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Electric v Water Underfloor Heating

Understand the reasons why your home might be better suited to an electric 
or water underfloor heating system

When it comes to creating a comfortable and efficient heating system for your home, underfloor heating is the perfect choice. Among the various types available, water-based and electric underfloor heating systems stand out as two distinct options, each with its own set of advantages and considerations. It can be difficult to identify which system is best for your home, so we have curated this simple guide to help you decide.

1.     Installation and Complexity:

Water Underfloor Heating: Water-based systems involve the installation of pipes beneath the floor, through which warm water is circulated. This type of underfloor heating is typically more complex to install, often requiring professional assistance and careful integration with the existing heating system. Water underfloor heating systems often require drawings created from the buildings architectural drawings. With the pipes secured to the floor through several techniques dependent on the flooring and underfloor heating manufacturer.


Electric Underfloor Heating: Electric systems, on the other hand, consist of electric cables or mats installed beneath the floor surface. They are generally simpler and quicker to install, making them a more accessible option for DIY enthusiasts.


2.      When to Choose Water Underfloor Heating:

New Builds or Renovations: Water underfloor heating is often recommended for new builds or major renovations, where the installation process can be seamlessly integrated into the construction plans for the overall building.

Whole House Heating: For larger spaces or entire houses, water underfloor heating is a preferred choice due to its ability to distribute heat more evenly. The system can be connected to a central boiler, allowing for efficient heating throughout the entire property.

Integration with Existing Heating Systems: If you already have a hydronic heating system in place, extending it to include water underfloor heating makes sense. This integration can improve energy efficiency and reduce overall heating costs.

Lower Operating Costs in the Long Run: While the initial installation cost may be higher, water underfloor heating systems can offer lower operating costs over time, especially when paired with energy-efficient boilers.

3.     When to Choose Electric Underfloor Heating:

Room-by-Room Heating: Electric underfloor heating is ideal for specific rooms or areas, such as bathrooms, kitchens, or home extensions. Its simplicity makes it well-suited for targeted heating solutions.

Retrofitting: If you're looking to add underfloor heating to an existing space without undergoing major renovations, electric systems are a more practical choice. The installation process is less invasive, making it suitable for retrofitting. Electric underfloor heating often has a much lower profile than water underfloor heating, so does not increase height of the floor dramatically.


Installation Time: Electric underfloor heating can be installed rapidly. Small areas such as bathrooms could have underfloor heating installed in just a day.


Individual Temperature Control: Electric underfloor heating allows for more precise temperature control on a room-by-room basis. This is advantageous when different areas of the house have varying heating requirements.

Quick Warm-Up Time: Electric systems heat up quickly, providing almost instant warmth. This feature is beneficial for spaces where on-demand heating is desired.

4.     Considerations for Both Types:

Flooring Types: Both water and electric systems are compatible with a variety of flooring types, but it's essential to consider the specific requirements and limitations for each. For example, certain electric systems may be better suited for use under tile or stone floors, you can find out more about this in our Information Hub.

Energy Efficiency: Both systems can be energy-efficient, but the overall efficiency depends on factors such as insulation, the type of flooring, and the heating demands of the space. Proper insulation is crucial to maximize the efficiency of either system. For large rooms, water underfloor heating will generally yield higher efficiency.

Cost Considerations: While electric underfloor heating systems may have lower upfront costs, water systems can offer long-term savings in terms of operational expenses. Consider your budget and long-term heating needs when making a decision.

The choice between water and electric underfloor heating ultimately depends on your specific requirements, budget, and the nature of the project. Water systems are well-suited for larger spaces and new builds, offering efficient whole-house heating. Electric systems, on the other hand, are more versatile and cost-effective for targeted heating solutions and retrofitting. Before making a decision, feel free to contact us at and we can discuss your options further.

If you have decided what type of system you need, we stock a wide range of electric and water underfloor heating that can be found here.

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Above is an example of an installation plan completed by our experts here at Reid Heating Supplies. To obtain your very own solution, along with all the supplies for installation, hit the button below.

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