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Underfloor heating is becoming a popular solution for heating homes in the UK. Underfloor heating saves space, is energy efficient and a real treat during the cold winter mornings. One of the big advantages with underfloor heating is that there are no cold spots, in addition there are no radiators to spoil the clean lines of a room, plus space can be saved by freeing up a wall that would normally need to be dedicated to a radiator. Underfloor heating is also a very efficient way to warm a room and most of the heat is concentrated in the lower part of the room, which means very little heat is wasted. There are two main types of underfloor heating; An electric-mat system, and hot water or wet systems.
Hot water or wet systems use warm water from the central heating system which is pumped through plastic pipes laid underneath the floor. This wet underfloor heating is cheaper to run than a conventional radiator system as it uses water at a lower temperature than standard radiators so reduces water-heating costs. Wet systems are most easily installed where new floors are being constructed, so is perfect for new extensions, conservatories and new builds.
Electric underfloor heating systems use cables in an open-weave mesh mat configuration or are embedded into a continuous roll. These mats or rolls are spread out on the sub-floor, then connected together, linking up to the mains power supply and thermostat controls. These electric underfloor heating systems are cheaper to install than wet systems, but are more expensive to run. Some electrical-mat systems are designed to be be used directly under rugs to suit any type of floor construction. Electric underfloor heating is more suitable for existing rooms and it's much easier to add electric systems to upper-floor rooms, whereas adding wet systems is a major job.
Whichever type of underfloor heating system you choose, once installed they are generally maintenance-free. However to reap the full benefits, your property needs to be adequately insulated, including insulation to be installed beneath the system. Condensing boilers offer the greatest potential savings on running costs when used to heat water for an underfloor wet system, but any boiler of sufficient capacity can be used. Underfloor heating can be used with almost any type of flooring, including carpets, tiles (stone, ceramic, slate and terracotta), timber, vinyl’s and laminates.
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