Electric underfloor heating. Heating wires and mats

Last updated: Sep 14, 2020

Electric underfloor heating with modern systems, provide high comfort of use. The heating cables and mats of which the system consists do not require annual technical inspections or maintenance.

However, these are not the only advantages of this system. Electric underfloor heating (like water) is invisible, as it is located under the floor and therefore does not interfere with the interior design. Another advantage is low investment costs (e.g. you do not need to build a chimney, allocate one of the rooms to the boiler room) and efficiency of up to 100%. Also, this heating ensures a temperature distribution close to the ideal – the warmest is on the floor, where the coldness for man is most felt. Let us also note that the ducts and heating mats reflect heat primarily by radiation and only to a slight extent through convection, which provokes air movement. As a result, the dust rise is limited, especially will be appreciated by allergy sufferers.

Types of heating wires

  1. Fixed (or fixed-resistance) and variable (variable) cables are available on the market. Under the influence of the 230 V current flowing through them, heat is generated, which is transmitted to the room.
  2. Fixed-range cables – although single-and-sided cables are available, the former is most often used because of their simpler installation. These wires consist of two separated heating veins, located in a layer of insulation. It is located on the screen, which connects to the ground. The screen is covered with a layer of external protective insulation.
  3. Fixed-resistance cables are offered on the market in ready-made kits. The heating power of the set depends on the unit power of the cable (it usually varies from 10 to 20 W/m) and its length (from a few to tens of meters).
  4. Attention! Do not be afraid to burn the fixed-end wires, if you set furniture on such a floor. They should have legs, but already a small space, even about 1 cm, allows heat to be fed through this part of the floor. It is also worth noting that the heat heats the spout in all its thickness.
  5. Variporous – in these wires, separate copper wires are connected along the entire length with a solid-state composite. The amount of heat generated by the cable depends on the ambient temperature in which it is located. When this falls, the wire captures more heat and vice versa. Hence their popular self-regulating name.
  6. Variable-resistance cables are not purchased in finished sets. After selecting their power, they are cut to the appropriate length at the installation site by the installer.

Types of heating mats

The mats are in the form of a plastic mesh with a fixed width of 50 cm, but different lengths. A cable with a small diameter is woven into it. Their thickness is only 2.5-4.4 mm. Current can be brought to them: one-sided – the mats have one power cord, so they are laid quite straight, or double-sided – they have two power cords, which need to be brought to the electric can, in which there will be a temperature controller.

Choosing how to heat

In a well-insulated house, underfloor heating in the electric version can be arranged in three ways.

  • accumulation – this solution uses the thermal capacity of the concrete layer with a thickness of
  • The wires are laid in the cable so that their heating power is 150-170 W/m2. They are powered by electricity during the cheaper tariff, and the spout accumulates (accumulates) the heat they generate and gradually gives it back over the next hours during the day.
  • Attention! Energy companies for investors heating the house with electricity offer m.in. G12 two-zone tariff, where we will pay less for energy at night (usually 22-6 hours) and during the day (13-15 hours).
  • non-accumulation – this method differs from the previous one in that the heating cables are arranged in a thinner spout; as a rule, it is 5 cm thick.
  • Direct – in this system, ultra-thin cables and heating mats are placed in a layer of glue under the plates so that their power is 100-160 W/m2. The heating is controlled by temperature controllers equipped with a programmer that allows you to set a daily schedule of the heating system.

Electric underfloor heating systems have been known and used for many years. Over time, one-sided heating cables appeared on the market (two veins of the heating element conducted under common insulation), which thanks to a simpler installation gradually began to displace the single-core wires. The changing technology of building houses, which aims to reduce their need for increasingly expensive energy, also forces a change in expectations for the elements of electric underfloor heating. On the one hand, the use of lower power heating systems requires, while maintaining uniformity of heating, a reduction in the load on the unit heating lines. On the other hand, the system’s response to changing thermal conditions should be faster and faster. This is achieved by placing the heating element directly under the finishing layer of the floor. This layer is increasingly diverse (ceramic tiles, laminate panels, floorboards, etc.) and it is rather difficult to locate in it a traditional heating cable with a relatively large diameter. On the market, therefore, heating mats are offered made of wires with diameters of 3-4 mm, aluminum mats, or the latest solutions, i.e. heating films.

Electric underfloor heating in houses with low heat demand is a good solution because it is a low-temperature system, non-central so that we have the possibility of heating each of the rooms individually. Direct heating is a recommended option. When choosing devices, it is necessary to take into account the low unit power of the wires and heating mats, to ensure an even distribution of temperature over the largest possible area of the room. Therefore, 5 and 10 W/m power cables and 60- and 70 W/m heating mats seem ideal. Wires and mats

should be arranged just below the finishing material. For example, super-thin wires (e.g. UltraTec and DM) can be installed in an adhesive mortar or self-leveling screed. The mats available in the range are best suited for dry installation (e.g. ELEKTRA WoodTec™ – thanks to its design, these mats will provide the right power-to-surface ratio). This will avoid high operating costs and overheating of rooms at a time of high heat gains.

An alternative solution is to place heating cables with a power of 5-10 W/m (e.g. ELEKTRA VCD) in a concrete screed.

Manufacturers provide up to 20 years warranty on hoses and heating mats if they are installed following the instructions. Only an electrician with privileges can connect them to the electrical system.

Installation methods

Electric underfloor heating can be installed using the wet or dry method.

Heating cables. In a wet system, after laying thermal and moisture insulation, a metal or plastic mesh is decomposed into which the wires are attached. They are then covered with a concrete spout. In the dry method, cables are laid in contoured grooves on hard polystyrene plates with a thickness of 14-15 mm.

Heating mats. In the wet method, the mat is placed in a thin layer of glue or concrete screed. Wet-mounted mats have a fixed-power heating cable, pre-attached to a plastic mesh – the most popular are self-adhesive (covered with a layer of glue), which simplifies installation. In turn, the dry system is used in rooms where panels or a sandwich board will be arranged.

Here, the mat is covered with aluminum foil guaranteeing an even heat distribution on the panel surface. The lower layer is a fiberglass mesh, giving you high mechanical resistance. On the bottom there is polypropylene foam, eliminating small irregularities of the substrate, while at the same time sounding the sounds of steps.

Electric mats can be laid on their own. However, in order not to lose the warranty must be connected by an electrician with the appropriate SEP privileges.

What remote control should I choose?

For the control of electric underfloor heating, we offer electronic, programmable thermostats. These deice allow the heating system to be remotely adjusted from the on your smartphone. By connecting the thermostats located in the house to the wi-fi network, the user can check and change the temperature setting in individual rooms, set a heating schedule, for example, so that the installation works only in a cheaper zone in the calculation of electricity consumption in the popular G12 tariff (usually between 13-15 and 22-6). This is a very attractive solution, especially if we choose accumulation heating. These thermostats can also work with a direct electric heating system.

Electronic thermostats are usually intended for flush-mounting. They are equipped with two temperature measurement sensors at the factory – air and floor. Some models can be mounted in frames of many electrical fitting manufacturers. It is also possible to integrate them into existing systems on the wall, such as switches or sockets.

Electronic thermostats are available in several colors. Up to ten mobile devices (smartphones, tablets) can be connected to one thermostat, while two mobile devices can be controlled by a thermostat. Devices are usually covered by a warranty for several years.

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