Exploring the pros and cons of underfloor heating: is it worth it?

Exploring the pros and cons of underfloor heating: is it worth it?

4th March 2024

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The decision to upgrade your home with underfloor heating (UFH) is a big one, so you want to be in the know before you officially take the plunge. With costs to consider and a potentially long waiting period before your new system is up and running, is underfloor heating really worth it? To break it down, here are the pros and cons you’ll want to consider.

underfloor heating: is it worth it?

Exploring the pros and cons of underfloor heating: is it worth it?

Pro: reduces energy bills

Underfloor heating is a huge game changer when it comes to reducing your energy bills, and this is arguably the most common reason homeowners look to install it. Unlike radiators, UFH can cover an entire floor space, so it’s much more effective at heating large areas. Because of this, you’re likely to find that you don’t need to leave your underfloor heating switched on for as long as you would with a radiator in order to achieve optimum levels of heat.

Underfloor heating also makes it easy to heat different parts of your home to different temperatures at the click of a button – so you can easily keep on top of your energy usage, and ensure that you’re not using any more than you absolutely need to. In fact, water-based UFH systems need less energy input to reach the same temperatures as radiators, ultimately allowing you to see a huge reduction in energy consumption, and equally drastic savings on your bills.

Con: costly to install

While underfloor heating is almost guaranteed to save you money in the long term, there can be some pricey fees when it comes to the initial installation costs. Although it’s easy to make this money back over time, it does mean that you have to pay one large bulk sum upfront, which can be difficult to budget for in the current financial climate.

The kind of underfloor heating system you choose will depend on what’s most suitable for your home – but you can expect to spend anything from £25 to £90 per square metre. Of course, engineer fees will also need to be considered, which can be pricey if you’re planning a particularly large renovation. 

Exploring the pros and cons of underfloor heating: is it worth it?

Pro: a more eco-friendly option

While the average UK household generates 2,745 kg of CO2 each year when using radiators, those using water-based underfloor heating only release around 686 kg of CO2 per year. With climate change an ever-increasing concern, most households are looking for ways to cut down their carbon footprint, and switching to an underfloor heating system may just be one of the most effective ways to achieve this.

Installing underfloor heating alongside a heat pump can make the energy you use go even further – while UFH is already 25% more efficient than radiator systems, the addition of a heat pump boosts this energy efficiency to 40%.

Con: warm up time

How long your underfloor heating takes to heat up – and how well it retains heat – will largely depend on the structure of your home. For example, UFH installed under a concrete floor without any insulation could take hours to heat up, due to the heat escaping more easily from the pipes. For this reason, it’s important to ensure your system is insulated with high-grade foam during the installation process.

Similarly, the type of flooring you choose for your home can impact how quickly the heat permeates throughout your space. Wooden, tiled and ceramic floors all have a high heat transfer level, and will help to keep your home toasty – while flooring covered with carpet and rugs will be much slower to heat. Similarly, heavy furniture placed on your floor will all block your source of heat – something to consider when planning both your heating system and interior layout.

Exploring the pros and cons of underfloor heating: is it worth it?

An excellent upgrade for homeowners

All in all, the pros of underfloor heating systems are likely to outweigh the few cons associated with them; particularly as it’s possible to insulate your home to combat heat loss, and you can make back the installation costs over time. In the long term, underfloor heating is an excellent solution for most homeowners, particularly if you’re looking to spend less, retain heat, and live a more comfortable, eco-friendly life.