Should you choose Underfloor Heating or Radiators for your Extension?

Lisa Raynes

by Lisa Raynes

25/03/2023, in Design Hints and Tips | Energy focus

Underfloor heating works by circulating warm water or electricity through pipes or wires that are installed beneath the floor surface. The heat radiates up from the floor, warming the room evenly and creating a comfortable and cozy living space.

There are two types of underfloor heating: hydronic (water-based) and electric.

In a hydronic system, warm water is circulated through a network of pipes that are installed beneath the floor surface. The water is heated by a boiler or heat pump and then circulated through the pipes, which are usually made of polyethylene. The heat radiates up through the floor surface, warming the room. The temperature can be controlled by adjusting the flow of warm water through the pipes.

The photo shows an underfloor heating manifold – that’s where all the pipes meet up, so you will need to allow some space for it.

In an electric system, electrically conductive wires or mats are installed beneath the floor surface. When electricity flows through the wires, they heat up and radiate warmth upward. Electric systems are usually less expensive to install than hydronic systems, but can be more expensive to operate.

Both types of underfloor heating offer a number of benefits, including energy efficiency, even heat distribution, and improved indoor air quality. They are also relatively maintenance-free and can be installed in a variety of floor surfaces, including tile, stone, concrete, and wood.

Pride Road clients Joe and Ross installed underfloor heating in their home. They say ‘Overall we’re really pleased with our wet underfloor heating system. What started as just underfloor in the extension turned into whole house underfloor- and not having a single radiator (aside bathroom towel rails) in the house has been quite liberating in terms of how we use our space, and having a warm floor has been very comforting, especially in the bathrooms.

It worked for us as part of a whole house renovation since we were changing all the floors and weren’t living there at the time, as it was obviously a lot of work involved.

There were a few teething problems, given it was relying on plumbing, electrical and wi-fi all working properly. But after that all sorted everything’s been great. It is a lower temperature system so does take a while to heat up – usually put the heating on about 2 hours before it’s needed – but that’s easily done with the app (Wunda) which provides a high level of control.

Particularly in the coldest bit of winter, that week when it was below zero for most of the week, it did get quite chilly inside, especially in the kitchen given it’s a big space with lots of glass and quite a bit of the room under the island and cabinets doesn’t have underfloor heating. Additional heating (I remember you suggesting trench heating by the doors) might have helped to overcome this, but we probably shouldn’t blame the heating entirely as it was as much our reluctance to have it on constantly.

Pride Road clients Clive and Sally installed underfloor heating in their home. Clive says ’ we are very pleased with the underfloor heating but takes a bit of planning and individual thermostats for each room a pain especially when the clocks change, so the timers needing resetting all round’