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Electric underfloor heating running costs

Electric Underfloor Heating Running Costs

Underfloor heating is a must requirement within both modern and older homes, and with more and more people turning to heated floors a common consideration is electric underfloor heating running costs. So, what exactly are the costs associated with this form of heating? And how do these values differ from other heating and insulation systems within the home? Let’s take a look.

Common Heating Systems

In this day and age, there are a whole host of heating systems available to home owners. These include central heating systems in the form of radiators and internal pipes, portable heating units that rely on gas or electricity, and even insulating materials to help to contain heat for longer.

Although the latter may not be a source of heating specifically, it is a much needed resource for home owners hoping to minimise energy wastage. Without proper insulation, even the smallest home will suffer from heat loss much quicker than a well-insulated home, and this in itself can affect the running costs.

The Costs of Heating Systems

Although many of these heating systems are similar in their services and features – the differences in costs will vary between energy suppliers, usage times and the energy source being used. Running radiators all winter long can be incredibly expensive, as can activating a portable heater via gas or electricity.

A healthy medium would be a fireplace – as the only cost associated would relate to the value of the material being burned, but in cases where the fireplace relies on gas or electricity to function – you’ll still find a hefty price tag when it comes to your monthly energy bill. Unlike these resources, electric underfloor heating running costs can be much lower for a variety of reasons.

Running costs are determined by many different factors and this should never be a negative factor.

Electricity fuel costs are more competitive than they have been for years when compared with gas, and gas is the most common fuel to heat hot water systems.

Gas boilers have a limited lifespan and waste energy by way of exhaustive gases whereas electricity is almost 100% efficient at the point of use.

The Costs Associated with Electric Underfloor Heating

Although electric underfloor heating will still rely on electricity as its sole source of power, the main difference comes from the way in which the heating system operates. Unlike radiators that require elements to be heated over time or water to be heated within them, electric underfloor heating will distribute energy in much the same way as a low powered appliance. This process is radiant heating, a very efficient and proven effective method of heating, and one that was used by the Romans back in those early years. It is more efficient than radiators and other forms of heat that operate on the principles of convection, and also electrical underfloor heating requires no maintenance

As the electricity makes its way to the heating elements contained within the mat, these elements will heat almost instantly, immediately resulting in a source of heat from below. This eliminates the need to wait (as in the case of water radiators or water systems), and it invalidates the requirement to leave the energy running to sustain a consistent heat (as is the case with portable heaters or water underfloor heating).

Instead, electric underfloor heating can simply be activated, allowed to remain active for a short while in order to heat the elements, before being turned off entirely.

When combined with reliable insulation, it is possible to keep a room warm and comfortable for hours on end – and this in itself makes underfloor heating a viable replacement for other forms of heating. The cost of running electric underfloor heating will not only depend on the insulation properties of your installation but also on the frequency the system is used, but this can be under your control by using the programmable controls available. These controls enable the user to set up to six different comfort levels for each 24 hour period. If you cut out other heating systems however, you should actually see a reduction in the cost of your bill each month – and this is why so many people are considering electric underfloor heating within their homes.

Electric or Hydronic (water) system?

Underfloor heating is provided in one of two ways; water pipes or electric elements. Electric systems have electricity as their sole utility, are quite simple in construction and have a lower “up-front” cost than water heating systems.

Electric underfloor heating is maintenance free. Water underfloor heating systems (hydronic) involve pumps, solenoid valves, sophisticated controls, tubes, heat exchangers or boilers, and all of these require regular monitoring. Nothing to leak on furniture or antiques, lubricate or worry about, and no expensive technicians to hire when you install electric underfloor heating.

Water underfloor heating requires you to plan the heating into a new build project, or excavate the existing floor so as to accommodate the water pipes. The reason; water underfloor heating pipes must be embedded under a sand and cement screed at a minimum depth of 65mm. Water systems are normally used to heat much larger rooms or interconnecting rooms, whereas electric underfloor heating is ideal for renovation projects where the floor is already existing and floor space can be heated in specific zones with the minimum of disruption. This allows for greater temperature control throughout each zone and is suited to bathroom, kitchen, conservatory, hallway, orangery, garden rooms, dining and living rooms.

