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Types of underfloor heating

Underfloor heating is an increasingly popular option for homeowners and builders alike. It is an energy-efficient alternative to traditional radiator systems and makes for a cosy addition to any style of home.  

But what are the different types of underfloor heating? And what is the best type of underfloor heating for your property or renovation project? 

Here is a handy guide that compares the two most common types of underfloor heating systems, so you can choose the right one for your project. 

Underfloor heating (UFH) options 

There are two main types of underfloor heating; electric underfloor heating and water (or wet) underfloor heating. At Simply UFH we specialise in water-based UFH systems, providing everything you need to install and maintain a wet UFH system in your home. 

But what are the main differences between electric and water UFH systems? 

Electric underfloor heating

Electric underfloor heating consists of a network of thin heating wires that are installed under the surface of the floor. When switched on, these wires heat up and emit radiant heat through the floor and into the room. Electric underfloor heating is controlled by a thermostat and can be quicker to respond to temperature changes than water underfloor heating. Although water UFH tends to stay warm for longer, making it more economical to run. 

Electric UFH is often used in renovation projects where there is less scope to change the level of the floor to accommodate water pipes. It’s a slimmer option and can be used with a range of floor coverings. One downside to electric underfloor heating is that it can be more expensive to run if it is not managed properly and may lead to high electricity bills. It can also be harder to fix when things go wrong, as it can be tricky to locate a broken wire in the network. 

Electric underfloor heating at a glance

  • Good for small spaces like bathrooms or hallways
  • Heats up and cools down quickly
  • Generally cheaper to install than water UFH
  • Quick and easy to install; one room can be installed in just a few hours by a trained professional
  • Generally more expensive to run than water UFH

Water underfloor heating 

Warm water underfloor heating systems use a series of water pipes that are laid under the surface of the floor. These pipes are connected to a boiler or other warm water source. As water is pumped through the system, the floor heats up and radiant heat is emitted into the room. 

Warm water systems are generally more economical as they have a higher heat output and stay warmer for longer. They are ideal for larger homes or homes with lower levels of insulation. They can also be used with renewable water sources such as air source heat pumps. 

Water underfloor heating at a glance

  • Suitable for all types of projects including new builds, renovations and single zone areas
  • Can take longer to install based on the size of the project
  • Good for larger rooms or multi-zone installations
  • Higher upfront installation costs but lower long terms running costs 
  • Compatible with a range of floor coverings

Further reading 

Now that you know more about the different types of underfloor heating, why not take a look at our guide on the best floor coverings for underfloor heating? Or, discover what it takes to successfully install water underfloor heating in your home: 

The Best Flooring For Underfloor Heating
Installing Water Underfloor Heating - The Complete Guide

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