Bosna i Hercegovina

An electric flooring system may be just what you’re looking for


For whom is electric floor heating?

Electric underfloor heating has so far been used mainly as an additional, supplementary thermal support, such as in the bathroom or hallway, if we wanted a pleasantly warm floor effect in these places. It was something of a heating gadget, to the pleasure of our feet. Concerned about the high price of electricity, we used them less often on a wider scale. Today, this trend is reversing. What is the reason for this?

Electric alternative to water heating

In terms of investment and installation, electric floor heating is one of the cheapest heating solutions. Water underfloor heating requires a lot more effort and money. In order for it to work, we need a complete plumbing system: a boiler to heat the water (or a heat pump with a buffer), a manifold to distribute the heat, and pipes to heat the floor. It’s a demanding system, quite an undertaking and a big expense.

Electric flooring is not so complicated. It doesn’t require plumbing, moisture insulation, screeding, or solid floor preparation. Installation is quick and really easy – especially if you use heating mats, in which heating cables are placed on a fiberglass mesh. Slightly more time-consuming is the laying of the heating cables, but even this is much less difficult than the installation of the water system. Heating mats can be used both in new construction and in the complete modernization of older buildings that have been in use for years.

Does electric floor heating pay for itself in terms of operation? What advantages does it have, what disadvantages? Where will it perform well? Today we will try to comprehensively answer these questions.

Why electric underfloor heating is becoming increasingly popular

More than likely, this has to do with the increasing popularity of home photovoltaics, which allow us to minimize electricity charges – and sometimes even reduce them completely. If we are prosumers of electricity, our perspective changes 180 degrees. Electricity charges no longer scare us. Moreover, other heating energy becomes a burden on the budget – since we can use PV panels and free electricity. In such a situation, electric floor heating is the best choice: uncomplicated installation plus fabulously cheap operation. The convenience of use, functionality and cheapness of electric floor heating is then fully appreciated. It can be the main heating of the building.

Electric floor heating also has other advantages

Electric heating is environmentally friendly. It can use energy obtained from RES (solar, water, wind). Energy losses are minimal – in fact, 100 percent of it is converted into heat. This type of heating provides a high level of thermal comfort, and at the same time does not create by-products of burning, does not poison the environment, does not pollute the air we breathe. It is easy to control, thanks to modern building automation. Electric flooring is an automated, almost maintenance-free proposition. It will easily become an element of a smart home (control of heating via the Internet, smart scenarios).

What’s more, the heating process is a long one with water-based flooring. The pipes are laid low, under the concrete screed, which must heat up before the heat reaches the floor – under our feet. This takes time. On the other hand, electric flooring is installed directly against the floor, which reduces the thermal inertia of underfloor heating and shortens the time it takes to heat the floor. In short: it gets warm faster.

What on the one hand is an advantage can become a disadvantage. Since electric flooring has less thermal inertia than water flooring, it takes less time to heat up, but also takes less time to give off heat, and accumulates heat more poorly. That is, it cools down faster. This is something to keep in mind.

Electric floor heating is safe. Throughout its lifetime it does not require pre-season maintenance (this period lasts on average from 20 years upwards, and it is said even 50 years of trouble-free operation). For proper installation we need an experienced professional – that’s clear – but electric heating done in accordance with the art of construction is technologically safe from possible punctures and electric shock – and actually the user is protected from it. If done decently, we are safe. Moreover, the use of electric heating mats or cables is much safer than gas or coal heating. The risk of carbon monoxide poisoning or explosion disappears. It is also cleaner and healthier.

In that case, what do you need to watch out for?

Of course, on the cost of operation. There is no fooling, in this topic you can strongly „swim”. However, this does not apply only to electric heating. If we want to control operating expenses, we need a good understanding, knowledge of energy tariffs, consumption plan and individual calculations. There is no universal recipe for cheap heating.

With the current prices of heating fuels, the situation is no longer as clear-cut as it was even two or three years ago. Back then, electricity as the main heating medium was highly questionable – compared to natural gas or traditional coal. Electricity prices were never competitive. But now everything is expensive.

Heating on electricity can be cost-effective, especially if you heat small rooms comfortably or only one or two rooms, and the rest of the interior economically. After all, the whole house/apartment doesn’t have to „gush with heat.” There is rarely such a need and few people like it.

Besides, the monthly cost of electric floor heating can be planned. In a smart home, electricity consumption is watched over by rules arranged with the economy of consumption in mind. Thus, we do not have to give up the convenience and comfort of this solution. Modern floor mats are energy efficient. They are no power eaters over which we have no control. If we control the heat intake wisely, we will successfully keep the fees in check.

Let us once again remind you of the option to invest in photovoltaic panels and use surplus production, which can reduce electricity costs to zero.

Besides, modern technologies and controllers equipped with operating algorithms that prioritize energy efficiency help us save money. Manual management of intake has never been and will never be efficient. And in the case of underfloor heating in general it seems on average possible. Automation is a condition for success. Therefore, with electric floor heating, it is worth relying on zone temperature control. Not just to make it convenient, but to make it cheaper.

Thermostats for electric floor heating

We already know (not only from today’s article, by the way, because we repeat it at every opportunity) that heating control is needed, and not – as some mistakenly believe – optional. In the case of underfloor heating, whether water or electric, it is even necessary. Without it, it would be difficult to control the temperature throughout the building, let alone adjust it to the daily rhythm of the day. Thermostats really help to reduce charges. After all, the principle is logical: the heating system is most active during morning and evening busyness and in the rooms we use, while when the household members are absent, its activity decreases. Individual programming of active heating periods is a proven savings strategy.

Modern thermostats „learn” the building (e.g., the TPI algorithm), collect information about how quickly the room heats up, when to turn on and off to maintain the set temperature, with the lowest energy consumption. Such algorithms can optimize the system and bring heating savings of up to 30%.

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