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Underfloor heating in kitchen and bathroom?

Hey all,

I'm ready to tear my hair out over figuring out what's best for heating our kitchen and bathroom. I need to hear the voices of experience, please Smile

Our house is a 2 bed Victorian with the bathroom in the 3rd bedroom on the 1st floor. In a few weeks we'll be having a Vaillant condensing boiler installed and new radiators replacing the older oversized ones. The issue is with the kitchen and bathroom, both of which havenít been touched in 20 years and will be done up in the next couple months.

Kitchen - is 7.5 meters long including the utility room which we plan to use as a dining area. One radiator wonít be enough. The existing walls between kitchen and utility room will be opened up by our builder. We need to create as much storage as possible in the kitchen area and would prefer underfloor heating. We have ruled out a blower-type wall-mounted heater as suggested by our heating engineer and vertical radiators as I think theyĎll be an eyesore in our new kitchen (I'm not really that shallow, honest!) The floor is suspended timber and the ceiling height is good there, but not in the utility room, therefore a wet underfloor system might not be the best way to go. Plus, we like the idea that we won't be bumping into radiators and can put in a gorgeous antique dresser at some point. The heating guy said a wet system would be at least a £1000 for the kitchen. This sounds a little steep -- thoughts? Would Electric UF be an option? We are supplied by Ecotricity - though I know that doesn't mean we're guaranteed to be supplied by wind-generated power. We would like solar panels in a year or two once the main parts of the house are done. The flooring in the kitchen is likely to be timber (re-using what's there?) and/or ceramic tiles.

Bathroom - has an old-style heated towel rail which is the only heat source currently (ie not great) so we'd like to top up the heat with some UF - again electric might our best option since we only really need it in the morning.

I know that insulation (both in the floor and in the roof) are key so we plan to make sure theyíre both as good as can be.

Iíd like to get an idea of costs -- this information isnít very forthcoming on the web, and so far contact Iíve made with UF heating companies (via email) have led to nothing. Donít they want my business? Why canít they reply to email?!

Iíve also asked our electrician what he thinks and am waiting a reply. Of course, our heating engineer is going to suggest a wet system over electric - as itís more dosh for him, therefore, Iím not listening to his opinion just yet! Laughing [/i]
wellington womble

Underfloor heating works very badly in old houses. You can't get the insulation up to spec to keep the lower level of heat in. There are Problems with running underfloor heating off solar (although I can't remember what they are - I tend to switch off at this point!)

Nuheat are currently trialling running solar and a woodbuner running underfloor heating with a gas back-up, but its not up and running yet (When I move in, I'll let you know if works!) I'm not sure if they've done any solar installations, but plenty of unofficial ones have gone in, I'm sure. I'll ask the himself about electric underfloor stuff, but he's a plumber, so likely to be in favour of the wet stuff.

Thirty years back, my dad put underfloor heating in our bathroom by running the hot water pipes underneath.

He had to raise the floor by 6 inches and we had to remember to mind the step in the dark, but at least he tried.

It is possible to have UF heating under a suspended timber floor, but it's fiddly and not very efficient.
The problem is, your floor needs a good circulation of air underneath it if it's a typical suspended timber floor over earth, whereas UF heating requires mass and insulation. It's excellent with a limecrete or concrete slab floor, turning the whole floor into a storage heater. Unfortunately with a timber floor an awful lot of the heat goes to waste.
You may be able to fit a then electric system if you are going to lay tiles over the top, but that would mean quite a height rise in the floor to cater for the blinding, the screed and the tiles - you may find yourself with a step up to your kitchen and the need to take an inch or so off the bottom of your doors!
Wet UF heater would be a better bet in the upstairs bathroom. Don't worry about the time of day thing, as must UF units have a separate timer.
As for prices, a wet system will cost you around £500 for the bits and as much again to install, while an electrical system would cost around £300 for the bits and about £200 to install. Ish.

Gervase wrote:
You may be able to fit a then electric system if you are going to lay tiles over the top, but that would mean quite a height rise in the floor to cater for the blinding, the screed and the tiles - you may find yourself with a step up to your kitchen and the need to take an inch or so off the bottom of your doors!

Ah fortunately we currently step down into the kitchen. So the height difference is only an issue in the utility area which is an extension with lower ceiling. The roof over that is covered with a flat roof, nearing the end of it's life. One option would be to re-do the roof over the utility with a slope, thus creating more head height. And the only door in the kitchen area will be the door going out the back garden and we're replacing that anyway.

Thanks for the input everyone..... keep it coming Smile

Our electrician recommends we keep a radiator in the utility area and then do electric UF in the kitchen area. I'm thinking he's right.

Such big grown up decisions to be made!! Confused

I'm planning to put in underfloor heating in the new bathroom. My plumber tells me that as UF and radiators operate at different temperatures, it isn't the best idea to try to blend them together. So it's back to the electricity. I have to dig up and re-lay the screed anyway, done badly before I learned how to do it properly. Mrs W has decided to have ceramic tiles, and these will be colder than the cork tiles I wanted. (She didn't listen!) Screwfix supply ready to lay heating mat, and the insulation to put under it.
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