Expert Author Gordon A Parkes
If you have decided that you want to install an underfloor heating system, the next question is what sort of system should you use.
Essentially, there are two options - a wet system where hot water is pumped through pipes embedded under the floor, or a dry system where electrical cable or film is placed under the floor.
How does the dry system work?
Installing an electrical system can be very straightforward and, depending on the system used only the final connections will need to made by a qualified electrician.
Once the sub-floor has been insulated to prevent heat loss, the electrical cables or film can be laid directly on to this. The floor covering can be laid, with a self-levelling compound used depending on the type of system used.
How does a wet system work?
With a wet underfloor heating system, the existing boiler is used to pump hot water through pipes embedded in the sub-floor.
A dedicated thermostat is used to control the temperature of the floor.
Advantages of the dry system
There are many advantages of using a dry underfloor heating system, compared to a wet set-up.
Hot water pipes obviously need more room, so installing them will result in more build-up of the floor. This would obviously have to be taken into account when putting in doors and possibly furniture.
An electrical system can be installed with little or no floor build-up, allowing you to retain all the existing features of the room.
The water pipes will have to be installed by a professional plumber, while most electrical systems can be installed by the workmen laying the floor. Only the final connection needs to be made by a professional electrician.
This will obviously save on the cost of installation.
Electric underfloor heating systems also require much less maintenance. Once the system is installed, an electric system has no moving parts, so the chances of it breaking down, unless physically damaged during installation, is very low.
Hot water pipes, on the other hand, are more likely to corrode over time, so they may need repaired or replaced.
Finally, hot water systems are more suited to ground floors because they need to be embedded in the sub floor.
An electric system can be used throughout the home.
What's more, if you install solar panels or other renewable sources, you can power your underfloor heating for free.
A dry underfloor heating system is easier to install, cheaper to maintain and more environmentally friendly.