Underfloor heating is becoming more and more popular in modern homes, and there are two main ways: electric underfloor heating and hydronic underfloor heating. The electric underfloor heating system uses electric heating wires or heating mat connected to the mains electricity supply, and then the electric energy will convert into radiant warmth. The hydronic underfloor heating system uses hot water to circulate in the underfloor circulation pipe, and then the water warmth will warm floor. Which system is better? There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. This article mainly introduces the differences between electric underfloor heating and Hydronic underfloor heating.
First, the installation of electric heating is easier and quicker than the water system. The electric heating system can use an electric heating mat, pave it on the insulation, then pour cement, pave floor (such as stone, tile, wood). Hydronic underfloor heating system paves insulation first, then pave water pipe, connect the main and branch water pipe, install water boiler, pour cement, pave the floor.
Second, the cost of them is different. The cost includes installation cost and running cost. The installation of hydronic underfloor heating system is more complex, and you maybe need a professional to install it. Besides, the hydronic underfloor heating system needs to install a boiler, which is very expensive. And the maintenance and repair of boiler can cost hundreds of dollars every year. The installation of electric underfloor heating system is very easy, and the heating mat also can save a lot of time of installation time. And it’s main cost is the running cost.
Third, different heating systems suitable for different projects. Suppose you are looking to renovate, and want to retrofit a system. In that case, the electric underfloor heating system will be more suitable as it does not significantly increase the floor height, such as HEATIT warm mat, it only 1/8″ thick. If you are installing a new-build, the water system is the preferred choice, and it will be the primary source of heat throughout the house. Warm water underfloor heating systems require a manifold on each floor, for large properties there may even be multiple manifolds on each floor. Most systems require installation within a thick layer of screed, leading to a greater system depth compared to electric heaters.
Choose which kind of underfloor heating system depend on your circumstances. If you have cheap electricity, with a solar or wind system, then electric underfloor heating may be competitive as an option. It certainly is cheap to install. If you are on the gas grid or able to go for a heat pump, then wet underfloor heating is a clear winner, especially for long term payback.