Underfloor heating- is it worth it?(16 Posts)
We are getting an extension in the next couple of months and wondered if anyone had any experience of underfloor heating? Is it more of a secondary heating or can we bin the radiators?!
We nearly didn't get it, as part of a cost cutting exercise. In the end we did go for it and I love it. Well worth it, and no radiators.
Yup - we had it done as part of a extn and it's absolutely fab...its a different kind of heat - feels more even. Its taking a bit of time to get used to what temp to set it and when it should come on and off...we're getting there...slowly!
We have it in our conservatory - love it! Still warm in there to sit tonight, it's blowing a gale and 0 degrees outside. Underfloor has not been on since it reached room temp at about 9.30 this morning. Whereas the house rads have been chugging away for most of the day :-( (first time this winter had heating on during the day though)
It is a learning curve though. Underfloor heating is designed to be on 24/7 as it runs at lower temperatures to radiators. It takes a while to heat the substrate up from cold, sometimes 2hrs, depending on insulation used. that's why they recommend to have the off temp 4degrees lower then your desired room temp, then when that zone comes on it only has to heat up the room 4degrees rather than the substrate from cold. Once the substrate is warm it acts as a huge radiator and is supposed to be really efficient.
We're still learning with ours. Had the off temp set to 13degrees which made the boiler work really hard to get it to the on temp, which was using a lot of oil. Just changed off temp to 17degrees, boiler will now fire up occasionally to keep it ticking over overnight and won't be heating the substrate up from cold in the morning, so won't be working so hard and using all my lovely oil. We shall see!
It's a learning curve, but I love it and wish we had it in the rest of the house.
We decided not to and have 2 vertical radiators. If your insulation is good you will be fine. We are not cold!
I have it in my kitchen floor. It means I have more wall space for cupboards and I don't have a blazing hot radiator that takes ages to cool down when I cook in the kitchen. Its nice to walk on a warm floor when I come pottering down early morning for a coffee.
Yes its ambient heat rather than hot directional heat like a fire or radiator. If I had a modern house I would have it all under floor heating. The Romans invented it and they were right.
Another one agreeing its fab.I can sit in my (large) kitchen/diner and feel warm even if heating off.The rest of the house feels cold in comparision and I wish we could have it in the older part of the house.
We have it (the piped sort) in our entire house. Previous owners put it in. We're still a bit baffled by it 6 months later and struggle to get each room thermostat to do what it should. If we leave it on all day at a lower temp as advised it just turns into a sauna. We need to get to grips with understanding it. I like not having radiators though.
There are different kinds: hot water and purely electrical. Electric is easy to retrofit and uses less space, is cheap to install but expensive to run. Water is more energy efficient, and could even be combined with say, solar hot water systems, should you be so inclined.
It matters what flooring you put on top of it. Insulating materials just insulate you from the heat! Big fluffy carpets are out. You can put less insulating carpets on top, but it's still not great. Tiles are great. Wood, laminate and vinyl can be good. With all of these you need to check the flooring is okay to be used with UFH, as being close to the heat source could lead to warp or damage over time if its not designed for it.
Not sure about 24/7, but it is intended to provide ongoing warmth rather than high heat or sudden changes in temperature.
So it depends what you are doing with your extension, and how you want to furnish it. Great choice for a kitchen if you spend a lot of time in there and will have hard flooring. Not very good for a occasional room such as dining room or reception room where you want luxuriously thick carpet. Also consider how much time people spend in the house: if family is out at work / school all day, do you want to be heating the house slowly for hours so it's warm when you get in?
Works fine with carpets as long as they are low tog. Obv tiles are best, wood is ok too. Consult the manufacturers regarding timings/thermostats etc.
We have wet ufh throughout house, up and down stairs, concrete base, timber suspended and under tiles, bamboo and carpet
It's so good I don't like going to anyone's house as I get cold feet!
We've got it in our kitchen extension under tiles, and it is absolutely wonderful. As the room is quite big, we have got a radiator as secondary heating, but don't often need it.
By the way, if you are putting in radiators anywhere, it is worth doing some research. We replaced all our conventional radiators with low water modern ones from Jaga. They are much more efficient but cheaper to run. Plus, if you really want to push the boat out you can get them in all kinds of colours.
Yes it's lovely and stays warm for ages. I wouldn't have had radiators in our extension.
How do the running costs compare with central heating?
We binned the UFH when our kitchen extension overran cost wise. It wasn't the end of the world. The radiators don't take up that much room and in a rather old fashioned way they are useful for drying the odd item of clothing or t-towel. Sometimes the sums just don't compute and we made the decision to ditch the UFH and self clean skylights. Out of the two I regret the awkwardness of having to do skylight cleaning than the lack of UFH. But then I haven't ever experienced UFH to be able to miss it.
Questions to ask when considering underfloor heating;
are you Roman?
Has the specialist company filling your underfloor heating been in business for over ten years trading under exactly the same name?
Does the contract state that they will guarantee it for at least over 25 years?
Does the contract state that they will rematch like for like flooring should any area fail?
Does the contract state that all other refitting or replacment will be covered?
Does the guarantee cover fire damage from system?
Are all the parts of the system covered?
Does the guarantee only kick in for whole system or part system cover?
How many times will they come back and fix it, is there a limit?
Will you be ok with disruption should the floor need to come up?
Do they out sourse their insurance policy?
Does the system cope with hot spots should you want to move furniture around or have elderly dog sit in same place 24hr a day.
Oh and the warranties are not worth the paper they a written on, and all the companies are Ltd., but ask the questions anyway as it funny to watch people be economical with the truth when you get the specialist in for a quote.
Honestly don't go for wooden or cork (check the modern stuff out lovely oblongs in whatever colours you like and the most environmentally friendly product ever) on a well insulated base, if you want a warm floor.
Having run high end builds for a very long time, I am very careful never to be responsible for any underfloor heating, if a client does want to go down that route, we give them a longer version of the above, and get in the specialist which because of the nature of under floor heating we tend to see often as it so problematic.
On the other hand it is great for business, as often we get new clients who have spent a lot of money buying a lovely place with underfloor heating it develops faults and then find that having all the floors up leads to a rebuild, same as the cavity wall trend, wonderful work creation scheme.
We were considering UFH for our new soon to be kitchen diner which we were having a karndean floor put in. Decided against it as the original floor (concrete) has a black damp proof membrane (I can't remember what it's called!) And it's just not compatible with UFH apparently but serves a great purpose in preventing damp coming through. We are going to connect the current radiator pipes to an under unit air blower that will warm our kitchen. It's kind of a grate thing that'll be under the kitchen cupboard, completely hidden and same costs as radiators plus a bit of electric. Getting UFH in bathroom with karndean though! Probably electric one as it's a smaller space.
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