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Wet underfloor heating or radiators?

(18 Posts)
narmada Fri 08-Jul-11 20:00:31

We are currently in the process of buying a completely unmodernised house. It has electric storage heaters and a dicky emersion heater-type water tank. So, we need to upgrade the heating and hot water system.

We're wondering whether to go for wet underfloor heating or traditional boiler/ radiators. Don't really have an idea of comparative costs and the budget's not massively elastic, although we would prefer to get things as we like them at the outset as it's going to be our 'forever' house. Hopefully....

Does anyone have any experience/ advice for helping us choose? Also, stupid, stupid question, but presumably you need to get a new boiler anyway with wet underfloor heating? Does the boiler warm the water in the underfloor pipework or is it electric blush?

Some facts that might help to know:

All flooring needs replacing (we will probably go for engineered wood downstairs and carpet upstairs) so having to rip up the existing flooring isn't too much of an issue.

We'll also get the cavity walls insulated and put new insulation in the loft before moving in - I think that matters if you're going down the UFH route.

We're planning to do a largeish 2 storey extension - we will put in the planning application shortly after moving in and would hope to do it asap providing planning's granted.

narmada Fri 08-Jul-11 20:06:42

Or electric underfloor heating?? Can you tell we know little about this???!

RedGruffalo Fri 08-Jul-11 21:22:15

We found wet underfloor heating was not terribly efficient in older houses - I believe it works best in new build so may be an option for your extension.

I find electric underfloor heating slow to respond and quite expensive to run (although I only have it under tiled floors so it may be better under wood).

We went for skirting board heating which works well for us, although was expensive to buy, and is not really appropriate for rooms where you have the walls most covered by furniture. It gives off a lovely even heat at floor level.

narmada Fri 08-Jul-11 21:41:38

That's interesting, thanks redgruffalo. Is the skirting heating your only heating source?

queenmaeve Sat 09-Jul-11 00:00:01

We have wet underfloor throughout downstairs. It has been very efficent for us because as the previous poster says our house is a new build and new regulations meant the insulation is much thicker. My sisters house is 8 years old and she finds the underfloor really expensive. But we've had no complaints. The system is a Roth one. Its heaven though to feel it in the winter, especially with tiles and its a much more pleasant heat than the dry heat of radiators

RedGruffalo Sat 09-Jul-11 09:30:34

It is the only source of heating in the rooms we have refurbished so far - we are working our way round the house!

We also upgraded insulation etc at the same time so the rooms, although quite large are fairly well insulated. It is very responsive and very easy to control the temperature and looks fine. On the downsides it was expensive (as compared to a fancy radiator) and we were lucky to find someone to fit it (although it was actually quite easy to do). The only other downside is that it does creak when it heats up, but then our radiators used to gurgle and click!

On the whole I love it and it is the right solution for our house.

bacon Mon 11-Jul-11 12:50:53

Hot undersfloor is more efficent as you get no cold spots, most architects would specifiy this now as its the best system available. costs more initially but it runs on a lower heat and will be cheaper to run. Its not expensive at all to run unless you have a problem somewhere or an error in working out the capacity or m3 of the room . You have thermostates in each room so that is efficient and more comfortable. Most can be programmed too. Dont compare with electric as that is completely different - thats not an option for a house only one small room like an ensuite. In a larger room it works better.

We have an old farmhouse and works a treat, yes, you must make sure you have as much insulation throughout. I had loads stuffed in the ceilings. My walls are 1m thick so thats no worry but would recommend cavity insulation.

narmada Mon 11-Jul-11 13:21:03

Redgruffalo, thanks again for the response. We still can't decide what to do, our budget seems to fluctuate on a daily basis (thank you, awkward mortgage providers!) so it's making it hard to make final decisions.

bacon do you mean a wet system? Think so. Do you have any idea whether these can be laid on concrete floors covered with bitumen-type material, as that's what we've got downstairs?

