plancher chauffant électrique ou à l'eau chaude

Should you choose hot water or electricity for your underfloor heating?

Are you renovating or building a home and wondering which type of heating system to choose? Are you tired of having cold feet (literally) during the winter? If you’d like your heating system to provide you with the continuous comfort of gentle, uniform warmth throughout your home, you should opt for underfloor heating. This floor heating system is cost effective, efficient and quiet. And it doesn’t blow any air (or dust) around your home. What’s more, it allows your floor to dry in minutes.

There are two main types of radiant floor heating systems currently on the market: electric and hot water (also known as hydronic). Each system offers its own unique advantages.

To help you decide which type of underfloor heating is best for you, here are the main characteristics of each one.

installation de plancher chauffant électrique

Electric underfloor heating

Electric underfloor heating is the most popular choice. This system works through a network of heating wire (installed on fiberglass mesh) or heating cables (for emitting infrared radiation), which are connected directly to a thermostat.

Even though it can be installed throughout the home, you should be aware that electric underfloor heating is ideal for small rooms, such as bathrooms, entryways and bedrooms.


  • This type of underfloor heating system offers a lot of value for the price.
  • Installation is quick and simple; however, the electrical connections must be done by a professional.
  • If your concrete slab is already in place, you can simply install the system directly on top of the concrete and then install the flooring on top of the system.
  • It is directly powered through the electrical connection.
  • Heating systems of this kind don’t require a mechanical room.
  • This type of flooring is maintenance-free.
  • The room-by-room thermostat system is less expensive than the one used for hot water underfloor heating.

plancher chauffant hydronique (à l'eau chaude)Hot water underfloor heating

The hydronic or hot water underfloor heating system consists of a series of pipes and pumps installed underneath the concrete slab. The hot water, which has been heated either by a heat pump or a boiler, circulates through the pipes under the floorboards, heating the floor and the room. Therefore, this type of heating system requires a mechanical room, as well as rigorous maintenance.

Hydronic radiant floor heating can’t be installed in a single room. In fact, it wouldn’t really be advantageous to do so. It must cover at least a full storey or the entire basement of the residence. It’s the ideal heating solution for homes under construction.


  • This type of underfloor heating can be used in the summer and winter as a central heating system, regardless of the type of flooring.
  • This type of heating offers over 95 percent energy efficiency.
  • It’s an eco-friendly solution that has existed for many years, but has recently enjoyed renewed popularity.
  • This system enables greater cost savings on large surface areas than its electric counterpart does.
  • The cost is particularly advantageous when the system is installed in a residence under construction or during major renovations.
  • The heat it gives off makes your space truly comfortable with a consistent temperature from room to room.

Hot water or electric underfloor heating—conclusion

In the end, the best option will depend on your needs and the project. If you want to install radiant floor heating in just one room, opt for the electric system. On the other hand, if you want to install this type of heating in a large area (the whole house or the basement and a full storey), the ideal solution is hot water underfloor heating.

For the purchase and installation of an underfloor heating system in the Montreal area, you can count on the team of experts at Plomberie Roger Chayer.

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