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Skirting Board Heating - Worth The Cost And Effort?

Skirting Board Heating - Worth The Cost And Effort?

Posted by Skirting World on 9th Jun 2023

Skirting Board Heaters - Worth The Cost And Effort?

Skirting Board Heaters promise an efficient and visually appealing heating solution

Inadequate modern systems can lead to discomfort and cold rooms, while outdated radiators can compromise the aesthetics of a space. 

Skirting board heaters offer a unique solution, but there are installation and efficiency challenges to evaluate. 

What are Skirting Board Heaters?

Thermodul Skirting Board Heating Diagram

Skirting board heaters are a type of heating system that is installed along the  skirting boards of a room. They provide localized heat by utilizing electric heating elements or hot water pipes.

Unlike traditional radiators that are mounted on walls or positioned under windows, skirting board heaters are installed along the bottom part of the walls. They offer a discreet and space-saving solution for heating, seamlessly blending with the room's décor.

Skirting board heaters are available in various sizes, styles, and materials to suit different aesthetic preferences and heating requirements. They offer a versatile heating option for both residential and commercial spaces, providing comfort and warmth while maintaining a sleek and unobtrusive appearance.

The Different Types of Skirting Board Heaters

There are various types of skirting board heaters available in the market, each with its own set of features and functionalities. 

These include electric skirting board heaters (dry), hydronic skirting board heaters (wet), and combination systems that integrate both electric and hydronic elements.

1. Electric Skirting Board Heaters

Electric skirting board heaters (dry skirting board heaters) are powered by electricity and feature built-in heating elements. These heaters offer quick and precise heat control, allowing users to adjust the temperature according to their comfort levels.

They are easy to install and require minimal maintenance. Electric skirting board heaters are particularly suitable for smaller spaces or rooms where electrical heating is preferred.

2. Hydronic Skirting Board Heaters

Hydronic skirting board heaters (wet skirting board heaters) utilize hot water circulation for heating. They are connected to a central heating system, where heated water flows through the pipes integrated into the skirting boards.

Hydronic heaters provide a gentle and consistent heat output, distributing warmth evenly throughout the room. They are known for their energy efficiency and can be a great choice for larger areas or those with existing hot water heating systems.

3. Combined Electric and Hydronic Skirting Board Heaters

Some skirting board heaters combine both electric and hydronic heating elements, offering the advantages of both systems. These hybrid heaters provide flexibility and versatility, allowing users to choose between electric or hydronic heating based on their preferences and requirements.

They can be an excellent option for individuals who want the convenience of electric heating along with the efficiency of a hydronic system.

Replacing Conventional Radiators with Skirting Board Heaters

While radiators have been a popular choice for heating systems, skirting board heaters offer some distinct advantages.

Skirting Board Heaters Conventional Radiators
Space Utilization Utilizes underutilized space along the base of walls Takes up wall space
Heating Efficiency Efficient heat distribution, convection effect Primarily heats upper parts of the room
Aesthetics Sleek and discreet, blends with interior design Can be visually obtrusive
Installation Straightforward retrofit option May require significant modifications
Temperature Control Individual temperature control Centralized temperature control
Cost Varies, potentially more expensive Standard pricing

Compared to conventional radiators, skirting board heaters provide efficient heat distribution through a convection effect. One of the key advantages is their sleek and discreet design, seamlessly blending with the interior décor.

Installation is relatively straightforward, making them a viable retrofit option for existing rooms. 

However, it's important to note that in older masonry British houses, removing old skirting boards can be a challenging task due to their solid construction and potential for hidden fixings. Careful consideration and expertise are required to avoid damaging the walls while replacing skirting boards or installing skirting board heaters.

Considerations for Large Areas and Cold Climates

While skirting board heaters can provide a consistent level of warmth, they often fail to adequately heat large spaces. Factors such as insulation, room layout, wattage and the BTU (British Thermal Unit) rating are crucial to consider.

Wattage of Skirting Board Heaters

The wattage of skirting board heaters determines their heating capacity. 

Higher wattage models can generate more heat and are generally suitable for larger areas. 

When choosing skirting board heaters for a large space, it is important to ensure that their wattage aligns with the heating requirements of the room. 

Calculating the BTU needed to heat the space using an online calculator can help determine the appropriate wattage of the skirting board heaters.

