Floor Heating FAQ's
Get answers to your floor heating questions – running costs, prices, after sales support, floor heating guidelines and other topics here.
If we have not answered all your questions, please do not hesitate to contact one of our Speedheat consultants on our toll free line 0800-112215 or complete the contact form below.
We will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
Absolutely! Existing wall to wall carpeting and laminate flooring can carefully be lifted and laid down again after the installation.
The slight build-up height (less than 1,5mm) is particularly practical when you install new flooring on top of an existing floor.
For best results however, it would be best to remove the existing flooring and install insulation underneath the heating with the new flooring on top. This requires a build-up height of 5 – 25 mm depending on the type and thickness of the floor insulation to be installed. Your Speedheat consultant will advise you correctly to suit your requirements. For more information on different floor build-ups refer to Products.
The required power depends on many factors such as, inter alia, how well the room(s) are insulated and the available floor surface area you wish to heat. Generally we work on 60 – 80% coverage. Heating will generally not be extended under cabinets, wardrobes or heavy furniture and also not under beds. Your Speedheat consultant will advise you on the correct power for your home and your requirements.
Response time is from 30 – 45 minutes, depending on the floor finish and the insulation installed.
The Speedheat heating element is less than 1.5 mm in diameter, is absolutely safe and complies with all existing safety standards. Thanks to the thin element, the Speedheat heating system can be installed quickly, only minimal build-up height is required. The heating element is just underneath your flooring and in that way you experience the comfortable radiant heat almost immediately after switching on.
Electric heating of an entire home is very well possible and often done. The big advantage with Speedheat is that you can control the temperature in each room individually with multi-function programmable and smart thermostats. This helps reduce energy consumption, especially in rooms that are not being used. You never have to worry about forgetting your heating on when leaving home.
Energy consumption depends on each individual’s comfort needs. However, 1kW of floor heating will be more efficient and cheaper to run than a 1 kW conventional heater, due to thermostat control and the even spread of the heating over the floor surface. You can save up to 50% on running costs by installing proper flooring insulation and the correct use of programmable controllers. See our running cost calculations below in the next question.
Please keep in mind when comparing costs: floor heating is not the only contributor to a higher electricity bill in winter. In winter geyser duty cycles are longer, lights are on longer, stoves and ovens are used more compared to summer braais and salads.
Speedheat supplies various types of insulation which can be retrofitted on top of your existing floor. The type of insulation depends on the available build-up height. READ MORE ON ENERGY SAVING FACTS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT FLOOR HEATING.
Let’s Do The Math
Running costs depends on the following: your current electricity rate (R/kWh), the capacity of the heater installed, and the occupancy in a particular room. If the rate is R1.44/kWh and a heater with a capacity of 2000 watts is installed in a 20m² room, for example, the calculation would be as follows:
2000 W / 1000 = 2kW.
2kW x R1.44 = R2.88 p/hour. (for the first hour only)
Remember that with the use of a thermostat, this would be the running cost for the first hour only (or the amount of time taken to reach the set temperature). Once the room is warmed up, the heating system will run typically at a 30-50% duty cycle (depending on the outside temperature), this means the running cost would be < R2.88 p/ hour thereafter. Think about it this way: if 2000 watts of heating is installed in your room, it is effectively the same power usage as using your hairdryer non stop for hours at a time. When a thermostat switches the heater on and off as needed, the power usage is less over that time.
The installation of floor insulation further reduces energy consumption as your heating system will reach the set temperature much quicker (usually between 30 – 45 minutes depending on the floor finish), positively influencing your running cost within the first hour. Insulation also allows for a lower capacity heater to be installed.
Some rooms have less occupancy, for example, bathrooms. Let’s look at running an underfloor heating system in a bathroom:
For this example, let’s assume a medium sized bathroom of 9m² and a heater with a capacity of 950 watts is installed. The calculation would be as follows:
950 W / 1000 = 0.95 kW.
0.95kW x R1.44 = R1.37p/hour for the first hour only. After the first hour, your running costs should reduce to about R0.68 p/hour.
Also, remember that bathrooms are generally used for the first 3 hours in the morning and 3 hours in the evening at the most when everybody is home from work and school again.
As mentioned, these costs will also be reduced with the installation of floor insulation underneath the floor heating system.
A thermostat will ensure optimum comfort while running of the system remains cost effective.
The desired temperature (called the setpoint) is programmed into the thermostat. Once this setpoint is reached, the thermostat automatically switches the heating on and off, maintaining the room temperature at this set point. This means that your heating system is working a 50% duty cycle, it is not demanding a continuous supply of electric current, hereby reducing your energy consumption. READ MORE ON THERMOSTATS.
This depends largely on the user and how frequently a room is being used.
Not much energy is saved by maintaining a lower temperature when the rooms are not in use, due to the quick response time of the systems anyway. The heating system will however warm up much quicker when needed the next time, so it is advisable for a living room that is used everyday all day for example.
Not at all! Speedheat is maintenance free and has a lifetime expectancy. Speedheat offers a 7 year product AND installation warranty for complete peace of mind!
