Underfloor heating: advantages, disadvantages, cost of the work


If currently nearly 5 million houses are equipped with underfloor heating in France, it is because this fashionable device has certain advantages. In electric, hydraulic or reversible form, the new, more efficient installations make it possible to gain comfort thanks to gentle and harmoniously distributed heat. However, we must not forget that this device is expensive and sometimes restrictive. Let’s take stock of how it works, its advantages, disadvantages and cost.

What is the principle of operation of underfloor heating?

Underfloor heating, or underfloor heating, is an installation that consists of heating a home through the floor. As a result, it is not necessary to install radiators or other heating devices (stove, fireplace, etc.), because this system composed of pipes or cables implanted in the slab can heat the whole house. without any other contribution. In addition, you should know that the heated floor can be installed in only part of the house, especially in the context of an extension.

The different types of underfloor heating

There are several types of underfloor heating:

  • Electric underfloor heating : this device consists of laying electric heating cables on the slab of the house. This cable network is covered with insulating plates and a classic screed. Connected to the mains, this solution diffuses a harmonious and gentle heat in the rooms.
  • Hydraulic underfloor heating : in this context, they are flexible polyethylene pipes which allow hot or cold water to circulate in the slab. The device is connected to a heat pump, to a boiler or to solar panels in order to operate and to a regulator which makes it possible to manage the distribution of heat (through a box or a smartphone).
  • Reversible underfloor heating : this solution, like reversible air conditioning, can heat the house in winter and cool it down in summer.

What are the advantages of underfloor heating?

Underfloor heating has many advantages:

  • Comfort : the heating comfort is certain, because the heat is gentle and is evenly distributed in the house or in the equipped rooms. In addition, the ground is no longer cold in winter and it is more pleasant to walk on it barefoot.
  • Inertia : the inertia is smooth and regular, with an average of 20 to 35 ° C, against nearly 60 ° C for other heating devices.
  • Space saving : underfloor heating eliminates the need for radiators, a stove or a fireplace. As a result, there is real space saving in the house.
  • Aesthetics : in addition to saving space, the absence of often unsightly radiators thanks to underfloor heating makes it possible to enjoy a more beautiful interior and a completely invisible heating method.
  • The interview : underfloor heating does not require specific maintenance, apart from a professional service every three to five years.
  • Better hygiene : unlike radiators, underfloor heating does not project dust when it heats up.
  • Energy savings : quality and efficient underfloor heating can reduce energy bills by nearly 15% compared to other heating methods.
  • The noise : some heating devices make noise when they work, which is not the case with underfloor heating.
  • Reversibility : it is possible to opt for a reversible underfloor heating which allows the house to be cooled by the same means when it is hot.
  • State aid : underfloor heating is a device eligible for financial aid from the State.

What are the disadvantages of underfloor heating?

Despite its undeniable advantages, underfloor heating has drawbacks:

  • Its cost : underfloor heating is a very expensive installation, especially for hydraulic and reversible systems. While you can significantly reduce the amount of your energy bills per use, the investment is nonetheless substantial.
  • His pose : if you are embarking on a new construction, providing underfloor heating is easier. But if you go for a renovation, the work will be very important and expensive. In addition, raising the floor for the installation of a heated floor can impact the location of your doors, electrical outlets, etc.
  • The choice of flooring : the installation of a heated floor is not compatible with all floor coverings (carpets, certain thick parquet floors and certain tiles, natural stone, etc.).
  • Miscellaneous works : certain types of work which require the drilling of the ground are impossible with underfloor heating. Thus, to fix certain furniture, you will have to opt for gluing or find other solutions.
  • The interview : if its maintenance is zero on a daily basis, the overhaul to be carried out every three to five years is relatively expensive. It is indeed imperative to have it performed by a certified professional. To do this, count 450 to 900 euros depending on the size of your installation.
  • Temperature management : Recent models of heated floors are more efficient, but some older models do not radiate harmonious heat and can be difficult to adjust. However, the slower inertia and its comfort have the effect of diffusing heat very slowly, which does not allow the house to be warmed quickly after an absence, for example.

How much does underfloor heating cost?

Underfloor heating has a certain cost, both for its installation and for its use.

On average, the price of the installation breaks down as follows:

  • For electric underfloor heating: 40 to 50 euros per square meter.
  • For hydraulic underfloor heating: 70 to 100 euros per square meter.

To this price should be added that of labor, which fluctuates between 10 and 20 euros per square meter. Thus, count on average 6,000 to 10,000 euros of installation for a house of 100 m².

Like any heating device, the heated floor has a cost of use. You will indeed have to predict the price of the energy source and the overhaul. Nevertheless, underfloor heating remains one of the least expensive devices to use and can reduce energy bills by almost 15% compared to other traditional systems.

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