As a luxury addition to a home, underfloor heating is becoming increasingly popular, with more houses than ever seeming to be covertly adding an extra thermostat to the wall to control the temperature of the electric coils or water pipes lying underneath the floor surface.

As with everything, though, there are both pros and cons to buying into the underfloor heating phenomenon. It’s not an inexpensive or quick addition to make to your home, even if you are able to install it yourself, so you need to be aware of all of the different factors in order to make the best-informed decision you can.

Although there are two different types of underfloor heating systems (electric and water), the pros and cons of each are more or less the same – the main differences are related to their installations rather than their effects. Whether you opt for one or the other will depend on the room you’re installing it in and general personal preferences in terms of operation and changes to the home’s infrastructure.

What are the pros and cons of underfloor heating

The pros

  • One of the main pros is its energy efficiency when compared to radiators. It warms a room completely, with a fairly even distribution of heat, and rarely starts from cold.
  • As a knock-on effect, heating bills decrease, making underfloor heating more cost-effective as well as more energy-efficient.
  • It works effectively with floors made of stone and tile, which would ordinarily be fairly cold to the touch.
  • It is invisible, unlike a radiator, so it does not spoil the effect of a wall or the room as a whole and offers more space for extra features.
  • It does not have to be overly expensive to install – a lot of electric versions are easily installable for a competent DIYer, though water systems can be more complicated and might require professional help.
  • It also adds extra value to the home as a “luxury extra”, which can be important if you ever come to sell it.
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The cons

  • It takes a while to completely heat a room, which doesn’t make it a great option for homes or rooms that might need quick heat boosts.
  • Retrofitting underfloor heating to rooms can be expensive, which is why it’s predominantly installed in new builds.
  • Additionally, the upheaval during the fitting can be significant because rooms are rendered virtually unusable for the duration of the installation.
  • Not every system is designed to heat the room – some are only designed to heat the floor, with no heat waves rising into the air. These systems may not be suitable for your needs.
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If you’re not sure about whether it’s the best option for your home, it can be worth installing it in one room, such as the bathroom, and seeing how things go in terms of its general effect both heat-wise and on your energy bills. If you subsequently feel that it is worth installing in other rooms or throughout the entire house, you can go ahead with the work knowing that you’ve researched and tested the chosen system as much as reasonably possible.

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