While homes across Europe have used hydronic heating approaches for hundreds of years, Australia is relatively new to the party. We are now embracing heated floors and fast discovering the wide range of benefits of hydronic floor heating.
Hydronic underfloor heating gently warms objects by natural convection and radiation through an underfloor piping system rather than air. Water warms as it runs through the pipes and heats the flooring above it, creating an even distribution of temperature without drying the air.
Clean, quiet and stylish, heated floors are the most economical and energy efficient means of heating. They offer design freedom (no cumbersome appliances taking up space), are low maintenance, safe and reliable. Still not sure? There are also huge health perks. Close to 3 million Australian’s live with asthma (source); the fact that heated floors don’t use fans, vents or ducts means no dust mites and allergens are being blown about your home causing havoc to your respiratory system.
What’s not to love?
You may already know that underfloor heating is for you. Before you dive in, let’s look at a few important considerations to keep in mind.
How much will it cost to install and run?
Hydronic floor heating installation and running costs will depend on your home. If it is a new build or extension, the system can be installed into the slab before construction. If it’s a renovation, the cost will largely hinge on how easy the process will be to lift your existing floor to install.
Price wise, an underfloor heating system installed into the slab of a new build or extension will leave you with more in your pocket than the more expensive ‘in screed’ option; however ‘in screed’ is more efficient and faster reacting. There are also solutions for existing homes where the pipework can be laid on top of the slab or between the joists of a suspended floor.
There is a higher initial investment required to install hydronic heated floors. Yet, it is estimated to be up to 35% more cost effective than running a central ducted heating system. It will also significantly reduce your carbon footprint. These longer-term savings, plus the benefits for the health and safety of your household make it well worth the commitment.
To further reduce your costs, consider upgrading your boiler to a more energy efficient model and ensure your home is well insulated. These upgrades make the most of the warmth your underfloor heating is generating.
Another beauty of heated floors is that they can be installed in one zone of your home, or the entire floorspace. The flexibility of underfloor heating options can be customised to your needs and budget.
Will it work with my kind of floors?
There are a range of methods that can be used to install hydronic heated floors. If you’re looking at having under tile heating in your bathroom, or planning heated floors for your new build, the construction of your floor will dictate which approaches you can consider. Hydronic heated floor installation methods include:
Rest assured, there is at least one method to suit every existing floor type.
What kind of coverings can I use on heated floors?
You want to make sure that the warmth created by your underfloor heating system transfers to the surface effectively. This is why the kind of floor covering you select is so important. As a general rule, ceramic or stone tiles are great heat conductors and an ideal choice. Polished concrete is another effective option as the hydronic heating pipes are laid within the slab. There is nothing between the underfloor heating system and your floor – toasty toes, fast.
If wooden flooring is more your style, engineered floorboards and wooden laminate are the most suitable options. These materials are thin enough for the heat to effectively penetrate. The most cost-effective option is laminate flooring. It can withstand temperature changes and comes in a wide variety of styles. Hoping for carpeted floors? This is still a possibility, as long as the underlay doesn’t block the heat.
Whichever floor covering you are considering, it is best to contact your underfloor heating supplier to discuss the most effective options before purchasing your tiles, boards or carpet.
Ready to benefit the health and wellbeing of your household, while lowering your environmental impact and heating costs?