This kind of new heat radiant floor is now difficult for anyone to surprise. This type of floor heating system is widely used both as the main source of heat, and as a means of increasing temperature comfort. Let’s talk about what kinds of floor warming systems exist, and what features each of them has.
Heated floor options
Before talking about varieties of underfloor heating systems, it will be useful to recall what the heating system is in its essence. A feature of the heating system, called the “warm floor”, is the heating of the room from below, and the heating element (as the name implies) is directly the surface of the floor.
The method of heating the house from the bottom goes back to ancient times, where it was known to many peoples. Thus, for example, the floor of locks of the specific rulers of the Land of the Rising Sun often warmed the brazier set with the coals under the floor covering. But the real perfection (of course, for its time) was reached by the ancient Roman heating system, called hypocaust (hipocaustum).
Although this kind of heating can be called a hybrid of a warm floor and centralized air heating.
Hot air from the installed in the basement of the house of the furnace under the influence of gravitational forces rose upwards, passing through specially arranged cavities under the floor and inside the walls of the house. Hypocaust allowed to centrally heat as one two-three-story house, and several belonging to one owner of apartment houses at the same time.
However, let’s return from the depths of the centuries to the present. What are the benefits of underfloor heating systems?
Advantages of warm floors
- Uniform heat distribution. If we could see the movement of air masses with the naked eye, then this advantage of heating from below would be obvious to us. But since our vision does not possess this ability, let’s use the power of imagination. Let’s imagine how the warm air is spread from a conventional radiator.
In accordance with the laws of physics, it immediately rises. Downward, the air drops, only having had time to cool down considerably. Thus, using traditional heating, we mainly heat … the ceiling. At the bottom and at the opposite wall from the radiator the “pockets” of cold air are formed.
When using the system of radiant warmth floor, heating circulates throughout the entire area of the room without the formation of cold “pockets” and “bubbles”. The warmest air is at the bottom, and the second advantage of the system is connected with this.
- Comfortable temperature gradient. It is well known that the feet should be kept warm, and the head in the cold. Of course, this rule is somewhat exaggerated, but the essence of it is absolutely true. Scientists confirm that the maximum comfort a person experiences when his legs are in a higher temperature than the head. That is why in the spring we continue to wear warm shoes, long abandoning the hat. The system “warm floor” allows you to create exactly such conditions – maximum radiant heating in the foot area and minimal – in the head area.
- Warm underfloor. No matter how trite it sounds, but the main advantage of the “warm floor” system is precisely the sensation of heat from the floor surface – which gives you incomparable comfort.
Varieties of the floor warming systems
As we have already explained, the heating of the premises in this system is provided by heating the underfloor. This is common to all varieties of the system. But the radiant heating of the floor can be carried out in different ways. Specifically, which type of heating is involved, the types of the warm floor are determined.
At the moment, the following heating methods and the types of system they determine are used.
Under Floor Electric Radiant Heat
Note! This is the most common alternative. The basis of an electric warm floor is a heating cable that converts electrical energy into heat.
This type of heating has gained popularity due to a number of advantages, among which:
- simplicity of installation;
- low cost of materials;
- accuracy of the heating temperature adjustment, which allows to fully automate the heating operation.
But at the same time the electric floor heating has a serious drawback – a very high cost of operation. Count “for the light” is traditionally the leader in the high cost in the accounts of public utilities. Therefore, it is not surprising that the heating system, which uses electricity for the production of heat, is quite expensive.
Due to this circumstance, electric floor heating is used only as an auxiliary heat source and is included, as a rule, for relatively short periods of time. The benefit of electric floor heating is easily equipped with a timer that provides heating at the right time automatically.
Water warming floor system
We can say that the water-heated floor is a radiator heated in the screed. The surface is heated by the heat carrier circulating through the pipeline – hot water, less often oil.
Due to its advantages and disadvantages, the water-heated floor is the complete opposite of the electric one. Installation of a water heating system is expensive and complicated. Circulation of the coolant is forced by means of a pump. In addition, in order for the heating to be comfortable, the pipeline must be laid with as little as possible a step. Otherwise, the surface of the floor creates a perceptible cold zone. But decreasing the pitch automatically leads to an extension of the heated pipeline.
Unlike the electric underfloor heating, where the heating cable can theoretically be of any length, increasing the length of the pipeline in the system of the water-heated floor requires a proportional increase in the pump’s power – to maintain the pressure of the coolant – or install additional pumps. And this, in turn, increases the load on the electricity grid.
But it is the method of heating with a liquid coolant that has a minimum cost of operation. You can activate the water-heated floor throughout the heating season, which allows you to thoroughly unload the main heating system, and even completely replace it.
Important! It is forbidden to connect a water-heated floor to the central heating system of an apartment building. This can cause a significant drop in pressure in the heating circuit, making the heating of the upper floors impossible.
This is a trade-off between a water heated and an electric option. The floor is heated by a liquid coolant, which, in turn, receives heat from the heating cable laid directly in the pipeline. This type of installation is rather rare.
Floor Coil Heating Systems
Important! In this version a special film is used, which has the ability to heat up when electricity is connected.
Heating film can be of two types:
Types of film use different heating principles, but from the point of view of the user they do not have significant differences.
An important feature of the coil heating method is that it is the only warm floor, the types of which do not require a major overhaul of the floor construction for installation, repair or dismantling. A water, electric or combined warm floor is installed directly in the screed. Their installation takes place during the construction phase or major repairs. And for subsequent repair or dismantling, it is required to open the screed.
At the same time, the heating film is laid on top of the screed under the finish coat, which is feasible within the framework of cosmetic repairs.
Film warm floor is the best solution for heating balconies and loggias.
Of course, this article does not pretend to be a comprehensive analysis. We have only tried to cover in general terms the currently existing types of warm floors, which can be used for underfloor heating for laminate, for concrete floors or for underfloor heating under tiles. We hope that our information will be useful to you when choosing the heating system that is most suitable for your home.