with laying gas underfloor heating or whether you want a quick installation with an electric system
Underfloor Heating Supplyis a leading UK supplier of both electric and gas underfloor heating kits. Different systems will offer different pros and cons to customers, which is why they believe it is important to have all the information before making a purchase.
Read more about radiant heating.
Companies: STEP Warmfloor