There are two main types of in-floor heating systems; hydronic, where heated water is piped under the floor, and electric, which uses heating cables to produce the heat. Which is the most suitable for your home?
The main benefit of a hydronic system is that its running costs will be much lower. It is designed to remain on for the whole of the winter season, and so once it has heated up, it only needs the energy to keep it at the same temperature. The water will firstly be heated by an energy-efficient gas boiler; it is then directed through pipes beneath the floor where it will heat your home through conduction and radiation. As it forms a closed-loop system, there will be very little energy loss. The water can also be directed through radiators on the walls to ensure that your rooms are heated properly. It is, therefore, a much cheaper solution if you want to keep your entire house warm over the entire season.
There are many benefits of an electric system, however. Although a hydronic system will be cheaper to run, it will be more expensive to install in the first place and is most suited to a new build. An electric system is much simpler to set up and will cost less in labour.
An electric system is also best suited for individual areas of the house. It can be easily installed in a single bedroom or bathroom, and it is easier to adjust the temperature once it is set up. A hydronic system can take up to two days to reach its full heat, but an electric system will be able to warm a room up much more quickly. It can also heat up individual rooms, unlike a hydronic system which is really designed for an entire house.
Finally, an electric system is easier to maintain. With a hydronic system, the boiler will need regular inspection and maintenance, while an electric system will not need any attention. And if there are any problems, they are usually easier to find and fix in an electric system than a hydronic one.
Broadly speaking, a hydronic system is best suited for keeping an entire house warm over a long period, while an electric system is more flexible. Just talk to your installer about the options available, and you should make the right choice for your home.
For more information on in-floor heating, reach out to a local flooring contractor.