Should you go for Wet or Electric?
If you’re reading this looking for an answer, you’ll already be aware that there are two types of underfloor heating systems available in the market. You’ll hear some systems suppliers or manufacturers argue that the other’s are not the answer and that their offer is ideal for you….. Well we’re here to say that they’re wrong.
The fact is, depending on the specifics of your project you may need wet, or you may need electric……or you may need both!!!
You see, there are positives and negatives, as with anything, with both systems.
Hopefully here we can help you make a more informed, or less confused, confident decision.
Wet underfloor heating systems are installed using loops of pipe (15 or 16mm) within screed normally and connected to a water distribution manifold. This manifold sits somewhere discrete, maybe under the stairs, and when required, is fed warm water from your boiler/heat pump or other heat source. Both the underfloor and the heat source are controlled by one or more room thermostats through a wiring centre…… thats it.
Heat is emitted from the flowing warm water to the floor through the outside surface of the pipe loops.
It’s wet……it’s got water in it.
Electric underfloor heating.
Electric underfloor heating systems are installed by either installing loops of cable, or as is more common these days by laying an array of mats, again in screed. There’s no need for a manifold but as with the wet underfloor, each area’s output is controlled by a thermostat based on room and/or floor temperature sensing.
Heat is emitted through electrical resistance.
It’s electric….it’s got electricity running through it.
Generally speaking wet underfloor systems are recognised as being more efficient in terms of running costs and, especially on new build, it could be argued that they are no more expensive to install that electric systems.
However, when it comes to re-furbishments and very small areas, it could be argued that electric systems are more suited in terms of installation costs.
So, which is best in this regard?
Well, if you’re are installing in a new build or large extension (15m2 Plus), then I’d say almost certainly that a wet system would be more suitable. The floors are yet to be laid, so you’re not paying for the existing floor to be removed, you can install the system before the screed goes down and build to the required floor height.
On the other hand, if you’re just refurbishing your kitchen or bathroom and don’t want to take the floors up, or increase the floor height by too much, then the additional running costs versus the upheaval costs and discomfort are probably going to be acceptable.
Now, (not wanting to confuse things), as with any developing technology, things are beginning to change as far as the wet underfloor systems are concerned. Whilst I stand by my assertions with regards to small re-furburbishments of kitchen & bathrooms, if you’re looking at whole house refurbishment, there are now low-profile systems that enable wet systems installations without taking the existing floors up and only raising the floors by 20mm using small bore pipe, that includes the screed. From an efficiency perspective, these systems would save you money over time and they won’t impact too much in terms of time and labor costs.
Ask your plumber or builder about your options, or you can call us on 01245 490401 and we’d be happy to help.