Self builders warm to the idea of underfloor heating

Any self build project will benefit from flexible electric underfloor heating. Jenny Smith, marketing services manager at Vent-Axia explains how advances in technology means electric underfloor heating is a choice that is set to grow in popularity

Underfloor heating is on the rise… There are a host of reasons why this type of heating is featuring in more and more new self build projects. During recent years it has undergone a transformation as manufacturers have developed advanced systems that meet the comfort needs of households and energy efficiency demands of legislation.

As we all strive to create energy efficient homes the buildings we live in are becoming increasingly airtight. A positive outcome of this development is that our homes’ heating demands are reducing making flexible, electric underfloor heating an increasingly attractive option.

Clear benefits
Electric underfloor heating has many recognised benefits. On the aesthetic side it is invisible and it gives you the freedom to place furniture where you like. You will not have to consider leaving radiators clear so you gain the most benefit from their heat. Also because it is silent in operation you won’t be disturbed by the sound of radiators warming up or boilers starting.

Also using the large surface area of your home’s floor to heat a room allows the low temperature radiant heat to provide evenly distributed warmth giving much higher levels of comfort when compared to other more traditional methods.

In these cost conscious times cutting fuel bills is always an attractive idea. Using this method the thermal output is 2-3°C lower than using a convection based system where the heat will collect close to the ceiling thus saving you 5-10 per cent of the running cost while eliminating draughts or cold spots in a room.

There is no need to worry about complex installation either as electric underfloor heating mats and cables are economical and easy to install. The flexibility of electric underfloor heating is an added financial bonus since it can be installed one room at a time. This will allow you to cater to your individual comfort and budgetary requirements, adding further rooms as your finances allow. Using electricity for heating is also ideal if you live in a rural household with no mains gas supply.

As winter bites the cost of heating our homes is at the forefront of everyone’s minds due to spiralling fuel prices. However, as gas supplies dwindle those of us who use gas will be hardest hit by the rises and it looks like this trend is set to continue.

In the long term using gas to heat our homes is not sustainable. Ultimately, as we move towards zero carbon homes and a decarbonised energy supply, electric heating will become the heating solution of choice. Manufacturers are already preparing for this transition and have developed a range of innovative products for the self build market.

What is key to this next generation of electric underfloor heating is new technological developments meaning its accurate controls ensure it is more energy efficient than ever before.

Some underfloor heating systems offer a heating thermostat controller that monitors both the floor and air temperature. This gives you the flexibility to gain maximum control over your environment by allowing you to set the thermostat at either the ideal floor or air temperature depending on the room. For example to gain maximum comfort you may choose to set the thermostat to meet an ideal floor temperature in the bathroom, while the lounge may be more comfortable meeting an ambient temperature target.

Ideal for renovation projects and new builds this kind of system can heat homes completely or in combination with other heating sources.

As we move towards zero carbon homes and a decarbonised energy supply electric heating is set to become the heating solution of choice. Already boasting improved efficiency and control, electric underfloor heating is a technology that gives you control and comfort with the added bonus of style. As such it is a prudent choice for any self build project.