A quick search online will reveals that there are over 100 websites offering underfloor heating with taglines such as "Cheapest Electrical Underfloor Heating", "Lowest Underfloor Heating Prices" and "Underfloor Heating From Only £10.16 per m2". Some of these websites would have you believe that they can offer you the best quality, simplest to use and most energy efficient heating systems at a fraction of the price you would expect to pay in your local tile shop or electrical wholesaler. But what's the catch?
What they don't tell you
Whilst all of these websites offer under floor heating, not all systems are the same. What they don't tell you is what you are missing out on. Many of the systems sold online are made in China and the Far East where cost can be the overriding factor, not necessarily quality or safety. The thermostats that are supplied with them are often difficult to use and regularly offer 'features' that can cause serious issues, such as the recently recalled touch screen thermostat a number of suppliers offered. Heating cables can be so thick that you need to spend significantly more on a deeper tile adhesive bed, and many of the products lack detailed installation instructions or clear warranties. Recently a number of stores have started recommending lower powered systems than would be recommended by most professionally, and although this can save money when purchasing the heating, the extended warm up time can lead to higher electricity bills and heating that does not satisfy your requirement. Online it really is a case of you get what you pay for; it is better to pay a little more up front, than regret buying a system that falls short of your expectations, and ends up costing you far more in the long run.
Independent approvals really mean something
In the UK BEAB, the British Electrotechnical Approvals Board, test and certify products as being safe, fit for purpose and in compliance with all the necessary regulations; you can be sure that a BEAB approved product is high quality and safe to install. A quick search on BEAB's supplier section of their website reveals that only three manufacturer's have ever achieved BEAB approved status for their underfloor heating, and Heat Mat (alongside our sister company Heatcom) are the only listed manufacturer of a full BEAB approved underfloor heating system.
Our BEAB approvals demonstrate a certain level of quality and safety that is difficult to otherwise judge, and at Heat Mat we are great believers in independent verification of our systems. We don't just say they are great quality, we prove it.
In addition, if you still have doubts about purchasing a professional system rather than a DIY product, consider the following: DIY installers often purchase a single underfloor heating system and it may be the only one they buy for many years. Even if the system falls seriously short of their expectations, the company they purchase it from has still got their cash, and isn't going to loose out on another sale to them any time soon, as the DIYer is unlikely to be installing more underfloor heating anytime soon. Professional installers fit systems day in and day out, and if they have an issue with product quality, ease of installation or a lack of technical support they will vote with their wallet, and the next time they buy a system they will try a different brand.
Put simply, professional installers are prepared to pay for quality if it really does justify the small increase in price, as it makes their lives (and the lives of their customers) much simpler. If you do not meet their expectations, you will not be selling to them for very long. This is why Heat Mat is the number one installer to the professional underfloor heating installation market, our quality speaks volumes.