Pros and cons of underfloor heating

If you’re looking to heat your home more efficiently, then you may be considering getting underfloor heating installed.

Energy bills have been a big concern for all of us over the last couple of years. Energy prices have started to fall, with the energy price cap dropping, but energy bills remain incredibly high.

As a result, finding ways to save money on your energy, beyond finding a new tariff through an energy comparison, is a good idea.

While some may look to energy efficient alternatives to boilers such as heat pumps, others may be interested in the potential benefits from replacing your radiators with underfloor heating. Or you may just want to know how much installing underfloor heating would cost. We’ve full info below.

What is underfloor heating?

There are two main forms of underfloor heating: electric and water. 

Electric underfloor heating is also referred to as dry underfloor heating, and involves the installation of a series of electric heating mats, sheets and wires beneath your flooring. You can then control the temperatures coming from these wires and mats through your thermostat.

Water underfloor heating involves introducing a network of pipes below your flooring, through which heated water runs. With water underfloor heating, there is a direct connection to your central heating system, with the water heated by your boiler or heat pump and then sent through the pipes.

How much does underfloor heating cost?

The cost of installing underfloor heating will vary depending on which option you go for.

Electric underfloor heating is generally cheaper to install in terms of upfront costs, since the installation itself is more straightforward. The fact that ready-made mats can be put in place makes that installation easier, though if you have rooms that are smaller or which are an unusual shape then the wiring may need to be introduced more manually.

The size of the area being covered by the new heating system will also impact the cost, as will the age of the property. If you’re having underfloor heating installed in a new build, it’s likely to cost less than in an older property.

According to Checkatrade, these are the sorts of ballpark figures you can expect to pay for the installation of the different types of underfloor heating:

Electric underfloor heating

New build install ‒ £50-£75 per

Renovation property ‒ £60-£85 per m²

Water underfloor heating

New build install ‒ £120-£135 per

Renovation property ‒ £135-£185 per m²

Can I install underfloor heating myself?

Installing underfloor heating yourself is not a great idea unless you know what you’re doing.

Given those installation costs, it can be tempting to convince yourself that money can be saved by embracing a bit of DIY and handling the project without using a professional. 

There are some potentially significant downsides, though. If you’re going for a water underfloor heating system, then getting it wrong could mean that you flood your home, leading to far more extensive costs.

Similarly, you will need to get a professional to ensure that an electric system has been wired properly, while if the mats have not been arranged correctly then you may find that your home does not heat up as expected.

So while in theory you can install underfloor heating yourself, it could end up costing you far more in the long run than getting it done properly in the first place.


Will underfloor heating increase my energy bills?

Underfloor heating tends to cost more to run than traditional radiators, but is more efficient, so can offer a saving overall. 

Let’s take the example of a 100 watt underfloor heat mat system. The experts at TheUnderfloorHeatingStore reckon this will use around 75 watts per m², so if a room is 12m² you’re looking at around 900 watts per hour.

From 1 October the energy price cap will set the unit cost for electricity at an average of 27p per kilowatt hour. So if you have the heating on for three hours a day, that works out at around 73p per day for that room.

If you’re using a single 800 watt radiator instead, then you’re looking at about 65p per day for that room, based on the same amount of time that the heating is on.

However, it’s worth pointing out that underfloor heating systems are generally considered to be more efficient. This means that they are able to heat your rooms without having to work so hard, so you don’t need to have them on for as long, or don’t need to turn it up so high.

If your property is well insulated then the rooms will be able to retain this heat for longer too, so while the actual cost of the system itself is higher, you may find that your energy bills are lower as you don’t need to have the heating on for such prolonged periods in order to stay warm.

Is underfloor heating better than radiators?

Underfloor heating has some important advantages over radiators.

For starters, underfloor heating does a better job at heating the entire room, rather than just the areas closest to the radiators. This is particularly noticeable in larger rooms, where central areas may struggle to feel any benefit even if the radiators have been on for a long time.

Radiators also have to work harder to heat rooms, typically having to get to higher temperatures compared with underfloor heating. 

There is also the question of space. With underfloor heating you can get rid of the radiators, freeing up extra space in the rooms in your property.

That doesn’t mean underfloor heating is definitely the right option though.The installation costs can prove a barrier to having these systems installed, while there is also the potential for higher bills if you run the underfloor heating systems for the same sorts of time periods as a radiator system.

Will underfloor heating increase the value of my home?

Homebuyers are increasingly keen on energy efficient properties.

The last few years have seen energy bills rise significantly, putting household finances under greater pressure. As a result, having a home with an energy efficient heating system ‒ and the potential for lower energy bills ‒ is a big selling point.

A recent study by Mortgage Advice Bureau found that three quarters of those looking to buy a house in the next two years would view properties with an A or B rating on their energy performance certificate as more desirable.

Given this increased focus on energy efficiency, it’s possible that having an underfloor heating system will boost interest in the property when you come to sell it, and with it the asking price. However, there is no guarantee so this should not be a driving factor when determining whether to have an underfloor heating system installed in your home.

The pros and cons of underfloor heating

The advantages of underfloor heating:

  • More efficient, meaning you don’t need to have the heating on for as long
  • Does a better job at heating entire rooms rather than just the areas around radiators
  • Frees up space in rooms, since no need for radiators
  • Could potentially add value to your property

The downsides of underfloor heating:

  • Higher installation costs than radiators
  • Running costs are higher than traditional heating systems
  • Can be difficult to install in older properties
  • Underfloor heating systems can take longer to heat up than radiators

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