Requires: Flooring underlay or carpet of less than 2.5 tog.
Enables: Heat Pumps.
Underfloor heating systems can be used with almost any kind of boiler but are the most efficient system for heat pumps (1). Underfloor heating can be used in conjunction with radiators if some of the building is not converted to underfloor heating.
As well as being more efficient in conjunction with heat pumps, there are other advantages to switching to underfloor heating:
When installing underfloor heating, the type of screed is important. Screed is the substance which encloses the pipework and levels the floor. 'Dry' screed is solid and cheaper, while 'wet' screed is a liquid, making it easier to obtain a flat floor. 'Wet' screed can be applied more thinly, which can also be beneficial because installing underfloor heating will raise the floor level by the thickness of the underfloor heating system and screed. The type of pipework may determine which screed is most suitable (3). Underfloor heating can be used with any type of flooring provided underlay and carpets are below 2.5 tog (2).
The principal drawback of underfloor heating is its high installation cost, mainly due to the taking up and laying down of flooring, which is also highly disruptive whilst the work is taking place. Underfloor heating is therefore most cost-effective and least disruptive when installed in new builds or extensions. Whether a retrofit or new build, cost effectiveness of underfloor heating installation can be increased by installing Floor Insulation or new flooring at the same time.
Electric underfloor heating systems are also available. These are less costly and disruptive to install but will drastically increase electricity demand and subsequently heating costs.
(1) Note that air-to-air heat pumps are a warm air not wet central heating system so are an exception.
(2) Building and WMS Underfloor Heating, CPD, CPD 23 2019: Benefits of Underfloor Heating. Available from: https://www.building.co.uk/cpd/cpd-23-2019-benefits-of-underfloor-heating/5102951.article [Accessed 26th January 2021].
(3) BEAMA, BEAMA Underfloor Heating – Guide to Types of UFH Pipework. London: BEAMA Underfloor Heating; 2019. Available from: https://www.beama.org.uk/static/8a453c69-defb-47c1-85af891729e44abe/BEAMA-UNDERFLOOR-HEATING-GUIDE-TO-TYPES-OF-UFH-PIPEWORK.pdf [Accessed 26th January 2021].