The differences between wet and electric underfloor heating
The popularity of underfloor heating continues to rise in the UK due to its energy efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and space-saving design. Underfloor heating systems come in two types: wet and dry. While both types provide radiant heating that warms a room from the ground up, they work in different ways.
Wet underfloor heating involves installing a network of flexible pipes beneath the floor, which circulates hot water from a boiler or renewable source to warm the room. In contrast, dry underfloor heating consists of electric heating elements in heating mats or cables that are installed beneath or within the flooring. When electricity is turned on, the heating elements warm up to heat the room.
Both types of underfloor heating provide an evenly distributed and comfortable warmth that is more efficient than traditional radiators. Additionally, they allow for greater freedom in interior design by eliminating the need for bulky radiators.
However, there are differences between wet and dry underfloor heating. Wet systems are typically more complex to install and require more time, material, and labour costs. Electric underfloor heating is easier to install, making it more affordable in terms of labour costs. While wet underfloor heating may have lower running costs than electric systems historically, as we move towards a Net Zero future, electricity is becoming the more favourable power source. Thus, electric underfloor heating may eventually become the more affordable system to run, especially when connected to renewable sources like household solar panels.
Wet underfloor heating is better suited for new-build installations as it requires changes to be made to the floor, such as applying a thick layer of screed. Electric systems are suited to both new-build and retrofitting projects. Wet underfloor heating systems are suitable for any room size but are particularly effective in larger spaces, especially on the ground floor. Electric underfloor heating can be used in any room size but different products are more appropriate for different projects, such as electric heating mats for large and regular-shaped rooms and electric loose-lay cables for smaller, irregular-shaped, and awkward spaces.