Sunday, 23 November 2008

The Basics Of Floor Heating

Indoor climate control in cold regions is very important. As per ergonomics the floor temperature should range between 19 to 29 degrees C and the air temperature should range between 20 to 24 degrees C for maximum efficiency. There are two types of indoor climate control namely convection type and radiant type. Convection type heats the air then air is moved around the interiors. Convection type uses systems like radiators, blowers and fireplaces. Radiant heating systems heat the floor using air, liquid or electricity.

A radiant system is a modern and superior system to a convection type system. The convection system heats the air and does not heat the floor whereas the ideal system should heat the floor more than the air. In a convection system the air tends to escape as it becomes lighter and moves towards the ceiling. Further convection systems can be harmful to people suffering from allergies or asthma as air is circulated. A convection system is not aesthetically good to look at, whereas the radiant systems go underneath the floor and are invisible.

Air Type Floor Heating System

In this system the air is heated in a central radiator and passed through pipes underneath the floor. However air heating systems are not popular because they are unable to retain heat over time. Hence they are used only where little heat is required such as mildly cold regions.

Water or Liquid Type Floor Heating System

In this type warm water is circulated in pipes laid under the floor. Usually 5/8-inch tubes are used. The water is heated in a boiler and circulated by means of thermo siphon. Thermo siphon is a natural system to flow water in tubes. A small pump is used to purge air bubbles trapped in the tubes. There are cutoff valves in case you want to heat a particular room and not other rooms. The tubes usually have a life of 100 years and require very little maintenance. The same system can be used to circulate chilled water if the weather becomes hot. This system is the most common and electricity savings of 40 to 15% are common.

Electricity Type Floor Heating

In this type of system electric coils are laid underneath the floor. The main advantage of this system is the floor build up. It can be as low as 3 millimeters. The coils are installed on an insulation board like marmox and then the flooring is tiled over using tile adhesives. This system has faster warm up times compared to other systems. Floor heating systems can be installed on almost any type of floor such as concrete, tile, vinyl, linoleum, ceramic tiles, hardwood etc. Ceramics are most commonly used as they have higher thermal mass and good aesthetics.

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