Homeowners looking for warmth that can truly be appreciated need look no further than electric floor heating. These type of floor heating systems are an excellent solution to keeping homes with cold floors warm. Traditional home heating systems such as those that use a network of radiators can only do as much as heat the air in the room which itself cannot stay warm for very long periods if the floors and walls in the room are still cold. Also, much of the heat in conventional systems tends to be lost once the hot air has risen to the ceiling and descended back down into the room. Incidentally, it is this precise motion which causes draughts to be felt in the room. Moreover, continuously heating the air in a living space is a number one contributor to high electricity and gas bills. This is why electric floor heating systems are becoming more and more sought after especially in poorly insulated homes with stone, tile or even engineered hardwood flooring that can often be frequently cold.
The distinct feature of electrical floor heat are the warm elements used instead of flexible tubing to generate warmth. These heat elements come in the form of cables coated with electric insulation or heated floor mats with the cables woven into them. In either form, the heat elements are embedded directly inside the floor warming system. The mat version used in the installation of electric floor warming can be described as something that resembles an electric blanket with loops of cable closely spaced together and embedded in it. This makes heated floor mats more expensive than free-form electric floor heating mats and cables as more of them are needed per square foot to allow heat to be distributed evenly in and around the floor. However, electric floor mats do tend to be less expensive to install than their cable counterparts as they require less depth of flooring enabling the installation to be completed much more quickly.
Electric floor heating systems tend to work better and more efficiently in floor spaces that are relatively small in size. Despite this fact, they can be used to warm much larger surface areas depending on their intended use and the floor coverings they will be placed under. For example, a thick-slab system can be used if the intention is to supply heat to a thick surface during off-peak hours when electricity rates are at their lowest.
This system can be applied using the clock thermostat to set the slab to heat at specific times and works really well for those looking for longer term rather than short term heat. The opposite scenario to this would be if the intention was to warm up an area of the home that is only used occasionally or an area that requires quick and fast heating such as the bathroom before shower time. In this situation a faster electric floor heating system would be required for maximum benefit to be received. However, it should be pointed out here that fast heated floor systems are not completely suitable for certain types of floor coverings – wood being an example – as this could cause the flooring to stress.
An electric heated floor can be used to heat the whole house by itself or as a complementary system alongside another type of underfloor heating mechanism. One such popular choice of supplement is the hydronic floor heating system. Similar to the electric floor heating arrangement wet underfloor heating systems as they are also known work by supplying heat directly to the surface of the floor, which in a radiant fashion is then transferred to the people and objects in the room above.
Hydronic systems are different from electric heated floors in that the warmth they provide comes from heated water pumped out of a boiler through thin tubes underneath the flooring. This liquid-based system requires little electricity to function and can be heated using a wide range of energy sources, such as gas or oil-fired boilers, wood-fired boilers, solar water heaters or a mixture of these sources. Whereas electric heated floors are more cost-effective when designated to small floor spaces the hydronic heat system tends to be more cost-effective within larger floor areas requiring heat, which is why the discovery of a combination of the two systems in a home is not an uncommon sighting in living environments today.
Electrical floor heat is generally easier and less expensive to install than underfloor heating systems that require water or air to function. They can be used to heat the entire home or to provide spot comfort in specific areas. The most common places where electric floor heating is used is in the bathroom, kitchen, conservatory and entrance areas of the home. However, as mentioned previously, they can be incorporated anywhere that warmth is required. Once installed, this system can also be controlled zonally meaning all the cables or mats do not all have to be on at once if they occupy a large area beneath the flooring.
Another benefit of using this type of system rather than the hydronic or forced-air system is that you do not have to deal with leaks in the ductwork which provides further savings of energy. The thermostat in this floor system also allows greater control over the temperature and heat generated in the room. This temperature also tends to be more evenly spread as a result meaning more comfort can be felt around the home.
As with all heating systems, it is important that the home is well insulated in order for heat to be retained inside the home and electric floor heating running costs to be made considerably lower. Before committing to an electrical floor heat purchase it is a good idea to make sure you have a reasonable understanding of how the system you intend to use will actually work so that you can maintain a clear vision of the end result you would like to achieve. The main thing to keep in mind is that the type of underfloor heating installation you choose will largely depend on the floor structure and design of your home. Although, in certain situations, setting an electric floor heating system up can be compared to fixing wall-to-wall carpets it is always best to seek professional assistance , and a reputable one at that, if ever you are in doubt.