Considering Underfloor Heating (UFH)

Have you ever wanted to place a piece of furniture against a wall, but can’t because the radiator takes up a large portion of the wall? Perhaps you are not keen on the sight of a conventional radiator at all. If you are considering underfloor heating as an option, then you may be faced with the choice between “Wet” and “Dry” systems. At JCW Saunders we get asked about the two systems all the time, so we thought we would put together a blog listing the pros and cons of both.

Why Choose Underfloor Heating

Left: Underfloor heating vs Right: Conventional radiator heating

Left: Underfloor heating vs Right: Conventional radiator heating

Conventional radiators provide heating from a side of the room vertically. Heat travels up along the wall and then circulates around the room and back down on the other side by which time, it has usually cooled. As this a single point of heat dispersal, the radiators are often burning hot.

Having heat coming from the floor below, means the heat is dispersed horizontally and as heat rises it will warm the room to a comfortable temperature. As the underfloor heating is installed to a much larger area, the source of heat isn’t as intense, in fact could be as little as 25°C~, as opposed to the 50-60°C~ that of a radiator, which make the system overall more energy efficient.

Water system or Electric system?

Water (aka “wet”) underfloor heating: 


Installing water UFH systems can be large project and can also be expensive, pipes will need to be laid by skilled plumbers. The best results are usually achieved in new builds or renovations, as the space under the floor needs to be sufficient for the pipes, insulation and screed. Existing floors may need to be stripped or excavated to make way for the new layers, as a result the new floor may be higher than before. You may also require the Radiators to be taken out to free up wall spaces, which will add to the length of project. 

Running cost:

Once pipes are in place, it runs off your existing boiler. As the surface temperature is much lower, there isn’t so much pressure on the boiler. Underfloor heating systems distribute heat more evenly across a larger area, consequently water running through the pipes are at a lower temperature than a radiator, making your boiler more energy efficient.

Alternative Energy Sources:

Aside from the conventional gas or oil boiler, there are plenty of renewable sources to warm the water. If you already have Air and Ground Sourced Heat Pumps installed, these can be easily connected and save you even more on running costs. Read more on Ground Sourced Heat Pumps installation projects here.

Electric (aka “Dry”) underfloor heating:


These are relatively easy to install and are an 'off-the-shelf' product. Any confident DIYer installing these heat coil tiles themselves shouldn't have any issues. However, it is always best for safety, and to protect the product’s warranty, to book a qualified electrician to connect these up to the mains. These systems can be installed in conjunction with existing conventional heating systems and used as the main or secondary source of heating, depending on the design. The manufacturer and your installer should remind you that electrical wires are not as tough as pipes of the water system, therefore heavy weight objects and activities will need to be handled/practiced with care.

Running cost:

Compared to a water system that runs off of the central heating system, electric systems may be more costly to run, but this is of course circumstantial. A well designed and installed system can be cheaper than conventionally powered heating methods such as propane gas, oil and electrical wall radiators.

Alternative energy sources:

You could already have a system in place that harvests renewable energy from the wind or sun, this could discount your UFH running costs further. Read more on solar installation projects here.

If you still find that you have question about the pros and cons of UFH systems, or you have decided already to choose this method of heating then get in contact with us today, call 01394 389637 or leave us a quick enquiry.