By floor heating we mean the surface of the room on which we walk and under which you will find a specific layout using an electric heating cable or an electric heating mat. No matter what the set-up, the system must be field-installed by a competent professional. Factory-made heating cables can be made finished on a spool in a roll form or between fabrics made especially for this type of application (heating mat). Wherever the heating cable is installed, the floor surface becomes like a large radiator.
Floor heating is installed primarily for reasons of comfort. It is popular in the bathroom, hallway, kitchen and basement. We can even install the floor heating system in the whole house. A floor heated by means of an electric cable may generate unexpected savings; some studies show a savings of up to 25%*. These are, however, difficult to assess because it all depends on the type of construction of the house, its insulation and comfort threshold or heating preferences of family members. In fact, the choice of electric heating you make for your home should be, above all, to meet your comfort needs.
One of the most appealing features of floor heating is that it is invisible: No trace of its existence! At first glance, there are no heating units visible along baseboards of walls and no air vents to be seen anywhere in the room. It therefore offers greater flexibility in placing furniture and curtains and other decorative items.
The heating cable can be installed under a variety of floor coverings. Materials that retain heat as long as possible are a better choice (natural stone and ceramic tiles, for example). Contrarily, you should avoid installing carpet, as it creates a complicated filter for the transmission of radiant heat between the floor surface and the space above.
We have all felt the effects of the sun on a concrete sidewalk or asphalt street at the end of a beautiful sunny day. The mass that constitutes these surfaces continues to release the heat it has accumulated over the day, despite the absence of the sun. There is an analogy that may explain the performance of in-floor heating. The flooring accumulates heat radiated by the floor heating system in function. When a power outage occurs, the accumulated heat still continues to radiate for several minutes. It's a bit like having sunshine under the floor.
The heating cable emits rays in all directions and this allows the furniture, objects or persons in the path of its rays to absorb the radiated heat. The result obtained is a heat that does not accumulate in the upper part of the room, because the air, which is not a mass per se, is not heated. The heat sensation is unique and equal in the middle as well as in every corner of the room.
The heat from the floor is sufficient enough to dry a freshly mopped floor in a matter of minutes.
If the heating cable only has a small floor surface available to cover and the volume of the room requires more wattage then supplemental heating may be required. For example, a convector or fan heater can be used in addition to the floor heating cable to achieve the required wattage.
In-floor heating is totally inaudible: no motor, no fan, therefore no movement of air. This means that the air in the room, as a result of this system, is totally inert and carries much less dust and allergens. Indeed, dust can contain several undesirable elements such mites, fungal spores, dander (dead skin particles) of domestic animals, etc. People with chronic allergies are well advised to consider the installation of a floor heating system.
ELECTRIC FLOOR HEATING
It is achieved either by installing a roll of a given length of cable or a cable ready for use enclosed in a mat. The heating cable contains a host of benefits. It is inaudible and undetectable to the eye, it produces a soft and uniform heat and is easy and fast to install.
The heating cable also has the particularity that it can be either installed in an existing home or in a new home. It does not invade on any space in the house and does not require any special maintenance. Its energy source is straightforward: a simple electrical connection.
HYDRONIC OR GLYCOL FLOOR HEATING
The installation of a heat transfer floor system is more complex than that of the electric floor heating. This is a system composed of several interconnected elements. We must often isolate the area to be used, distribute pipes designed specifically for use, bury them in a concrete slab and connect them to a power source (boiler or reservoir connected to gas, oil or electricity, or even a heat pump).
It is discreet and produces a nice heat, but requires special space for units to heat the circulating fluid. It may entail motor noises in some cases.
Its installation is complicated and expensive and is more easily installed in a new house. Unlike the electrical cable system, it requires complex testing and periodic maintenance.
*Franco Michael. «How Does Radiant Heat Operate 25% More Efficiently?» [en ligne].
http://www.bobvila.com/articles/radiant-floor-heating-efficiency/#.VYnBj..., consultée le 30 janvier 2015.