BTU (British Thermal Unit) rating of Skirting Board Heaters

The BTU output per linear metre of the skirting board heaters indicates how much heat is emitted per unit length.

Understanding the BTU rating per linear metre allows for a more accurate assessment of how many skirting board heaters are needed to effectively heat the entire space.

The manufacturer often provides this information for the heated skirting board unit.

British thermal unit (btu) of skirting board heaters

Retrofitting Existing Rooms & Planning Extensions

Retrofitting a room with skirting board heating

Retrofitting a room with skirting board heating

Skirting board heating can be an excellent choice for retrofitting existing buildings. The installation of skirting board heaters can be relatively straightforward, as they can  replace the existing skirting boards without significant modifications. 

This makes it a convenient option for individuals who wish to upgrade their heating system without extensive renovation work.  Skirting board heating systems are designed to provide localized heat, primarily focused on the lower portion of the room. 

This configuration is advantageous for older buildings with limited insulation, as it helps counteract heat loss through walls and windows. By placing the heat source closer to the floor, skirting board heaters create a comfortable and warm environment without the need for extensive modifications to the existing structure.

Planning heating for a new build / extension

British new build property

For new builds and extensions, underfloor heating often emerges as a more desirable option. Underfloor heating systems distribute heat evenly across a larger surface area, creating a consistent and comfortable warmth throughout the space. 

This type of heating is particularly effective when combined with modern insulation and efficient building practices. In new builds and extensions, there is an opportunity to integrate underfloor heating during the construction phase. This allows for proper planning and installation of the necessary components, ensuring optimal performance and energy efficiency. 

Underfloor heating can be installed beneath various flooring materials, including tiles, laminate, or engineered wood, offering flexibility in design choices.


Skirting board heaters present an intriguing alternative to conventional radiator systems, offering localized heat distribution and improved aesthetics. 

Skirting board heaters can be more expensive than standard radiators or even designer radiators. The initial investment may be higher, considering the installation costs and potential modifications required. However, for those seeking a heating solution that seamlessly integrates with the interior design and enhances the overall aesthetics of the space, the improved visual appeal may outweigh the additional cost.

Retrofitting skirting board heaters in existing rooms, especially in classic masonry British houses, can be challenging. Removing old skirting boards is often a complex and labor-intensive task. It's crucial to evaluate the feasibility and potential disruptions associated with the installation process, particularly in older buildings.

When considering skirting board heaters, it's important to assess the specific heating needs of the room. Skirting board heaters provide localized heat primarily focused on the lower portion of the space. While this can be effective for maintaining comfort and countering heat loss, it may not be suitable for rooms with large floor areas or high heat requirements. In such cases, alternative solutions like underfloor heating or conventional radiators might be more suitable.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Skirting Board Heaters Easy To Maintain?

Skirting board heaters can be energy-efficient, especially when used in combination with smart controls and thermostats. These features allow for precise temperature regulation and energy-saving schedules. However, it's important to consider the insulation of the room and proper sizing of the heating system to ensure optimal efficiency.
Skirting board heaters generally require minimal maintenance. Regular cleaning to remove dust and debris is recommended. Some models may have removable covers or access panels, making it easier to clean or inspect the internal components. It's also important to check for any signs of damage or malfunction and seek professional assistance if needed.

Are Skirting Board Heaters Worth The Cost?

Skirting board heaters can be a cost-effective heating mechanism. They are typically less expensive to install than underfloor heating, but more expensive than radiators. Skirting board heaters are also difficult to install and fitting costs can be expensive. Skirting board heating is best suited for small - medium rooms, as they may not suffice for larger rooms.

The average cost of installing skirting board heaters is £1,000 - £2,000, The power of the electric skirting board heating is between 125 watts to 575 watts, and water models between 88 watts and 420 watts.

How Do Skirting Board Heaters Work?

Dry skirting board heaters

Dry skirting board heaters are electric heaters that use metal coils to heat the air that flows through them. The coils are typically encased in a metal or plastic casing, and they are installed behind the skirting board. Dry skirting board heaters are easy to install and maintain, and they are a good option for small to medium-sized rooms.

Wet skirting board heaters

Wet skirting board heaters use hot water to heat the air that flows through them. The hot water is typically supplied by a central heating system, and it is circulated through the heater using a series of pipes. Wet skirting board heaters are more efficient than dry skirting board heaters, but they are also more difficult to install.