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MYTHS about Floor Heating

MYTHS about Floor Heating

12/10/2006

in-slab Heating

in-slab Heating has been around for nigh on fifty years and yet scepticism still exists.

One is, "will it crack the concrete slab?" The simple answer is "No". For a start, the temperature in the slab is only going to be around 20 Celsius and the sun will subject your exposed floor to temperatures considerably higher than this.

"Will fixtures trap the heat causing problems?" This is not an issue as heat created in the Thermal Mass is very gentle and soaks evenly, resulting in a very subtle comfort environment. Because of this, virtually any form of floor carpeting, wood or ceramic finish can be laid on the surface. This type of installation is the lowest capital cost for the client planning new construction.

Under Tile Heating

Under Tile Heating has come a long way in the last 10 to 15 years. Cables are popular and the more recent advent of the "Ultra Thin Cable" has gained attraction to the renovation market where tiled floor height can be a critical issue.

Unlike its in-slab heating counterpart however, there are some traps to be avoided with under tile heating. While this form of heating can be used under most floor surfaces including tiles, carpets, lino and wood; some carpets (for example bitumen and some rubber backed ones) are unsuited to underfloor heating. The cables cannot be installed under built in fixtures and beanbags are another recipe for disaster. Where common sense prevails these issues should not be a problem.

Under Wood Radiant Floor Heating

Under Wood Radiant Floor Heating takes top marks for myths. This combination is a barrier to the thinking amongst suppliers of timber flooring which seem to be the worst. Once again, we are not going to subject wooden floors to heat levels exceeding 27 Degrees Celcius so the moisture content in the floor will be stable. The heat control system is designed to monitor the heat level output under the floor rather than the ambient temperature.

To achieve successful operation, elements should be laid over a closed cell foam underlay or fibro board to prevent heat sink. This is of particular importance under wood as the timber itself, does have some insulation properties depending on the thickness used.

Foil elements with a wide heat source give more gentle and efficient heat release properties than cables.

Owners are encouraged to run their system temperature in the low twenties Degrees Celsius when comfort is required and instead of turning off their system at night, just reduce or setback the temperature requirement by 4 degrees C. This saves energy and at the same time keeps the "chill" off the building. By doing this, the other consideration is the flooring material is less stressed due to minimal temperature variation in the building.

This highlights the importance of good heat control to ensure the long-term reliability of both the heating system itself and the floor finish married to it.