Yes! Speedheat electric floor heating systems and thermostats can be run off a generator, UPS or Solar PV system with no problem at all. Very much like any electrical appliance in your home, as long as capacity is not exceeded, you can still enjoy your floor heating.
AFTER SALES SUPPORT
Speedheat underfloor heating is a maintenance free floor heating system that lasts a lifetime.
Speedheat offers a 7 year product AND installation warranty.
Speedheat offers a 2 year warranty on all thermostats.
- Should you experience any problems with your heating system, contact us on the call centre number
0800 11 22 15.
- The call centre consultant will ask a few questions to determine whether a service or support technician be sent out.
- A booking will then be made with the relevant technician.
- Speedheat gladly replaces thermostats that are still under warranty.
- Should a repair be necessary on the heating system, the support technician will pinpoint where the fault is with our testing equipment. The heater can often be repaired by lifting one tile only.
- Speedheat will gladly replace under carpet and under laminate heating systems under warranty, should there be a factory fault.
Speedheat stands for quality. This also includes proper handling of possible complaints. We can learn a lot from your complaints, experiences and suggestions and therefore we take your complaints seriously. You can lodge your complaint with the Speedheat consultant or report the matter by means of our contact form.
You may also contact us by telephone on our toll free number: 0800 11 22 15.
COMPARING HOME HEATING SYSTEMS
With convection heating, air is being heated which subsequently rises to the ceiling whilst cold air gets sucked to the bottom of the heater. An oil-filled fin heater or reverse cycle air conditioner are typical convection heaters. The heat transfer from such heaters is 85% by convection (air flow) and about 15% is by thermal radiation. This air circulation causes drying of the skin as well as evaporative cooling.
Floor heating provides a much more comfortable environment as the heat is radiated evenly from the floor, leaving no cold spots, improving your comfort levels.
Heat generated from electric floor heating is radiant heat (like the warmth of the sun). Radiant heat does not warm the air directly, but it warms all solid objects, including obviously, the occupants. There is minimal convection, giving you that tip-toe comfort.
Note the difference in comfort levels in the below diagrams:
In this example, to achieve the same comfort levels experienced with floor heating, the convection heater standing in the corner of the room, would have to be turned up to atleast 45 – 50 Degrees Celsius, whilst the floor heating system will run at 26 Degrees Celsius, saving on energy consumption.
Hydronic systems use water as the heat transfer fluid that is circulated through a network of pipes between the floor and the boiler.
The concrete slab acts as a thermal mass to retain heat, so that you have a large hot block underneath your floor. Because of this thermal mass, systems take long to heat up.
Take a look at our comparison table. We’ve summed up the pros and cons of each heating system:
SPEEDHEAT FLOOR HEATING VS HYDRONIC UNDER FLOOR HEATING SYSTEMS.
Hydronic underfloor heating is better suited for the European climate with long cold winters. The high thermal mass does not allow the heating system to respond quickly to changing weather conditions.
GUIDELINES WHEN CHOOSING A FLOOR HEATING INSTALLER
This can be a rather confusing and overwhelming task.
To ensure you invest in a safe, quality product that lasts a lifetime, we’ve listed some guidelines:
When requesting a quotation, ensure the sales consultant listens attentively to your heating needs and requirements. This is very important during the initial consultation, as this will ensure that your expectations are met accurately. Ask questions where you are not sure.
The heating consultant should take the following into consideration before recommending any product:
- Your individual comfort levels and your expectations from your system.
- An assessment of the area you wish to heat and possible heat loss areas (large bay windows in an open living area).
- The direction the room is facing.
- Insulation already installed (ceiling, floor and windows).
- Whether or not you wish to install floor insulation below the heating system (this will affects the power density needed to effectively and efficiently heat the room).
All these factors affect the performance of your heating system.
You do not want to compromise your safety.
- Heating elements should have a full earth screen (0.5mm² according to IEC standards). Fully earthed heaters need to be installed in all areas of your home, not just in wet areas like kitchens and bathrooms.
- The electrical installation must comply with the SANS 10142 wiring code.
If you have any doubt about the legality of your installation please check with your electrician, who has a copy of the SANS 10142 wiring code, or check with the local authority, which issues the Certificate of Electrical Compliance.
Most homeowners are not familiar with the SANS wiring code. The problem often only becomes apparent when a property is being sold and an Electrical Certificate of Compliance cannot be issued.
QUALITY AND PRODUCT STANDARDS
To ensure processes comply with quality standards, quality management systems should be ISO certified. This means the management systems comply with the ISO standards.
ISO 9001:2008 being the most recent audit.
IEC, CSA, UL are international organizations that regulate quality, product and safety standards.
PEACE OF MIND IS IMPORTANT!
Ensure that you are using a reputable, reliable underfloor heating supplier, not a fly-by-night company.
Ask about warranties and after-sales support. Do some homework on the supplier’s background and history. Check previous projects and experience.
Should there be a problem with your underfloor heating system, you want peace of mind knowing that someone knowledgeable and professional will be there to attend to it.
A Speedheat consultant will advise you on the best floor build up to suit your floor finish and requirements.