Underfloor heating can be a nice addition to the heating system or be used as the main source of heating. Depending on the purpose and type of premises, one of the available options is selected. The possibility of installing a water underfloor heating is limited in apartments, the electrical system is universal. It is easy to install and fits under a variety of floor coverings
- Varieties of electric underfloor heating
- Heating mats
- Advantages and disadvantages of underfloor heating
- How to choose an electric floor for tiles
- DIY installation technology
- Installation of underfloor heating with mats
- Step-by-step instruction
- Laying mats
- Infrared floor installation
- Rules for the operation of underfloor heating under tiles
Varieties of electric underfloor heating
The universal version of the heating system can be used in any room, including a balcony. Electric underfloor heating is laid under tiles, laminate or wood. Each manufacturer indicates the permitted types of topcoat. Types of electric underfloor heating differ in the design of heating elements.
The simplest and cheapest option is to use a heating cable. The temperature rises due to the heating of the metal cores during the passage of an electric current. There are for the type of cable:
- Resistive - consists of one or two cores, protective braid and insulation. Heats evenly along the entire length. A single-core wire requires two ends to be brought together at one point when laying. The two-core version does not have such installation restrictions.
- Self-regulating - the copper strands of the wire are complemented by a semiconductor matrix. A special shield stops electromagnetic radiation. The temperature in different sections of the wire depends on the environment.
The cable heating element can be installed in any room configuration. Of the minuses: the need for screed installation and difficulties with repairs.
Improved heating cable application. The wire is already laid in coils and fixed to the fiberglass mesh. Models are available with single-core and double-core cables. The mats are sold in rolls and have couplings for connecting a thermostat. They can be installed on separate areas of the floor that require additional heating. The system works on the convection principle - warm air currents rise to the ceiling.
When choosing mats, it is not required to carry out complex calculations, their power is known in advance, it is indicated in the passport. In order not to lose the height of the room, laying directly into a layer of tile adhesive is allowed. The small thickness of the mats and the ease of installation make them the best option for tiling.
The infrared floor system is ahead of convective models in terms of uniformity and heat transfer rate. It is a thin multilayer film consisting of several elements:
- carbon heating plates;
- copper or silver conductors;
- protective PVC layer.
IR-film is used under laminate, linoleum, carpet or wood floor. Its thickness is about 0.4 mm. The room is heated by infrared radiation, while the air does not dry out. The advantage is dry installation without screed and glue.The film can be cut into sections along the marked lines.
Due to the parallel connection of IR strips, if one part breaks, the entire system does not fail.
Advantages and disadvantages of underfloor heating
The popularity of electric floor heating is due to its many advantages:
- Comfortable heat distribution scheme. Due to the operation of the system, the entire surface of the floor is heated. The large recoil area ensures the same temperature in different parts of the room. When using radiators, the floor remains cold, which causes discomfort to the owners of an apartment or house. With cable and infrared heating, the situation is changing dramatically. The most pleasant temperature is at the bottom.
- Concealed installation - the system does not violate the interior of the room, does not require free space.
- Due to the low temperature, convection currents from the heated surface are weak, they do not raise dust microparticles.
- Versatility - electric underfloor heating can be made in any room. The design does not make the overlap heavier, does not require an approval procedure.
- With professional installation, the system is fireproof.
- Electric underfloor heating is equipped with precise control devices that allow you to individually select the temperature.
Installing heating mats or infrared films is straightforward. The homeowner can handle the installation himself.
The disadvantages include the cost of electricity, the complexity of the repair and raising the floor level when laying the heating cable.
How to choose an electric floor for tiles
The combination of underfloor heating and ceramic tiles brings comfort and aesthetics to your home. When choosing a heating structure, its power and operating features are taken into account. Infrared foil, despite its effectiveness, is not suitable for tiling. High humidity and aggressive environment negatively affect the condition of the infrared floor. There are two options left: cable or mats.
Basic consumer requirements:
- durability and reliability;
- economical energy consumption;
- availability of installation;
- democratic cost.
The first advice when choosing is to buy products from a well-known brand. The brand rating will help you decide on the purchase. Among manufacturers of underfloor heating, the following companies are popular:
- Devi - electric heating systems are 2.5-4.5 mm thick, which slightly increases the floor level. The manufacturer's mats have different capacities, they are designed for installation in premises ranging from 0.5 to 12 sq. m.
- Thermo - the heating cable is reliably shielded to reduce electromagnetic radiation. Thermomats of the Swedish company are produced with an adhesive base or a foil layer. To control the temperature, there is a thermostat in the kit.
- Teplolux - the products of the Russian company are presented in a wide range of options for apartments, houses and offices. The heating system is equipped with everything you need for easy installation. The company has a 50-year guarantee.
- Rehau is a two-core, self-regulating cable with double insulation and protective braid. German floor heating systems in the form of mats have a self-adhesive base, which simplifies installation.
System recommendations depend on the type and area of the room. In a large private house, it is advisable to use heating mats, and for quick installation in an apartment, a film heat-insulated floor is suitable, which does not require significant installation costs.
The purpose of the system is also important - the main or additional source of heat. In the first case, the total heat loss of the room and the climate in the region are taken into account. The average design power of the structure is 120-180 W / kV. m. The topcoat is one of the decisive factors. It is necessary to find out if it is compatible with the underfloor heating system.
