Is Underfloor Heating Really Worth It?

Underfloor heating is gaining traction among Australian homeowners in Sydney as a sleek and efficient way to heat their homes. This system offers numerous benefits, including aesthetic appeal and energy efficiency. Consider the costs, installation complexities, and whether it’s suitable for your home. Let’s investigate underfloor heating and if it is truly worth the investment. 

Is Installing Underfloor Heating Worthwhile? 

Underfloor heating systems provide warmth from the ground up, ensuring a consistent distribution of heat across the room and eliminating the cold spots often found with traditional heating methods. Its hidden nature not only saves space, freeing up walls that would otherwise accommodate plug-in heaters or wall-mounted air conditioners, but also contributes to a cleaner design aesthetic. 


In terms of energy efficiency, underfloor heating is particularly effective, especially when integrated with a heat pump for add-on cooling. This system can be a smart choice for homes needing both heating and cooling, such as those using reverse cycle systems. 


Advantages of Underfloor Heating 

This section outlines the key benefits of opting for underfloor heating: 

  • Consistent Warmth: Heat is distributed evenly, eliminating the cold spots common with ceiling or wall-mounted heaters. 
  • Visually Appealing: The system is hidden, freeing up wall and ceiling space. 
  • Energy Efficient: Operates at lower temperatures but covers a larger area, potentially reducing energy costs. 
  • Healthier Environment: Less circulation of dust and allergens. 




Benefits of Underfloor Heating Systems 

Choosing the right heating system for your home largely depends on your climate needs. If your home primarily requires heating, due to cooler climates, and seldom needs cooling, certain systems might be more advantageous. Conversely, for homes experiencing a mix of both cold and warm weather, a different system may be preferable. 

Here’s a visual table that summarises the benefits of gas ducted systems and reverse cycle ducted systems: 

Feature  Gas Ducted Systems  Reverse Cycle Ducted Systems 
Ideal for  Predominantly cold climates  Changing climates (both heating and cooling) 
Installation Cost  Cost-effective  Higher initial cost but eliminates need for separate cooling system 
Maintenance Costs  Low  Minimal, safer operation reduces potential maintenance 
Operation Costs  Economical, especially with solar power or favourable natural gas prices  Can be reduced significantly with solar power 
Efficiency  High in cold weather  Efficient in both heating and cooling; benefits from advanced zoning control 
Built-in Cooling  No  Yes 
Advanced Zoning Control  Not specified  Yes, allows heating or cooling specific areas as needed 
Safety  Good, but involves natural gas which has inherent risks  Safer, uses refrigerant and has lower risk of gas leaks 


This table provides a clear comparison between the two types of systems, highlighting their suitability and advantages for different climatic conditions and needs. 


Gas Ducted Systems: Ideal for Predominantly Cold Climates 

Gas ducted systems are a popular choice for homes that require consistent heating. Here are the key advantages: 

  1. Cost-Effective Installation: Generally, gas ducted systems are less expensive to install compared to other heating technologies. 
  1. Low Maintenance Costs: These systems are relatively easy and cheap to maintain over their lifespan. 
  1. Economical Operation: Running costs are typically lower, especially if natural gas prices are favourable or if the home utilises solar power. 
  1. Efficiency in Cold Weather: Gas ducted systems are particularly effective in colder climates and can operate efficiently for extended periods. In Sydney, where extreme cold is less common, this capability ensures reliable heating when needed. 



Reverse Cycle Ducted Systems: Versatile for Changing Climates 

For homes that require both heating and cooling, reverse cycle ducted systems offer a comprehensive solution. Their benefits include: 

  1. Built-in Cooling: Unlike traditional heating systems, reverse cycle units can both heat and cool your home, eliminating the need for separate systems. 
  1. Solar Compatibility: The operational costs can be significantly reduced if paired with solar power, making it an eco-friendly and cost-effective option. 
  1. Advanced Zoning Control: These systems allow for detailed control over different zones in your home, enabling you to heat or cool specific areas as needed, which enhances comfort and efficiency. 
  1. Safer Operation: Since they use refrigerant rather than natural gas, reverse cycle systems pose less risk of gas leaks and require minimal maintenance after installation. 


Understanding the specific benefits of each heating system can help you make an informed decision tailored to your home’s needs, ensuring optimal comfort and efficiency. 

Whether you choose a gas ducted system for its robust heating capabilities or a reverse cycle system for its versatility, both options provide reliable solutions to maintain a comfortable home environment throughout the year. 


Cost Considerations for Underfloor Heating 


While the benefits of underfloor heating are clear, the associated costs are a significant consideration. Initial installation can be pricey, particularly when retrofitting in existing properties. 


Here’s a breakdown of the costs: 

  • Initial Installation Costs 
  • Gas Ducted Systems: These are generally more cost-effective to install, with typical costs ranging from around AUD 5,000 to AUD 10,000, depending on the size of the system and the complexity of the installation. 
  • Reverse Cycle Ducted Systems: These systems tend to have higher initial costs due to their dual functionality (heating and cooling), with prices usually ranging from AUD 8,000 to AUD 15,000. 
  • Operating Costs 
  • Gas Ducted Systems: These are economical to operate, especially when natural gas prices are low or when combined with solar power. 
  • Reverse Cycle Systems: These can also be cost-efficient, particularly when integrated with solar power. Their ability to heat and cool makes them versatile and can lead to savings by avoiding the need for separate systems. 
  • Maintenance Costs 
  • Both systems typically have low maintenance costs, though gas ducted systems require safety checks for gas leaks. Reverse cycle systems are generally safer due to their use of refrigerant. 
  • Efficiency and Area 
  • Gas ducted systems excel in consistently cold climates, while reverse cycle systems are ideal for areas with variable temperatures, thanks to their zoning capabilities which allow specific areas to be heated or cooled as needed. 


Overall, while the initial installation of gas ducted and reverse cycle ducted systems can be substantial, their long-term benefits like efficiency, safety, and the potential for energy savings make them a worthwhile investment for effective home heating and cooling solutions. 



Planning Your Underfloor Heating Installation 

Proper planning is vital for integrating underfloor heating into your home and budget effectively. 

  • Home Suitability: Best for well-insulated and draught-free homes. 
  • System Choice: Electric systems for smaller spaces; water-based for larger areas. 
  • Expert Consultation: Discuss costs and savings with a heating specialist. 
  • Installation Coordination: Consider aligning this project with other home improvements to cut costs. 
  • Long-Term Savings: The high initial costs are often offset by future savings, particularly when paired with renewable energy sources like heat pumps. 


Frequently Asked Questions 

Is underfloor heating suitable for bathrooms? Yes, it makes floors warm and comfortable, ideal for colder months. 

Does under tile heating work effectively? Absolutely, it ensures consistent, efficient heating, perfect for cold tiles. 


Choose Proven Air for Your Heating Needs 

Underfloor heating not only boosts comfort and space utilisation but also enhances energy efficiency. Gas ducted systems are cost-effective and well-suited for consistently cold climates, offering economical heating options. 


Reverse cycle ducted systems, while initially more costly, provide the convenience of both heating and cooling in one unit, making them ideal for areas with varied temperatures. Both systems excel in energy efficiency and can adapt to different home layouts. 


Proven Air can help you evaluate which system best fits your needs, balancing installation and operational costs. Contact Proven Air today for expert guidance and to begin your heating project. 

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Zachary Alexander Jackson

May 13, 2024

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