Electric versus water based heating. So you’ve decided you want underfloor heating. But there are so many factors to think about, how do you know what the best option is for your house? Well, we’re here to help you make that decision. We’re going to talk about electric vs water-based underfloor heating and which one might be best for your situation.
Electric Underfloor Heating
Electric underfloor heating, also known as a dry system, is the process of heating the floor with a thin wire. The installation of electric underfloor heating is relatively inexpensive and causes less hassle. This option is often the best for renovations. Because it is only a thin wire instead of pipework, the installation does not cause the floor height to be increased to a point that it causes issues and is not as time-consuming to complete. This also makes this method easier to install on upper floors compared to water-based heating. If you are renovating and don’t already have a boiler, this also makes the installation of an electric system easier.
The downfalls of this system can come after the installation. This type of system generally should not be used as the main heating system. Running the underfloor heating can be very expensive since the electric cost per unit is much higher than gas or a heat pump. The placement of furniture and heavy items needs to be done carefully because of the position of the wires under the floor. Otherwise, this system is good for additional heating and so-called “comfort heating” (keeping your toes warm) in smaller areas like bathrooms.
Water-Based Underfloor Heating
Water-based underfloor heating is known as a wet system where the floor is heated by a flow of warm water in pipes and is then usually covered with screed. The installation can be more difficult and the initial cost of this system is likely to be much higher than a dry system. If renovating, the height of the floor will be raised and may cause issues for items like doors, floorboards and cabinets. Another option may be a low profile water-based system in order to avoid minimise this issue. The installation is also more work due to the need for pipework and the installation/connection to a boiler. The pipes are also difficult to reach if there is a problem so it is very important that good quality pipes are used.
For wet systems, the benefits come after the installation. This system is great for new builds and is recommended for ground floor and large areas. Adding more floor insulation is more work but saves money by reducing heat loss. This system gives a better long term payback overall despite the initial hassle, by being extremely energy efficient to run and working at low temperatures.