DIY installation technology
Manufacturers of electric underfloor heating systems provide installation instructions. Acting on it, you can do the styling yourself, saving money. Any type of heating requires preparation of the base. It should be even, properly insulated, protected from moisture.
Installation of underfloor heating with mats
Installation of an electric underfloor heating begins with drawing up a plan. It is necessary to draw a scheme for laying the mats, excluding the places where bulky furniture is located. At the design stage, a place is selected for placing the thermostat. With a high system capacity (mats occupy an area of more than 10 square meters), a separate line from the switchboard will be required. A vertical channel is made under the thermostat and the wires of the temperature sensor in the wall. The control device is placed at a height of 30-100 cm from the floor. A junction box is mounted under the thermostat and wires.
A groove in the floor is prepared for the sensor wire. It should be located between the turns of the heating element. This position allows you to correctly determine the temperature. To protect against moisture, the device is placed in a corrugated tube, the end in the floor is closed with a plug.
The first stage of work is the preparation of the foundation. The best option is to make a concrete screed. If there is already a solid structure, it must be leveled and cleaned. Any difference in the surface will eventually lead to breakage of the heating cable. A good option is to fill in a layer of self-leveling mixture. After the solution has dried, proceed to waterproofing. A coating paste or liquid glass will serve as protection against moisture.
An important stage is thermal insulation. Heat loss leads to high heating costs. To save money, you need to install high-quality insulation. To isolate the base, use:
- extruded polystyrene foam;
- hard slabs of mineral wool;
- foamed polyethylene.
The thickness of the layer depends on the location of the base. Insulation 100 mm is laid on the floor on the ground, 30-50 mm is enough for interfloor floors. An aluminum-coated substrate has become a popular option. Foil effectively reflects heat energy. Penofol canvases are stacked end-to-end, glued with metallized tape.
Heating mats are laid according to the planned pattern. A prerequisite is a distance of 10 cm from the wall and 15 cm from the radiators. If necessary, turn the mat 90 or 180 °, an incision is made along the fiberglass mesh. The integrity of the heating element must not be violated. Upon completion of the installation, the system is connected to the mains for a functional check. It takes 10 minutes to evaluate the result. Then the electricity is turned off and the tiles are installed. It is required to wait for the wires to cool down.
The floor covering is laid on a heat-resistant adhesive mortar. The most popular is a cement-based product. The adhesive composition for underfloor heating must have high elasticity and not crack when heated. Recommended brands: Knauf Flex, Litoflex K80, Unis Plus, Ceresit. The dry mixture is diluted with water according to the manufacturer's instructions. Preparation is carried out just before use.
The adhesive mixture is applied to the entire surface of the heating mats in a uniform layer. The cable must be completely hidden. This will protect it from mechanical damage. To apply the composition to the tiles, you will need a comb trowel. The tiles are laid in a straight or diagonal way, depending on the design solution. In the process of work, the building level checks the absence of drops. After the glue mixture has dried, the system is checked again.It will take more time, it is necessary to warm up the layer of mortar and the ceramic tile itself.
Infrared floor installation
Electric infrared underfloor heating is laid dry, without screed. You will need a strobe and a corrugated tube for laying the wire of the thermostatic element. The device itself fits into a standard socket box. The thermostat is installed 50 cm from the floor. To connect the film system, a separate electrical copper wire and an automatic machine are required. When drawing up a layout diagram, a place for the temperature sensor is selected. It should be in the middle of the film web.
During installation, the following rules are observed:
- The film is cut only along the marked lines.
- There must be at least 50 mm between adjacent strips.
- The rolls are spread along the long wall of the room to reduce the number of joints.
- The cuts of the busbars are insulated with the supplied tape.
Before starting work on laying the IR system, leveling and high-quality cleaning of the base are performed. A foamed polyethylene backing is recommended as thermal insulation. The insulation is laid with the aluminum layer up. Attached to the base with double-sided tape.
The IR-film is placed with copper tires down, the strips are fastened together with masking tape. The same material is used for fixing to the substrate. Clip-on terminals are used to connect the heating elements to the electrical network. They are inserted into the contact incision and clamped with pliers. All contact groups are insulated with bitumen tape. It remains to connect the system to the thermostat and check its operation. When laying the infrared film under the tile, a sheet of glass magnesite is laid on top of it.
Rules for the operation of underfloor heating under tiles
After finishing the installation of the heating, you will have to wait about 30 days until the screed is completely dry. Do not worry that the tile surface does not heat up for a long time. It will take several hours for the whole cake to warm up. Experts give several tips for operating the heating system:
- The floor must not be covered with carpets or bulky furniture without legs. In such areas, overheating and cable failure occurs.
- Mechanical impact on the flooring of the room is prohibited.
- If a long-term departure is planned, the thermostat is set to a minimum.
- In the event of a breakdown, all work is carried out after the system is de-energized.
- It is impossible to adjust the device of heating cables, sensors, thermostat.
- Installation of heating elements is carried out in soft shoes to avoid damage.
After installation, take a photo of the cable routing diagram. The information will be useful to specialists in the event of a breakdown of the warm floor.
With electric underfloor heating, life will become truly comfortable. In severe frosts and off-seasons, when heating is not turned on, the tiles will give a pleasant warmth.