Electric Underfloor Heating
This is a system of heating where a series of electric wires are installed beneath your ground floor area or within your flooring as a means of heating a specific areas such as a bathroom.
Existing underfloor insulation, if any, the type of existing flooring and the size of room determine the choice of electric system required. You can opt for a loose-fit wiring flexible enough to fit into small or difficult spaces, electric cable systems, or heating mats that can cover larger areas.
For underfloor heating to work efficiently your choice of flooring is important. Tiles or stone are ideal; whereas some dense carpets can offer resistance to the rising heat. Make sure that the contractor you engage explains these options and obstacles to you in full before you make a final decision on your preferred choice of electrical heating system.
In an electric system, a series of electric wires are installed beneath or within your flooring as a means of heating an area or room - a cold, tiled bathroom floor, for example.
The electric system you install will depend on the size of the room and how well insulated it is, what the flooring below it is like and whether it is insulated, and the type of flooring you'll have on top. Options include loose-fit wiring flexible enough to fit into small or awkward spaces, electric cable systems, or heating mats you roll out to cover larger areas.
Underfloor heating is generally associated with stone or tiled floors, but you can even fit it in a carpeted room - you'll just need to ensure that the carpet and underlay isn't so dense that it stops the heat moving upwards (a tog of no more than 1.5 is a general rule of thumb).
Prices for roll-out underfloor heating mats start from around £180 for a kit with 10 square metres.
You'll also need to factor in the cost of insulation board, screed and heating controls, as well as an electrician's call out and labour charges.
Because electric systems are generally quite thin, they're easier and less hassle to install in an existing room than a wet heating system, which requires space for pipework and could involve the floor being raised.
In addition, while electric underfloor heating is cheaper to install than a wet system - you can indeed do it yourself - it's more expensive to run. For that reason, many of the installers we spoke to don't recommend this form of underfloor heating for large areas.
If you do want to go ahead with electric underfloor heating, it's worth making sure you're on the right energy tariff .
The electric heating sheets or cables are fitted beneath the flooring, which you can do yourself, and usually on top of a layer of screed (to ensure the surface is completely flat) and a layer of floor insulation (to keep the heat travelling upwards rather than down).
A qualified electrician will need to connect your system to your electric mains supply, and fit a sensor that connects to the thermostat. This allows you to control the temperature and pre-set the system to turn on or off. We would also recommend seeking professional advice on what system to use and how to prepare the floor.
Different electric underfloor heating systems are compatible with nearly all flooring types - if you're unsure, consult a professional to advise on the best product for your room and flooring.
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