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How do you make underfloor heating more efficient?

How do you make underfloor heating more efficient?

You’ve made the decision to install and use electric underfloor heating, you’re ready to make the purchase, but have you covered all bases, especially how to make your new system as efficient as possible? We’ve provided the answers on “How do you make underfloor heating more efficient?”

Efficiency is something which tends to be forgotten, don’t worry you’re not the only one. There’s nothing worse than buying something new and then finding out it’s costing you more than you originally thought and/or it is not providing the results you expected. We’ve all found a bargain piece of furniture on eBay and purchased quickly without double checking the size, only to find out it arrives in a small box, ready for a dolls house. Whoops! Not the outcome anyone wants unless that was your intended purchase all along.

We’ve compiled some key considerations to help you make your underfloor heating system efficient, allowing you to rest easily and comfortably in the warmth with the knowledge that it won’t be costing you the earth. In this blog we discuss how you can make the most of your new underfloor heating system, from the importance of insulation to controlling your heating once everything is installed and working.

So, read these steps to making your underfloor heating more efficient.

Technology’s impact on efficiency

Let’s start at the very beginning. Records of underfloor heating date back to the Roman period…not that far back! Joking aside not a huge amount has changed in underfloor heating, apart from you can get wet systems and electric systems. You can discover more about which system is right for you in our other blog ‘wet vs electric’ – https://www.thermosphere.com/electric-underfloor-heating-vs-wet-underfloor-heating/

It’s not just the system which has changed but floor build ups have become thinner and thinner over the ages as technology continues to develop. The key part is they have become more efficient, 100% efficient in fact with minimal energy waste. Every penny spent is converted into heat and is probably one of the key reasons you’re choosing underfloor heating in the first place. If you’re changing from radiators, underfloor heating uses 15-40% less energy than traditional radiators, you’re already one step towards heating efficiency.

Factors that impact efficiency

Electric underfloor heating is 100% efficient at point of use. However, to maximise efficiency there are several things that need to be considered.

  • Substrate – Is your substrate timber or concrete, is your property attached or detached? We ask these questions as timber substrates allow for more heat loss than a concrete substrate. Also, decreased efficiency will occur at the edge of floors, so if your property is detached your efficiency will decrease more than if you’re in a terrace house.
  • Output – There are a variety of output options (measured in W/m2), the higher the output the faster your room will reach the desired temperature. Ideally, you want to be using higher outputs in spaces that lose heat faster and aren’t used that often. An example would be a conservatory. Installing a low output will result in the underfloor heating system being on longer to reach the desired temperature which will cost more money to run.
  • Insulation – Floor insulation is a major factor, which we’ll go into more detail, but other insulation considerations are wall and ceiling insulation. Certain rooms will have features which cause heat to be lost. For example, a conservatory compared to a sitting room will generally have a much higher heat loss caused by the high amount of glass windows. Curtains and double glazing are great for keeping the warmth in and reducing heat loss, but it will still occur more than a fully walled room.
  • Floor finish – Particular floor finishes are more heat conductive than others. A stone floor will generally take longer to heat up than engineered wood but will maintain the heat for longer. Also, the thickness of your floor finish will impact heat up time.

Designing a system and making it efficient requires these considerations to ensure you’re not disappointed with your new underfloor heating system. We’ve made an estimated cost calculation tool to give you instant results and a benchmark to help you with the daily running cost for different room types and underfloor heating systems.


Are insulation boards necessary?

Insulation is key to any underfloor heating system. Having the right insulation and floor build up at the very beginning can increase efficiency from 50% instantly. This works by ensuring all the heat your underfloor heating is producing is heating the floor rather than 50% being lost to the substrate below. But what types of insulation boards are available?

Uncoated insulation boards

A cost-effective thermal insulation for concrete and screed substrates. Improves insulation and reduces heat loss into the substrate. Made from high-density extruded polystyrene and can be installed using a flexible cement-based tile adhesive.

Coated insulation boards

Thermal insulation for timber substrates, perfect for bathrooms and wet rooms especially with wet proof properties. Made from a high-density extruded polystyrene core with a fibreglass reinforced cement coating on both sides adding rigidity, strength and thermal insulation to your substrate.

Increasing efficiency makes insulation boards a must! Discover more details about insulation boards with our post ‘Why removing insulation board is costing homeowners’ discussing them in more detail and where to install them.

Controlling your underfloor heating

After insulation the next major efficiency boost is maximising control of your underfloor heating with a thermostat. The correct heating schedule can provide optimum efficiency, while maintaining perfect levels of comfort. Setting up heating zones with thermostats in each room provides complete control, meaning the heating is only on in certain rooms when required, rather than the whole house being heated at once.

There are a wide variety of thermostats available depending on how you like to control your heating. The main consideration to remember is setting a heating schedule which fits your lifestyle while saving you time and money.

Here’s a quick rundown of the type of thermostats you can expect, but if you’d like to delve deeper into all the possible capabilities, have a read of our thermostat blog.

Manual thermostat

Keeping things simple. Control the heating in a room that isn’t used frequently, manual controls when you want your heating on. Especially efficient if you forget to turn it on and very inefficient if you forget to turn it off!

Examples would be MSTAT by Warmup, ProWarm™ Pro Digital by ProWarm™, TPS31 by Heat Mat and Manual thermostat by ThermoSphere.

Programmable thermostat

On the path to energy efficiency and reducing those all-important heating bills. Setting heating programmes and extra energy saving features, but without the bells and whistles, this is for you.

Examples would be Tempo and 3iE by Warmup, NGTouch by Heat Mat and Programmable thermostat by ThermoSphere.

Bluetooth thermostat

The fastest and easiest thermostat to set a heating schedule, we even managed a whole week schedule in under a minute! The BT21 thermostat, control with the app with Bluetooth connectivity. No internet. No hubs. No worries, just simple fast and effective.

Smart thermostat

Control your heating from anywhere setting up heating schedules on the go to fit your lifestyle with the app. When you’re at home just use your voice for with Voice command device integration, all while monitoring your energy consumption.

Examples would be 4iE Smart WiFi thermostat or 6iE Smart WiFi thermostat by Warmup, ProWarm™ ProTouch Wifi or ProWarm™ ProTouch™ IQ by ProWarm™ or SmartHome thermostat by ThermoSphere.

Dual Control thermostat

All the power of the programmable thermostat, but with the ability to control two items at once, total control made easy. The unique dual control thermostat, the perfect combination for towel rails and underfloor heating in the bathroom.


Make sure you’ve considered all these points and you won’t be disappointed with your new underfloor heating system keeping you warm this year. Efficiency is key to providing you with the comfort you deserve, but without hitting your wallet.

For further information our electric underfloor heating guide provides the platform for discovering more about the products we have available and how they can help keep your new underfloor heating system efficient, keep costs to a minimum and saving you money in the long term.

If you’d like to discuss and go through the best heating system for you, our team are on hand to help. Contact us or call us on 08000 195899.

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