Radiant Heating Defined

Radiant heat is similar to the energy of the sun. We all know the warmth of basking in the glow of direct sunlight on a cool day. Thermostatically controlled radiant heating works the same way. Underfloor heating is installed below the floor surface and top floor, but the actual heating process, is by radiant heating.

Radiant energy will heat the surfaces of all objects which are in direct line of sight from the floor; that means all walls, ceilings, chairs, tables, people and pets that can be seen by the radiant energy. Air coming in contact with these surfaces is gently heated.

A wall radiator may have a surface temperature of 60 - 80ºC while a floor at 27ºC will do the same job.

Frequency of Use

As with all electronic devices and facilities – the costs associated will relate to the amount of time that you use your underfloor heating. It’s logical to assume that leaving it running all day long would still be cheaper than running a radiator for the same amount of time, but this may still be expensive - not to mention unnecessary.

Benefits of Floor Insulation

The most economical systems from a running cost point of view will be those installed in well insulated rooms, with floor insulation directly under the heating. Increasing your comfort and, at the same time saving money on your utility bill, is a winning combination.

Control Heating Cost by Zoning

Because electrical systems can easily be zoned by thermostatic control, each room can be controlled independently, so you only use just enough energy to maintain your desired temperature. The desired temperature could be higher in some rooms than others.

The thermostats are also timers running 24/7 and will only energise the system when programmed to operate that way.

To avoid confusion and to simplify it for the property owner we have calculated the average running cost for a square metre of primary source heating.

Estimated Average Running Cost is approx. £15 per m² of heating per year. This average has been costed across all rooms in a family property, including en-suite, kitchen, bathroom, lounge and conservatory. This is based on operating the heating for an average running time per room during each day of the year, which will vary from room to room. A normal family will most likely operate the lounge heating for longer hours than a bathroom or en-suite and so on. With a FLOORHEATPRO heating system it is in your control to set the system to operate when you want at what temperature you want.

Above estimate is based on 2017 electricity costs @ 12.20p/kWh.

The estimate assumes a target room temperature of 21degC during the winter months of the year and a minimum thickness of 6mm insulation installed directly under the heating.

This makes your own estimate of annual running costs easy, and based on our experience this is a good average estimate. Any additional savings on this estimate can be achieved by managing daily running hours and the actual number of days the system is set to run during the year.

Estimating underfloor heating running costs is by nature a very subjective matter. It can be assumed heating will be used for longer hours in winter than summer, and how often you set the system to operate, at what temperature, and zoning the heating room by room will all influence the running costs. Setting the programmable controller to operate when you want and at the temperature you want is in your control with a FLOORHEATPRO underfloor heating system. A property owner will adjust his system to suit the desired comfort level.

EXAMPLE RUNNING COSTS

Room Type

Heated Floor area (m²)

Heating Hours AM

Heating Hours PM

Monthly Cost

LOUNGE

12

2

3

£16.95

BATHROOM

4

2

2

£4.50

CONSERVATORY

10

0

4

£11.30

KITCHEN

10

2

3

£14.20

EN-SUITE

2

2

2

£2.30


Cost Saving Factors of FLOORHEATPRO underfloor heating

FLOORHEATPRO heaters are designed so that during the heat up period, as the floor reaches its set temperature, the heater is running at full power. After this period, the heater only needs to run at half power to maintain the set temperature. So, the faster the floor heats up, the lower the running cost.

By properly insulating your floor with FLOORHEATPRO insulation boards, you can reduce the heat up period significantly and help to reduce the underfloor heating cost by as much as 50%.

What exactly is radiant energy?

Hold your hand over a hot cup of coffee and feel the heat. The logical conclusion is that heat rises. Logical maybe, but incorrect ! Hot air rises but heat can travel in any direction. That is why you can feel the heat of the cup when you place your hand to the side of it. Radiant energy transfer is caused by a warm surface giving up its heat to a cooler surface.

Whenever there is a temperature difference between two surfaces, both surfaces will attempt to equalise. Radiant energy travels through space without heating the space itself. It only turns into heat when it contacts a cooler surface. By controlling both the air temperature and radiant transfer, your FLOORHEATPRO underfloor heating system will deliver a comfort that is unsurpassed at affordable cost.

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