underfloor heating

FAQ



How does underfloor heating work?
Underfloor heating systems utilise radiant heat. This far infrared heating system heats objects in the room. This is opposed to traditional central heating systems, which heat the air.

What is radiant heat?

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Radiant heat is a unique transfer of energy that naturally searches out colder objects to warm. Radiant heating systems can be installed in the floor (underfloor heating) or ceiling and use this system to heat the room. 

Instead of heating the air, radiant floor heating systems heat the surface of objects or people in the room. These surfaces then gently warm the surrounding air creating a natural warmth with minimal temperature variation in different points in the room.

How efficient & clean are underfloor heating systems?
Traditional central heating systems work by heating water in the radiator. This then heats the air which creates air currents as warm air rises and cold air falls due to differences in their density. This creates a temperature differential in the room with the ceiling space being heated first. This can create a stuffy environment and can result in an uncomfortable feeling of “hot head / cold feet”.
 
Radiant heat is the most efficient form of heat distribution available. The objects in the room are heated first and they then gently warm the surrounding air. This means that the air temperatures can be lowered in the room whilst still maintaining comfort levels, resulting in a reduction in heating bills.

As the air does not circulate there are no draughts created. Dust is not circulated in the room which brings higher comfort levels, especially for allergy sufferers. There is more even vertical heat distribution throughout the room which is far closer to the ideal distribution. 

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Would underfloor heating suit my home?

Underfloor heating systems can be installed under almost any surface. The systems are also completely invisible and quiet in operation. Conventional warm water radiators do not contribute to the aesthetics of a room and can reduce room space. Installing a radiant floor or ceiling heating system allows more flexibility in creating the perfect living environment.

Do I need insulation?

Installing Ecomax insulation boards is highly recommended when fitting Flexel International cable mats or loose heating cable. The insulation boards will dramatically cut warm up times. This will mean less energy is used heating the floor. As a result, your bills will be lower.

While it is highly recommended that you install insulation boards under cable mats or loose cable, it is not necessary if you cannot build the floor up.

However, if you are installing EcoFilm heating element, it is vital that you use the EcoMax-Lite insulation. This will protect the element from any moisture in the sub-floor, which can cause nuisance tripping of the RCD. The insulation also provides excellent sound insulation, which is vital when using a laminate floor covering.

Whatever underfloor heating system you use, it is sensible to invest in proper insulation. This will keep your system running efficiently and save you money over the life of the system.


Underfloor Heating Heat Up Time
Timber sub-floor with 10mm Ecomax insulation 0.5 hours
Concrete sub-floor with 10mm Ecomax insulation  1 hour
Concrete Sub-floor with insulation below the concrete slab  2-5 hours
Un-insulated concrete 3-8+ hours





What does underfloor heating offer that traditional heating does not?

There are many benefits of electric underfloor heating compared to traditional central heating systems. Flexel underfloor heating systems utilise radiant heat. This uses infrared energy to heat the people and objects in the room. This means that the overall temperature can be lowered will still maintaining a comfortable environment.

Traditional radiators heat the air in the room. This causes air circulation, as the changes in density cause hot air to rise and cold air to fall. As well as causing temperature differentials in the room (it will be hotter nearer the ceiling compared to the floor), the circulating air can also move dust and other allergens around the room.

This has obvious implications to sufferers of asthma and similar conditions. Radiant underfloor heating does not cause air circulation, which means allergens are not spread around the room. Other benefits include:
 
  • Luxury of a heated floor, especially in winter
  • Keeps wall space free from radiators
  • Low surface temperature (typically 27-30°C, compared to 65-80°C for a conventional radiator system)
  • Reduced temperature differences and reduced dust circulation.
What are typical running costs of underfloor heating?

Electric underfloor heating from Flexel International can cost as little as 5p per square meter,

This is based on running the system for 7 hours a day. While exact costs will depend on your own individual tariff, insulation is a much bigger influence on the running costs of underfloor heating. The better insulated the floor, the quicker the warm up times will be and then less energy will be used. Ecomax insulation boards will dramatically reduce warm up times, saving you money every time you use your underfloor heating system.

Some customers may consider not using insulation boards as they are concerned about the floor build up. However, using 6mm insulation boards, along with our ultrathin cable mats should only result in a total build-up of 10mm.

That is not a lot, when you consider the savings you will make in running costs. Running costs can also be affected by the heat losses in the room. Areas with high heat losses, such as conservatories can see higher running costs.

In this case, you may want to consider installing our 200W/m2 EcoFloor cable mat. The higher power output means your underfloor heating system will reach temperature quicker, to compensate for the heat losses. Many people still view electric underfloor heating as an expensive option. However, the installation and running costs provide excellent value for money.

What are typical running costs of radiant heating panels?

Compared to traditional radiators, radiant heating panels are highly efficient – which leads to lower running costs.

Traditional convection radiators work by heating the air around them. The air circulates around the room, eventually heating the people and objects in the room. However, heating the air in this way can take a long time. And if you are trying to heat a large room, this can take a lot of energy. This results in high costs.

Radiant heating panels do not waste energy attempting to heat the air. Instead, infrared energy is emitted which directly heats the people and objects in the room. As a result, the temperature can be reduced without affected comfort levels. A radiant heating panel will provide the same level of comfort as a convection radiator using typically 40% of the power. For example, a 500W GR panel from Flexel International would provide the same comfort level as a 1200W convection heater.

Based a tariff where electricity is 12.5p/kWh, and the panel being on for five hours a day, the GR panel would cost about 25p a day to run.

The convection heater would cost around 75p a day.
This results in savings of around £60 per year. However, the savings from radiant heating panels could be even greater.

The example does not take heat up times into account. Radiant panels provide almost instantaneous heat, so they will probably be kept on for less time than convection heaters.
Convection heaters have to warm up slowly, and then they have to warm the surrounding air. It is only then that people will begin to feel the warmth.

Running costs are bound to be one of the biggest considerations when looking at an electric heater. That is why we are so proud of our energy efficient range of radiant heating panels.


How do I choose the right radiant heating panels?

At Flexel International we manufacture and supply a wide range of radiant heating panels. The panel that is right for you depends on your own personal preferences and requirements.

For example, if you want a discrete source of heating, you may want to consider a ceiling panel. This will provide energy efficient radiant heating without taking up any wall space. However, if you want a radiant heating panel to be a focal point in your room, you should choose one of our custom printed heating panels.

These include a high quality digital print. This can be one of a selection of beautiful standard prints, or you can send your own image to be added. There are also textured radiant heating panels available.

The textured surface, which increases the surface area by 2.5 times, results in more efficient heat generation. There are many options including radiant panel size, colour, surface texture and wall or ceiling mounting. The design of your room, the décor and budget should all be considered when choosing a radiant heating panel.

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