Underfloor heating systems Electric underfloor heating
Underfloor heating systems - which can sit beneath pretty much any type of floor, including stone, tile, wooden or even carpeted surfaces - will help to keep floors and rooms warm and offer a space-saving alternative to radiators.
There are two main types of underfloor heating: electric underfloor heating, which is also known as a dry system, and water underfloor heating, also called a wet system.
Here, we look at how an electric system works. But we also have expert information about water underfloor heating.
Besides what type of underfloor heating you should install, there are a lot of other factors to think about. Such as cost and whether it's right for your home.
To help you make the right decision for your home and budget, we've spoken to 1,265 Which? members (August 2015) to find out about their experiences of getting underfloor heating. They've told us their top tips and advice, including what they wish they'd known before getting underfloor heating installed and whether it's worth the expense.
Our guide to underfloor heating pros and cons lays out everything you need to know to make the right decision, including expert buying tips.
Electric underfloor heating explained
In an electric underfloor heating system, a series of electric wires are installed beneath or within your flooring. These are used to heat 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.
Electric underfloor heating costs
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.
We've researched the cost of installing electric underfloor heating, and asked installers across the UK to tell us what can affect the price. You can find out more by going to underfloor heating cost and installation.
Because electric systems are generally quite thin and simple to fit, they can be easier and less hassle to install in an existing room than a wet heating system, which requires some space for pipework.and could involve the floor being raised.
Electric underfloor heating is cheaper to install than a wet system - you can even do it yourself - but 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.
It's also important to think about the running costs of electric underfloor heating, which can be more expensive than water. To find out what underfloor heating owners think about the costs of running underfloor heating, whether it saved them money on their heating bills, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of getting underfloor heating, go to the pros and cons of underfloor heating.
If you do want to go ahead with electric underfloor heating, it's worth making sure you're on the right energy tariff. You can save hundreds of pounds a year - find out if you can save by using our free switching service, Which? Switch, to find the best deal for you.
How electric underfloor heating works
The electric heating sheets or cables are fitted beneath the flooring, which you can do yourself. They're usually placed 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.
Which? members can find a recommended trader in their area using Which? Trusted Traders, which lists reviews and details of trade professionals by location.