water underfloor heating
An example of geometrically pleasing underfloor heating pipes laid in a new build property

Have you considered water underfloor heating? Underfloor heating is a relatively new way to heat parts of your home, and many people are retrofitting underfloor heating in their kitchens and bathrooms as part of a refurbishment project or even installing it as standard in their new build properties.

There are two main types of underfloor heating – water underfloor heating (or wet), and electric. The type of underfloor heating that you will choose for your home depends on many factors, including your central heating, the size and shape of the room, and whether you are expecting it to completely replace radiators. If you are unsure, then the experienced team at GMS will be able to help you make the right decision.

What is Water Underfloor Heating?

The water underfloor heating system consists of a series of pipes which run underneath the floor. These pipes carry hot water from the boiler, heating both the floor and the space above.

Water underfloor heating works with virtually all existing central heating systems, and it performs particularly well with solar water heating, ground source heat pumps, and air source heat pumps – underfloor heating runs at a much lower temperature than radiators, which is ideal for renewable energy.

How is water underfloor heating installed?

Water underfloor heating systems can be installed in almost any room, but they are most likely to be found in the kitchen, bathroom, or living room. Firstly, the pipes are laid and fixed with fixing clips, and then they are connected to a manifold and then to a heat source. The manifold consists of two rows of taps and becomes bigger and more complex as the size of the room it is in increases.

wet underfloor heating 1
A water underfloor heating manifold

Once it is all connected, the installation team will test it to ensure that it is working as it is meant to. An insulating screed is then poured around the pipes, working to not only hold them in place but also provide some insulation to increase efficiency. This screed is also essential to level out the floor.

It is worth mentioning that water underfloor heating is bulkier than the electric equivalent, and this means that once completed the floor level might have to be raised. This can, in turn, lead to more adjustments being made, such as steps into rooms and changing the height of doors.

Is water underfloor heating expensive to install and run?

In essence, the main difference between the two comes down to expense and efficiency. Electric systems tend to be cheaper to install, but they can be less powerful and may be more expensive to run over the long term.

Water systems are more costly to install and are more labour intensive, but they do tend to be cheaper to run in the long term and work particularly well with renewable energy sources like air and ground source heat pumps.

Although it is hard to quantify with any certainty because every home is different, water underfloor heating is considered to be more cost effective than electric – and both are considered to be better options than traditional radiators.

If you wanted to replace your existing central heating system and all the radiators with a cleaner looking underfloor heating system, then you need to take the advice of a professional.

The underfloor heating team at GMS will be able to advise you if the system will be suitable as a complete replacement, or whether you need to make any adjustments such as improving insulation.

Call us today to find out more about whether water underfloor heating is right for you.