Sorry for all the questions.

makemineaginandtonic Mon 11-Jul-11 19:16:43

We had a massive extension done and after much quibbling went for radiators. You have to fit so much insulation in any new building work that I think a hairdryer would be sufficient for heating! We have 3 tall radiators and one under the window and I've never had them all on full. We were warned against under floor heating because of its slow responsiveness. In a european country where you can turn it off from May to October, fine. But here in blighty we need the flexibility of heat for 1 day here and there and under floor heating can take ages to heat up.

bacon Wed 13-Jul-11 18:55:52

Yes a wet system is a hot water system. You dont need that much insulation, all spec can be found on the net. Yes the slab, insulation then the pipes followed by a layer of screed. I think the bitumen - you mean the dpm which is a thick plastic waterproof membrance. A good system will be turned down to the lowest heat but still runs unless its summer when no heat is needed at all. When running effieciently on - not turned off - should heat up considerably quick. I have a diesel boiler with a hunge hot water store. In any case you have thermostatic control in most rooms so its on all the time so no worries there. It is the only efficient heating system there is.

kidsscareme Wed 13-Jul-11 19:35:32

We have the same system as bacon and it works great for us. we only have it on in the rooms we use and it holds heat so well we havent had it on for weeks.

I also love the fact you dont need radiators.

returnvisit Thu 07-Sep-17 15:45:38

I am having a large kitchen diner added on to the back of a detached 1930s house. I cant decide between UFH or radiators. The extension is quite large, 13m by 6m.

We are struggling to find space for where our radiators will be as we have calculated we need at least 5 large radiators to heat the space as we are having a large amount of glazing. We are also having a log burner in the family seating area.

We are worried that it will be cold as it is a north facing room and wont get a a lot of sun.

I am worried about the cost of running the UFH, is it more expensive than the running cost of radiators? Also the fact that it takes a while to heat up. How long would it take to heat up a room the size of my extension? Any advice please? TIA

twirlbite Thu 07-Sep-17 16:07:44

We have a large Victorian house, and installed wet underfloor heating on the ground floor last summer ( it runs off our gas boiler, which is two years old). We have conventional radiators upstairs. It really doesn't take that long to warm a room - we have separate thermostats in each room ( Heatmiser), set at a max of 20C. We've set it to come on for 2 hours in the morning and 4 hours in the evening - it goes off at 9 pm, but unlike conventional radiators, the rooms stay warm until we go to bed at around 11pm. I haven't noticed any increase in our gas bills. As pp has mentioned, underfloor heating gives a pleasant background heat - no regrets at all!

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Thu 07-Sep-17 16:17:15

We are getting both. Underfloor in kitchen, downstairs bathroom and utility, radiators in living rooms and hallway (beautiful cast iron) and bedrooms (less beautiful, but cheap and efficient), plus heated towel rails in bathroom and shower room. Wet underfloor runs off the hot water system and is cheaper to run than dry (which is basically heated mats that run off electric) and if you're redoing the whole system it can be a good value option according to our heating engineer.

You can keep the running costs down for your new heating and hot water system if you use solar power to heat all or part of your water. That might be pricy to buy as an initial cost though.

twirlbite Thu 07-Sep-17 16:28:45

Should also say that with wet UFH, the concrete takes quite a while to dry ( before you can lay your new flooring) - I think ours took 7 -8 weeks. I was fed up about it initially, but we went on to have an extension, so still have bare concrete downstairs over a year later!

returnvisit Thu 07-Sep-17 18:12:16

how much does wet UFH cost for installation roughly?

PigletJohn Thu 07-Sep-17 23:47:01

you say that all flooring needs replacing. Are the existing floors concrete or wood? Unless you are quite rich, it is impractical to dig up an existing concrete floor, but you can take up a wooden floor and lay insulation, spreaders and heating pipes and a new wooden or ply floor on the existing joists. I do not favour replacing an existing wooden floor with concrete.

In a new build, or a new extension, it is preferred to include the wet UFH pipes during construction of a new concrete floor, which includes insulation, dpm, UFH and finish screed. If you are building a new floor anyway, it is reasonable to incorporate UFH without huge additional cost.

returnvisit Fri 08-Sep-17 14:31:39

sorry piglet, this was a zombie thread, don't know if OP is still around at original post was in 2011.

Any advice on cost per Square metre for installation of wet UFH? My DH is convinced that the installation of 5 radiators will be cheaper than UFH.

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