Should I install wet or dry underfloor heating?

Underfloor heating – the answer for comfort and savings?

Underfloor heating can be a great way to heat your home – it looks good, it saves space, it is usually cheaper to run and it means no ugly radiators! One decision you need to make however is whether to go for a wet or dry system. In other words, do you want an electric underfloor heating system or one with plumbing and pipes?

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. So lets take you through some of the pros and cons of each type of heating:

Wet systems – Pros

    • Extremely efficient to run and works at low temperatures.
    • Ideal for use alongside heat pumps to get amazing efficiency.

Wet systems – Cons

    • Initial costs are very high
    • The savings in comparison to radiators do not make it cost effective.
    • Pipes are difficult to reach if there are any issues.

Electric systems – Pros

    • Relatively inexpensive to install
    • No pipework – easy installation.
    • Easily installed on upper floors

Electric Systems – Cons

    • Very expensive to run
    • Placement of furniture and heavy items needs to be done carefully.

So as you can see there are pros and cons for each underfloor heating method and it is often not just a simple choice.

Cost of underfloor heating

This will depend a little on things like the type of floor you have – solid or suspended, but it is safe to say that a wet system is far more expensive. We generally see quotes at or about £100 per square metre to install a wet underfloor system. That can really add up over say a 50 square metre property!

Underfloor_heating_pipes

Underfloor heating before screed is applied.

Electric underfloor heating costs much less, with some systems as cheap as £20 per square metre. So for some it is a very attractive option. Running costs are likely to be much higher however, as the cost of electricity per unit is much higher than gas or a heat pump.

Should you get wet or dry underfloor heating?

This really does depend on your circumstances. If you have cheap electricity, with a solar or wind system, then electric underfloor heating may be competitive as an option. It certainly is cheap to install. If you are on the gas grid or able to go for a heat pump, then wet underfloor heating is a clear winner, especially for long term payback.

Electric heating can still be useful as an additional heating system to keep the bathroom floor warm for example, but it really shouldn’t be used as a main heating system unless you fall into a pretty specific category.

 


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