Underfloor heating can be embedded in a concrete slab when you build a new home or installed under the flooring of a new or existing home. The floor needs to be well insulated underneath and around the perimeter or you will lose a lot of your heat to the outside and into the ground beneath.

Underfloor heating can use electric cables or water-filled pipes. The pipes may use any form of water heating including electricity, gas, heat pump or solar. These are called hydronic systems.

Underfloor heating cannot heat a room quickly and is most effective when left on all the time over the cooler months. A lot of energy is used to initially bring the floor up to temperature, especially a concrete slab. But once the floor is heated, it acts as a low temperature radiator.

Good for:

  • If someone is home most of the time.
  • Houses with very good under-floor insulation.
  • The system can be combined with solar power or solar hot water heating.

Pros:

  • A range of fuel types possible (for example, electric, photovoltaic or thermal solar water, gas and diesel).
  • Controllable with thermostat and timer settings (some with room-by-room control).

Cons:

  • Often difficult to retrofit to existing homes without substantial renovation.
  • Although fairly maintenance free, repairs can be expensive if something does go wrong – you may have to rip up the floor.
  • Not very responsive – takes time for the heat to build up.
  • Can be expensive to run depending on the source of the heat.