Electric vs Hydronic Underfloor Heating – Which is Better?

During the winter season, traditional air heating may prove to be insufficient. To keep warm and cosy during winter, you can opt for an underfloor heating installation. Throughout Australia, the use of the underfloor heating system has significantly increased. To help you make the decision on whether to get hydronic or electric underfloor heating, or, in fact, whether to get underfloor heating at all, get acquainted with the two types of underfloor heating systems. There are two main systems – Hydronic Underfloor Heating, which runs through pipes as part of your regular heating system, or Electric Underfloor Heating.

When choosing between these two systems, there is a real possibility that you may face a dilemma. To help you choose the proper underfloor heating system for your home we will try to discuss the pros and cons of both types of heating systems. Here’s what you need to know about them:

Electric underfloor heating system

Before we go into details about this heating system, we will try to give you an outline on what Electric underfloor heating system really is. In an electric underfloor heating system, a series of electric wires or electric heating sheets are installed beneath or within your flooring which get heated by electricity and straight away warm the floor and then gradually warms the whole room.

Hydronic Underfloor heating system

A residential hydronic heating system is another kind of heating system that uses heated pipes through which warm water passes. A series of pipes connected to your boiler circulate warm water throughout the floor to heat the space. Alternatively, you can connect the water underfloor pipes to a solar water heating system, air source or ground source heat pump.

When to choose an electrical heating system

You can go for an electric underfloor heating system if

  • You already have a heating system and you just want to supplement it.
  • The area you want to heat is quite small, for example your bathroom.
  • You want a heating system for your home when you already have an existing floor structure.
  • You prefer hassle-free and simple installation that is easy to retrofit.
  • You hate cold and damp floors as they make you uncomfortable in winter.

When to choose a hydronic heating system

A hydronic heating system can be a suitable choice for you if

  • You want to keep your home at a consistent, comfortable temperature all year round.
  • You are constructing a new house as it is perfect for new-builds and extensions or during major renovation work.
  • You need a flexible heating system without the visible heating ducts.
  • You want to have big energy savings.

Comparison of the heating capacity of both electrical and hydronic heating systems

Though both these underfloor heating systems serve the same purpose that is to warm the floor and eventually the whole room, there is a difference in the heating capacity between the two. If you want rapid heating, an electric heating system would be suitable for you. This makes electrical heating more economical compared to the hydronic system because you can control to turn the heat on and off at different times of the day. On demand heating can be zoned for specific rooms in the house. On the other hand, residential hydronic heating systems take time to heat up the whole house. But once you have reached the desired temperature, it only requires minimal energy to maintain the heat.

Installation costs of both electrical and hydronic heating systems

Installation cost is another important deciding factor between the two heating systems.

Generally, installing an electric heating system is a lot simpler compared to the having the hydronic system. There is no need for valves, pipelines or boilers thereby significantly reducing the installation cost. However, in the long run it may prove to be a little more expensive because of higher electricity costs. Hydronic heating systems generate average temperatures between 23°C and 32°C. This is lower than standard radiators, so your hydronic underfloor heating cost should be reduced over time. Hydronic underfloor heating have lower running costs than the electric system.

So, from the above discussions, we can see both systems have its pros and cons, you should decide according to your needs.

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