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Is underfloor heating expensive to run?

Want to know whether underfloor heating is expensive to run or an energy-efficient alternative to traditional heating methods? Keep reading for all the answers.

Many people considering underfloor heating want to know whether it’s expensive to run or an energy-efficient alternative to radiators. However, the answer to that isn’t as simple as you might think. To work out the cost benefits, we need to look at the types of underfloor heating units that exist, their installation costs, and the money-saving benefits they offer long-term.

Underfloor heating pros and cons

Pros

  • Depending on the make and model, underfloor heating is an energy-efficient alternative to radiators.
  • Easy to run and maintain.
  • Frees up wall space for more room design freedom.
  • Works with all floor coverings.
  • Offers safety and comfort.
  • Easy to install.

Cons

  • Costs more to install than traditional heating alternatives.
  • Longer installation times as they need to fit under your floor.
  • Sometimes creates a floor height issue.

Types of underfloor heating

For most residential and commercial properties, there are three main types of underfloor heating:

  • Electric, which is sometimes known as a dry system.
  • Hydronic, which is also known as a wet system.
  • Infrared, which is similar to electric but more efficient.

For those building from scratch, hydronic systems are more popular. Powered by a boiler or heat pump, they work by filling pipes with warm water concealed within the floor – typically embedded within a floor screed. Wet underfloor heating systems are usually more energy efficient as they run at lower temperatures and save around 25% of energy on average (when compared to modern radiator systems). On the contrary, electric systems are cheaper to install and best for smaller areas as they don’t save as much energy as their hydronic counterparts.

Why not ask one of our underfloor heating experts to advise on the best type of system for your needs?

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How expensive is electric underfloor heating to run?

Electric underfloor heating is very expensive to run. Hydronic underfloor heating, however, can be very economical.

A benefit of underfloor heating is that it heats up quickly, and so you won’t need to have it on for so long to heat up your home. You also don’t need to run them as hot to keep your tootsies warm (35 degrees compared to 70 degrees), which also helps you save some pennies.

How to install underfloor heating

Electric vs wet underfloor heating running costs

As discussed, a wet underfloor heating system is more expensive to install but offers greater cost benefits in the long run, including lower utility bills. However, an electric underfloor system can still save you money compared to radiators if installed in a smaller space.

NB: The following costs are estimates. The actual costs will depend on the system your install, the size of your room, how long you run your system, and the age and thermal envelope of your building.

Electric

Running an electric floor heater will cost more than a wet system, which uses gas. However, if you install an underfloor system in a room smaller than 10m², you’re still looking at paying around £1 per week to heat it for a short amount of time*.

Installation costs of an electric UFH system during a renovation are an average of £60 – £85 per m2.

*Cost estimates based on data by Nu-Heat regarding the running costs of electric UFH in a 10m² room over one year, costs correct as of May 2022.

Water

Hydronic heating systems cost less to run than their electric counterparts. Furthermore, using air source heat pumps offer even greater savings in the long term. If you install a wet UFH system in a room smaller than 10m2, you could pay as little as £80 per year.* Installation costs during a renovation are an average of £120 – £135 per m2.

*Cost estimates based on data by Nu-Heat regarding the running costs of electric UFH in a 10m² room over one year, costs correct as of May 2022.

FAQs

Is underfloor heating energy efficient?

Hydronic underfloor heating systems are more energy efficient than their electric counterparts. However, whatever system you use, they’re a greener and more energy-efficient alternative to traditional radiators.

Is gas underfloor heating expensive to run?

The cost benefits of electric UFHs are minor compared to traditional radiators. However, they’re a greener alternative due to their quicker heating times and lower temperatures. However, for the best cost savings on an energy-efficient UFH, opt for a hydronic (wet) system.

Is underfloor heating more expensive to run than radiators?

No, underfloor heating is at least 25% more efficient than traditional radiators.

Is it cheaper to have underfloor heating?

If you install underfloor heating during a renovation or in a new build, you save on installation costs as you don’t have to lift up your existing floor or screed anything. Electric UFH systems are cheaper to install than hydronic UFH systems. However, hydronic systems offer the most energy-saving cost benefits long term and will considerably reduce your monthly energy bills.

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