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Is Electric Underfloor Heating Expensive To Run?


Electric underfloor heating is becoming an increasingly popular choice for homeowners seeking efficient and comfortable heating solutions. As more people consider this modern alternative to traditional heating methods, one common question that arises is whether electric underfloor heating is expensive to run. In this blog post, we will explore the factors that affect the running costs of electric underfloor heating and provide insights to help you make an informed decision for your home.

Understanding Electric Underfloor Heating

Electric underfloor heating operates by heating the floor of a room, which in turn radiates warmth evenly throughout the space. Unlike traditional radiators, which rely on convection currents, underfloor heating provides a consistent and comfortable heat distribution, ensuring there are no cold spots in the room.

Read More: Underfloor Heating vs Radiators - What You Need To Know

This form of heating can be installed under various flooring types, including tile, laminate, wood and carpet, making it a versatile choice for any room in your home.

Although some people still expect underfloor heating to be expensive to run, the reality is that both the initial installation cost and the ongoing running expenses can represent great value for money. To give a specific example, WarmUp Underfloor heating is up to 40% more efficient than traditional heating methods, meaning it can reduce your home’s energy usage and in turn, reduce the cost of your energy bills.

In a previous article we discussed the pros and cons of underfloor heating, you can read more here.

The Difference Between Electric Underfloor Heating and Water Underfloor Heating

Electric Underfloor Heating:

Electric floor heaters are available as either a heated mat or heating cable-based system and both convert electric energy into radiant warmth. Underfloor heating mats use ultra-thin electric heating wires pre-attached to a ready-sized mat which can simply be rolled out and adhered to the subfloor. Heating cables take the form of a free-form electric wire which can be directly installed onto or within the subfloor.

Products to consider when fitting electric underfloor heating:

Water Underfloor Heating:

Water systems involve pumping water, heated to an optimal temperature by a heat source (a traditional boiler or heat pump) through underfloor heating pipes, also known as circuits, which are laid within or on top of the subfloor beneath your floor finish.

Products to consider when fitting water underfloor heating:

Factors Affecting Underfloor Heating Running Costs

  1. Insulation: The quality of insulation in your home plays a significant role in determining how expensive it is to run electric underfloor heating. Well-insulated homes retain heat better, reducing the need for the system to work harder to maintain a comfortable temperature.
  2. Thermostat Control: Effective control of your underfloor heating system is crucial for energy efficiency. Programmable thermostats allow you to set specific heating schedules, preventing unnecessary energy consumption when you don't need it.
  3. Flooring Material: The type of flooring material you choose can impact running costs. Tile and stone floors are excellent conductors of heat, making them more energy-efficient than thicker, less conductive materials like hardwood or carpet.
  4. Room Size: The size of the room and the layout of the heating cables or mats also influence running costs. Larger rooms or rooms with higher ceilings may require more energy to heat, while efficient placement of heating elements in smaller rooms can help optimize energy use.
  5. Energy Tariffs: The cost of electricity in your area and the energy tariff you are on will affect the overall running costs. It's essential to compare energy prices and choose the most cost-effective tariff.
  6. Insulation Beneath the Floor: The presence or absence of insulation beneath the floor can significantly impact how efficient your underfloor heating system is. Proper insulation beneath the heating elements can help prevent heat loss into the ground, ultimately saving energy and money. Our insulation boards are specially designed to be used in conjunction with underfloor heating systems to improve heat retention and distribution.
  7. Matting & Decoupling: Our selection of underfloor heating matting and decoupling membranes are designed to work together with your underfloor heating system to provide optimal heat distribution and protection against movement for your floors.

Cost Comparisons

To determine whether electric underfloor heating is expensive to run, it's helpful to compare it to other heating methods. While the upfront installation costs for underfloor heating may be higher than traditional radiators or baseboard heaters, its long-term running costs can often be lower. This is especially true in well-insulated homes with energy-efficient thermostats.

Moreover, underfloor heating offers the advantage of zoned heating, allowing you to heat specific rooms or areas of your home as needed. This precise control can further reduce energy consumption and costs.

Tips for Cost-Effective Electric Underfloor Heating

  1. Optimise Insulation: Invest in proper insulation for your home, including under the floor, to minimize heat loss.
  2. Programmable Thermostats: Use programmable thermostats to schedule heating periods based on your daily routines.
  3. Zone Heating: Take advantage of the zoned heating capabilities to only heat the areas you're using.
  4. Regular Maintenance: Keep your underfloor heating system well-maintained to ensure it operates efficiently.
  5. Installation Location: High heat-loss areas like conservatories, or rooms with high ceilings, need a more powerful electric underfloor heating system to heat the room. So consider this when looking at where to fit underfloor heating, along with what system would be suitable.

While the initial investment in electric underfloor heating may seem daunting, it offers long-term benefits in terms of comfort and energy efficiency. Whether it's expensive to run depends on several factors, including your home's insulation, thermostat control, flooring type, and energy tariff. When used wisely and in the right circumstances, electric underfloor heating can provide efficient and cost-effective heating for your home, making it a worthwhile investment in the long run.

Warm Floor Store offers quality products from industry-leading trusted brands, such as Warmup, Schluter Systems, Devi, Thermosphere and more at low trade prices. Whether you're a Tradesman, Builder, Plumber, Tiler, Floorer, Architect or even a DIY'er we've got you covered. With a wealth of experience in the industry, our expert team are on hand to guide you to the right products for your project.

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