Costs of underfloor heating: An overview

An overview of the costs of underfloor heating

The costs of underfloor heating consist of acquisition and operating costs. While the costs per square meter mainly depend on installation, the operating costs vary depending on the system and the installed heat generators. We give an overview and show how renovators can save with government subsidies.

The topics at a glance:

Acquisition costs of underfloor heating

Expenditures in the operation of a surface heating system

Subsidies support the purchase.

Underfloor heating costs when purchasing

Anyone interested in new underfloor heating can now choose from a wide variety of systems. While some are particularly common in new builds, others are particularly suitable for renovation. When it comes to the cost of underfloor heating, the type of installation plays an important role. A distinction must be made here:

. Wet systems under the heating screed

. Thin bed systems over the screed

Drywall underfloor heating

Surface heating for milling

. Electrical systems for underfloor heating

You can expect 50 to 90 USD per square meter for water-based underfloor heating and 40 to 70 USD for electric underfloor heating. See the following sections for more details on the different types.

Costs for underfloor heating in the wet system

Underfloor heating in the wet system consists of heating cables that are placed on special insulation boards. They are covered by the heating screed and thus form a solid and heavy floor. While the systems are standard in new buildings, they are rarely used in renovations. The reason for this is a great effort involved: Here, the old top floor must first be torn out before the new one comes into the house. Therefore, the costs of underfloor heating in the wet system depend on whether it is a renovation or a new building.

. Wet system underfloor heating: costs from 70 to 90 USD per square meter

. Tearing out and disposing of the old screed: 50 USD per square meter

costs of underfloor heating
Black underfloor heating posed in a under construction building

Cost of thin-bed underfloor heating

In the case of surface heating using the thin-bed method, the heating cables lie over a thin support plate on the old floor. A leveling mass distributes the loads from the room to the floor and conducts the heat upwards. The systems are suitable for old buildings and usually have lower acquisition costs than conventional wet systems.

. Thin-bed underfloor heating: costs from 50 to 80 USD per square meter

Cost per square meter for drywall underfloor heating

The drywall underfloor heating is also suitable for old buildings. Because here heating cables are on special carrier plates. The top is the so-called dry screed, on which renovators can lay the floor covering after a short time.

Cost of underfloor heating with a drywall system: 50 to 90 USD square meter

Cost of floor heating for milling

If you want to get to the new surface heating quickly, you can opt for a milling system. Experts cut narrow channels in the existing floor and then lay the heating cables in them. Before the new flooring can come, the channels must be filled with a special quick-drying leveling compound. For this to work, renovators only need to remove the old floor covering. Another requirement: the screed must be intact and strong enough.

. Cost of underfloor heating to be milled in 60 to 80 USD per square meter

Electric heating surfaces as a cheap alternative

Electric heating systems are superior to conventional hot water heating. At least when it comes to installation costs. Because these are very low in contrast to the later operating costs, this is the simple installation of the electric heater. For example, surface heating systems operated with electricity usually consist of a simple mat that is to be laid directly under the floor covering.

. Electric underfloor heating costs: 40 to 80 USD per square meter

The costs for underfloor heating, which, to put it simply, is oversized underfloor heating, are not dealt with at this point.

The annual operating costs of a surface heating system  

In addition to the initial underfloor heating costs per square meter, builders and renovators are, of course, also interested in the ongoing annual heating costs. These arise from fuel consumption. In addition to the building’s energetic state, they depend on the type of heating and the consumer’s comfort requirements. The decisive factor for the following comparison is the calculated energy consumption. We assume a value of 20,000 kilowatt-hours per year.

Cost of underfloor heating with a hot water system

Hot water heating systems can be operated with numerous heating technologies. In addition to standard solutions such as oil or gas heating, there are also wood heating systems, heat pumps and modern fuel cells. When it comes to the annual costs of underfloor heating, the prices of the fuels used are decisive. The following list shows a comparison of gas, oil, and pellets. According to this, the annual consumption costs (based on a consumption of 20,000 kWh) are:

Gas (5.05 ct / kWh *) around 1,200 US$

Heating oil (5.68 ct / kWh *) around 1,400 US$

Pellets (4.66 ct / kWh *) around 1100 US$

(* As of December 2020)

Since the consumption costs of heat pumps and fuel cells depend very much on the unique design, these are not included in the comparison. However, an installer can estimate the costs and adapt the comparison to a particular project’s conditions. The heating pump’s electricity costs, which for modern devices are around 15 to 40 euros per year, must also be taken into account.

High operating expenses with electric underfloor heating  

Suppose a house is to be supplied with heat exclusively via electric underfloor heating. In that case, the costs are usually significantly higher than with hot water heating. At least when the electricity comes from the public grid;

Annual costs of underfloor heating with electricity (27.00 ct / kWh *) around 6500 US$

(* As of December 2020)

If you get the electricity from your photovoltaic system, you can save on operating costs. Since the unique design is also important here, we have not taken this variant into account in the comparison. One way of reducing operating costs is to switch off the heating temporarily. You can read whether this method is worthwhile in the article “Night reduction of underfloor heating “.

Subsidies reduce the cost of underfloor heating.

Suppose you want to install new surface heating and replace the boiler simultaneously. In that case, you’re in luck: because you benefit from KfW funding for heating. There are cheap loans and one-time grants of up to 20% for underfloor heating. Prerequisite: renovators replace an old gas or oil heating system with a new condensing boiler. Also, the funding must be applied for in good time. When that is, we explain in the article funding for gas heating.