Mythbusting: Underfloor Heating

Its myth busting time again and this week we are talking about underfloor heating. Installed and loved by many, but for a large number of people it is still not properly understood; even by professionals! Below we outline the top 5 myths and as usual will endeavour to blow these myths out the water and pave the way for sensible heating decisions to be made with the right information.

Myth 1: You can’t properly control room temperature

Modern and widely available underfloor control systems can utilise both traditional analogue and modern digital control. The latter allows for precise room temperature control up to half a degree which is significantly better than you would hope to achieve with an analogue dial thermostat.

In fact if you have a new system installed in a home and rooms are correctly zoned you can program and control different temperatures for different rooms from a single location, so bathrooms are nice and cosy 22C whilst bedrooms are a comfortable 18C. Modern smartphone apps even allow you to make changes to your home heating whilst you are abroad. Control doesn’t get much better than that!

Myth 2: It doesn’t work with carpet flooring

This is simply untrue. The general rule here is TOG ratings should be below 1.5 and heavy large rugs avoided as they all add to insulate the floor from heating below. There are thousands of home owners who are having carpeted rooms heated just fine and there is no reason why you shouldn’t too.

  • During the room pipe work design, engineers cater for carpeted areas in most living spaces and make sure that plenty of pipe is installed.

 Myth 3: It reacts too slowly to be any use

Modern intelligent systems can be programmed to fit your lifestyle and many “learn” when to start to ensure that the room is at your desired temperature at a given time in the day. The convention in most homes now is to keep the home at a steady temperature just a few degrees below the ideal temperature during the night, or when you go on holiday, with a small nudge required to get the home back up to temperature when you return.

  • Underfloor systems if used this way are very responsive and far more economical to run.

Myth 4: You can’t install it upstairs

We hear this one a lot and there are often two reasons; structural and cost/benefit. It is true that a wet system with a thin screed does add additional weight but with caution, “lightweight” systems can be installed that have no need for a screed.

As for cost/benefit there is more money invested in a first floor heating system but depending on your requirements you gain intelligent individual room heating and additional wall space for all your bedroom furniture and bathroom fittings which very few people consider.

Myth 5: It will crack and distort wooden floors

Again many people have underfloor heating successfully installed with wooden floors in the UK and Europe. Most wooden floors installed with under floor heating are engineered and therefore are very thermally stable. Natural wooden floors are a different beast as these have a higher moisture content and are much less resilient to changing humidity and moisture ingress. As a general rule higher density woods are preferred and maximum allowable moisture contents should be a maximum of 7%.

There you go 5 myths, busted: our work here is done!

Doug Johnson

Doug is a chartered mechanical engineer and has had the pleasure of being involved in the UK renewable sector since 2008. With wide-ranging operational and design experience in both the domestic and commercial sectors across a wide range of recognised technologies he hopes to be able to share his experience to help enlighten and save you hassle along the way.