An important decision, but not a very exciting one is how you’re going to make your new loft rooms comfortable and warm by making sure their is enough heat to keep you and your family warm.
Of course a new conversion should be well insulated and will receive lot’s of warm sunshine coming through the Velux windows or dormer windows during the day, but as we all know in the UK, the nights can be bitter cold.
I want to you to think of heating before any work is started because some options will need to be considered before the new floor goes down. Let’s take a look at the most common options you have.
Heating your new loft rooms.
The three main forms of heating available are: 1. plumbing into your existing domestic combi boiler / radiator system. 2. Installing underfloor heating. 3. Plug in oil filled radiators, fan heaters.
Using your existing combi boiler with additional radiators.
If your home already has a combi boiler with radiator then adding additional radiators to the system should be one of your first considerations. You will need to extend the current hot water heating pipes into the loft, so the advice of an experienced plumber will be needed to make sure the new pipes are taken from your existing heating loop at the correct place.
The good thing about radiators is they’re relatively cheap and won’t need replacing. They come in all shapes and size. Designer ones are available which means you can turn them into a feature rather than a standard white box on the wall.
The bad thing about radiators is you need to know your existing combi boiler will be powerful enough to run them. You’ll need to know the output of your current boiler and how much your current radiators are using before plumbing in the new radiators. Radiators also take valuable space in your loft rooms, taller designs might the best option rather than traditional wider ones which will eat up wall space.
Underfloor heating for the invisible warming touch
Gaining a lot of popularity over the last 5 years, underfloor heating has became a popular choice for many, especially for conservatories, loft conversions, bathrooms.
The rise in use has brought down the prices and it’s now available to the DIYer from the big chains like Wickes and B&Q.
Electric underfloor systems means there’s no need to alter existing pipework or modify your current heating system. Kits are readily available and designed to be used by a capable DIY enthusiast.
The good thing about underfloor heating is it doesn’t take up valuable wall or floor space in the loft. It’s readily available in different sized mats, which could mean each room could be heated separately. It’s readily available and designed for DIY installation, maintenance free and silent.
The bad thing about underfloor heating is repairing it could be difficult if not impossible. Will raise the floor slightly which may make existing flooring uneven but this should be a problem if you’re laying a whole new floor in the loft.
Plug in oil filled radiators and portable heaters
One option is to forego fitting heating altogether and use portable heaters to warm the loft area when they’re needed. Leaving out a heating system should make the loft conversion cheaper and easier, both in materials and labour, especially if you need to bring in an experienced plumber or qualified electrician.
Portable heaters tend to be smaller so have limited heat output, they should be fine for small / medium rooms but if your loft is open plan you’ll need something with more power.
They’re also not particularly suitable if children are around. You wouldn’t want a heater being moved too close to something which could catch fire, or worse, be pulled over on top of a small child. Safety first.
The good thing about portable heaters is you may already have a couple you could use. Lowers the cost of the actual conversion. They come in all shapes and sizes and some can also be wall mounted. You have the option to easily heat each room separately,
The bad thing about portable heaters is they take up floor or wall space unlike underfloor heating. Might not be powerful for large open plan lofts. Not suitable for children’s rooms.