Electric underfloor heating, is it worth it for first time buyers?
There’s nothing quite like moving into your 1st property. The excitement, stress, documents and those incoming bills (Ugh!) Hmmm, maybe it’s not as good as everyone tells you, at least at the start.
At the age of 16 there was nothing I was looking forward to more, than moving out of the family home at what I hoped would be 18. Well…that didn’t go to plan and at the ripe age of 29 (Very nearly 30!) I’ve finally saved enough to make those steps with my partner, which I dreamed of making 13 years ago!
One of my steps on this journey was joining ThermoSphere in March 2021 during Covid. Coming from a digital content background, I must admit my knowledge of electric underfloor heating was rather, shall we say lacking and if I’m honest it was never much of a consideration until working here.
Don’t worry, this is not a career blog! Although what I have learnt over the last 13 months has made me see electric heating differently and hopefully these tips and considerations will help you, especially as a first-time buyer.
Looking out for underfloor heating
Looking at properties for the first time is a very exciting experience. The likelihood you’ll love the first property you view is very high, but make sure you look at all the options and possibilities that could work for you and fit your requirements or wish list.
Electric underfloor heating might not be high or even feature on your wish list at all, but it’s something to consider, especially at the viewing stage. Here’s how to look out for underfloor heating.
Whether you’re looking for your first apartment or house, you may or may not find underfloor heating installed. From my experience we found it in 3 of the 30 or so properties we viewed. If I hadn’t been working with ThermoSphere, I probably wouldn’t have noticed 2 of these 3.
The estate agent should let you know, but these are the quick tell-tale signs:
- Warm feet – Obvious I know, nothing else explains the comfort of warm feet on tiled floors though.
- No radiators – Furniture on every wall and no radiators in sight, maybe even no chimney breast. Result! Extra space and design freedom here we come.
- Thermostat – Independent thermostat in the sitting room, bathroom or kitchen? It’s likely this room has underfloor heating or at the very least zonal control.
Why should you be keeping your eyes peeled?
Firstly, underfloor heating adds value to a property (Ranked 4th at £12,290 value increase in Rated People’s top 15 eco home improvements), this could mean you could pay a bit more in the first place, but it will also add value when you later sell. Secondly, you’ll have the comfort and design freedom underfloor heating brings, ready for you to use and enjoy. Finally, it saves you on any installation cost and time.
Looking at new builds or high-rise apartments?
This is where you’re most likely to find underfloor heating. Predictions are at 4 – 6% growth over the next four years (Heating and Ventilating.net) for underfloor heating installations in this category.
Why is this?
There are several factors: –
- Revised Part L of the Building Regulations will help towards hitting government targets and SAP 10 calculations – From 2022 onwards these changes make more emphasis on renewable energy sources being used.
- Design and installation ease – No living disruptions, everything can be created from the substrate up. This provides greater flexibility when designing new builds
- 100% efficient at point of use – Every penny spent on electric heating is converted directly into heat. Compare this to traditional gas heating system which tends to operate around 90% efficiency (Statistic co.uk).
So, if underfloor heating is on your wish list, these are ways to find it without having it installed yourself.
Installing underfloor heating
You’ve found the right place, it’s perfect, but it doesn’t have underfloor heating. Is it worth you installing it?
If you’ve put aside the funds to make installation feasible instantly, then great! However, you’ve probably just spent thousands of pounds so you can get your property and electric underfloor heating doesn’t feature very high on the wish list. Just based on this fact is it worth installing, you’ve guessed it, no. It might not be right this second, but it definitely will be moving forward. Retrofitting electric underfloor heating is easily achieved and more so than wet underfloor heating as you don’t require additional pipework, it doesn’t use as much floor height and is generally cheaper to install. This means you can add comfort to your home and add value to your property, all while updating and renovating rooms like your bathroom.
Whichever situation you’re in, there are a few things to consider: –
First things first, underfloor heating type. There are many different options and steps, which are based on your property. Here’s a list of all the parts of underfloor heating you need to consider: –
- Electric or wet
- Floor substrate
- Floor finish
- Heat up times
- Heating control (thermostat).
Read more on floor build ups and the related costs.
There are a couple of other questions you may have on costs, to decide whether this is right for you. Here’s a brief outline of what you could expect.
What are the running costs?
With rising energy prices you’ll be worried that the increase is going to massively effect you. Sadly, in the UK energy prices are set to soar across all energy sources, particularly with gas. Currently 12-month inflation rates for gas and electricity are at their highest level since early 2009, with gas at 28.1% and electricity at 18.8% (Office for National Statistics)
This should always be considered when purchasing a property, but especially your first home and even more so in the current property market. Electricity prices are set to rise, but at a lower amount in comparison to gas. This makes electric underfloor heating more appealing. An average 3m2 insulated bathroom on for four hours a day could cost around 50p to heat per day or £3.53 a week. That’s less than one takeaway coffee each week. (Based on 150W/m2 Mesh & UK prices in April 2022)
Ensure you keep up to date with the latest announcement and figures to ensure you’re not hit with a bill you weren’t expecting. For a more in-depth guide to running costs, read is it expensive to run?
You can also get an idea of the running costs with our calculator.
Energy price index – Source: Ofgem, Office for National Statistics – Consumer price statistics
Straight off the bat, if the system has been installed correctly in the first place, you shouldn’t have any fears and there will be no need for maintenance. After, ‘Is it expensive to run?’ the next question we commonly get asked is ‘Can you repair electric underfloor heating and how much can it cost?’ and rightly so. If you’ve unfortunately inherited a badly installed system, pricing for a repair can vary depending on the severity of the problem. Usually, it can be repaired without too much expense and disruption.
As a quick overview here’s what you could expect, if you’d like to find out more read our detailed blog on whether you can repair electric underfloor heating.
- A rough estimate is £300-£500 for a company call out and repair, like UFH Services LTD
- We, like most popular electric underfloor heating systems offer a lifetime guarantee on our products. If the fault is from a manufacturing issue, the manufacturer will cover the cost of the repair but only a warranty has been registered.
In summary – Is electric underfloor heating worth it?
In short, yes. It will provide constant and comfortable heat throughout your home, at a reduced running cost compared to other energy sources (assuming the current energy price trend in 2022) and gives you design freedom with your available space. – Music to all you first time buyers’ ears!
You may be strapped for cash now with your recent property purchase, the great thing about electric underfloor heating is its relatively low cost to retrofit and you can add it into a property quickly and without huge amounts of disruption when you’re re-designing one room at a time. Ensure you’ve spec’d your room and you’ll be able to achieve regular comfort with ease. Feel free to contact the team and we can help you with designing the build-up and room spec.
Good luck finding your first property!