Home Heating Central and Underfloor Heating Costs and Installation

Central and Underfloor Heating Costs and Installation


Heating systems play a role in maintaining comfortable living environments, with central and underfloor heating emerging as popular choices for efficient temperature regulation. Understanding the costs and installation intricacies of these systems is important to know for a better understanding when making a decision.

Introduction to Central and Underfloor Heating

Central heating involves distributing heat throughout a building via a network of pipes or ducts, ensuring uniform warmth. In contrast, underfloor heating relies on heat radiating from beneath the floor surface, promoting consistent heating from the ground up.

Underfloor Heating Types:

Hydronic Underfloor Heating (Water-based):

This system circulates warm water through pipes installed beneath the floor. It provides consistent and efficient heating, making use of a boiler to heat the water.

Electric Underfloor Heating:

Electric underfloor heating involves heating coils or mats installed beneath the floor. When electricity passes through these elements, they generate heat, warming the floor surface.

Central Heating Types:

Radiant Heating:

Radiant heating systems use panels, coils, or tubes to emit heat directly into rooms. They can work through walls, floors, or ceilings, offering targeted heating.

Air-Based Central Heating:

Air-based systems utilise heated air distributed through ductwork and vents to provide warmth across spaces. Furnaces or heat pumps heat the air before dispersing it.

Water-Based Central Heating (Hydronic):

Similar to hydronic underfloor heating, this system circulates hot water through radiators, baseboard heaters, or radiant flooring. Boilers heat the water before distribution.

Types of Central and Underfloor Heating

Radiant, air-based, and water-based heating are common forms of central heating, each offering distinct advantages. On the other hand , underfloor heating boasts its efficiency and space-saving attributes, enhancing comfort.

What’s the cost of Central and Underfloor Heating?

In the UK, the costs for central heating and underfloor heating installations can vary based on several factors. Central heating installations typically encompass expenses associated with the heating unit (like a boiler), radiators or pipework installation, and professional labour.

 On average, central heating (boiler) installations might range from £1,500 to £4,000. This price guide from Easy Boilers can help you Learn more about new boiler prices. Costs can fluctuate depending on the size of the property, the chosen system type (such as gas or electric), and the complexity of the installation.

Conversely, underfloor heating costs in the UK may include the heating system (electric or water-based), installation of the heating elements under the floor, and professional installation fees.

 Generally, electric underfloor heating might range from £80 to £120 per square metre, whereas water-based systems can vary from £50 to £90 per square metre. These costs are influenced by factors like the type of flooring, system complexity, and the area coverage.

Overall, while central heating installations in the UK tend to have lower initial costs, underfloor heating installations may be more expensive but can offer long-term energy efficiency benefits and enhanced comfort, making them a popular choice for homeowners.

Installation Process 

Central Heating Installation Process:

Assessment and Planning:

A heating engineer assesses the property’s heating needs, considers the system type (e.g., gas or electric), and plans the installation layout.

Boiler or Furnace Installation:

If a new boiler or furnace is required, it’s installed following safety and regulatory standards, often replacing an old system or integrating with existing components.

Pipework and Radiator Installation:

Pipework is laid to connect the boiler to radiators throughout the property. Radiators are positioned strategically for efficient heat distribution.

Thermostat and Controls Setup:

Thermostats and heating controls are installed to regulate temperature settings, ensuring efficient heating and control over individual room temperatures.

  • Testing and Commissioning:

The entire system is tested thoroughly to ensure proper functionality, pressure checks are performed, and any adjustments are made before final commissioning.

Underfloor Heating Installation Process:

Floor Preparation:

Existing flooring is removed or prepared to accommodate the underfloor heating system. Subfloors are inspected for suitability.

Heating Element Installation:

Heating elements (either electric mats or water pipes for hydronic systems) are laid evenly across the floor area, adhering to specific spacing guidelines.

Floor Covering Installation:

Once the heating elements are in place, a screed or insulation layer may be added to enhance heat distribution. Flooring material (tiles, laminate, etc.) is then installed over the heating elements.

Thermostat and Controls Setup:

Similar to central heating, underfloor heating systems also require thermostats and controls for temperature regulation and management.

Testing and Calibration:

The system undergoes thorough testing to ensure the heating elements function correctly and evenly distribute heat across the floor surface.

Pros and Cons of Central and Underfloor Heating

Central heating offers widespread warmth and ease of installation but might entail higher operational costs. In contrast, underfloor heating ensures even heat distribution and reduced energy consumption but demands careful installation.

Factors Influencing Heating System Selection

Climate, building structure, and energy efficiency goals dictate the choice between central and underfloor heating systems, impacting long-term satisfaction and functionality.

Comparative Analysis of Heating Costs

Examining long-term expenses associated with both systems sheds light on the financial implications, allowing homeowners to make informed decisions aligned with their budgets.

Efficiency and Environmental Impact

Both central and underfloor heating systems offer environmental benefits when optimised for efficiency, reducing carbon footprints and energy consumption.

Servicing and Upkeep

Regular servicing is vital for the longevity and efficiency of heating systems, with distinct servicing requirements for central and underfloor heating.

Tips for Optimising Heating Systems

Implementing energy-saving practices and efficiency enhancements maximises the performance and cost-effectiveness of heating systems.


Choosing between central and underfloor heating necessitates a comprehensive understanding of their costs, installation processes, and long-term implications. Tailoring decisions based on individual needs and structural considerations ensures optimal comfort and efficiency.

What is the average installation duration for underfloor heating?

The installation duration for underfloor heating systems can vary based on factors such as the size of the area, the complexity of the installation, and the type of underfloor heating chosen. Generally, it can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks for installation, including preparation and system setup.

Are central heating systems more suitable for specific climate conditions?

Central heating systems can be adapted to various climate conditions. While they are effective in colder climates where consistent heating is necessary, their versatility allows them to be adjusted to suit different temperature ranges. Proper insulation and system sizing are key factors in optimising central heating for specific climate needs.

Do underfloor heating systems require specialised flooring materials?

Underfloor heating systems are compatible with various types of flooring materials. While certain materials like tiles, stone, or laminate work exceptionally well in distributing heat, underfloor heating can also function with wood or carpeted floors. It’s essential to consult with a professional installer to ensure the chosen flooring works efficiently with the heating system.

Are there government incentives for installing energy-efficient heating systems?

Many governments offer incentives and rebates to encourage the installation of energy-efficient heating systems. These incentives can include tax credits, grants, or subsidies aimed at promoting environmentally friendly and energy-saving technologies. Check with local authorities or energy regulatory bodies for available incentives in your area.

What servicing is needed for ensuring heating system longevity?

Regular maintenance is vital for extending the lifespan and efficiency of heating systems. Tasks include checking and cleaning filters, inspecting and flushing the system, ensuring proper ventilation, and scheduling professional inspections annually. Additionally, addressing any issues promptly can prevent larger problems and maintain system performance.


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