In the current conditions, the consumer has great technical capabilities in terms of arranging their own housing. The previously limited range of heating equipment has expanded today. New equipment appears on the market, technical innovations and the latest technologies are being introduced in the home heating cluster. Warm floors in this aspect today occupy one of the leading places. The very method of heating internal living quarters due to underfloor heating in practice turned out to be much more efficient and economical.
In addition, for designers with the installation of underfloor heating in the room, unique opportunities for implementation in the field of interiors open up. Choosing underfloor heating system, you will be able to make your home warm, cozy and, above all, comfortable. Underfloor heating can be used as the main heating option in the house or made it an auxiliary technical means of heating.
The scope of underfloor heating is determined by the tasks that you set for the heating system. Hence the question arises. What type of underfloor heating to choose, electric or water? Is there a reasonable “golden mean” in this case?
Electric water heated floor — the “know-how” of our time
Each of us is familiar with water heating systems. We are used to the fact that hot water circulates through our batteries. The lion’s share in the autonomous heating segment is occupied by heating devices, in which the main work is performed by a liquid heat carrier. Due to the high efficiency, liquid heating systems remain one of the most popular heating options. A warm water floor in this regard is the most successful engineering and technical solution. However, in recent years, a completely new heating system has appeared, electric water, universal underfloor heating.
This design is a combination of electric heating and liquid heating method.
For reference: why is it correct to say liquid, and not electric, water-heated floor? The thing is that not ordinary water is used as a coolant in this system, but antifreeze and its various modifications.
As a result of competent technical solutions, this option managed to incorporate all the best qualities and characteristics of the electric heating circuit and water heated floors. The technology is based on the principle of interaction between heat and pressure. During the operation of the electrical element, the liquid inside the heating circuit is heated.
The heating circuit is a sealed plastic channel filled with antifreeze. In the middle of the plastic pipe, a nickel-chromium cable runs along its entire length. This is one fundamental difference between this model and a conventional water-heated floor, where heated boiler water circulates through the heating circuit. Laying a plastic channel with electric heating is carried out in the same way as installing a water pipe for a warm floor. The same schemes for laying heating circuits are used: snail, spiral or snake. Electric water floor is designed for installation under the screed.
Evaluating the design device, the principle of operation and the laying technology, you can safely get to work, making such a warm floor with your own hands.
Advantages of the combination of electricity and heat transfer fluid
The main and main advantage that the new electric water circuit of underfloor heating has is the absence of complex additional equipment. Without a pumping and mixing unit, a manifold, safety valves and flow meters, it is difficult to imagine a full-fledged water-heated floor in working condition. In the case of electric water floors, the situation is radically different. The system does not require the installation of a whole range of service devices, devices and units.
On a note: If you have the funds, it is better to invest in the purchase of a combined heating system. Do-it-yourself electric water heated floor is quite real. Such a solution will save you from thermal calculations, technologically complex installation of a collector and a pump.
Other advantages of this system include the following aspects:
- the system evenly heats the floor surface to the set temperature values;
- quick output of heating equipment to optimal operating parameters;
- automatic control;
- safe operation;
- extremely low power consumption;
- quick and easy installation.
There is a clear improvement to the hot water floors that are well known to all of us. Due to new technologies, it was possible to exclude a number of complex and expensive units and mechanisms from the system design. In addition, the combined system can be used for heating any residential premises. Of particular interest is the fact that the electric water heating circuit is equally effective when operating in different temperature conditions. Such heating can be installed for heating in rooms of any area (as far as there are enough funds).
Important! The efficiency of electric water floors reaches almost 100%. The heated floor retains heat for a long time, even after the heating circuit has been switched off.
From an environmental and safety point of view, this scheme is practically safe. Automatic adjustment eliminates overheating of the heating elements. Accordingly, the set temperature will always be maintained in the heated room. When equipping this heating option, you can use almost any floor covering.
On a note: the assertion that an electrical cable laid over a large area can cause negative electromagnetic radiation is a myth.
Little can be said about the shortcomings of an electric water heated floor. Compared to a water floor, heating costs will slightly exceed the usual amounts. A one-time investment when buying equipment can also significantly affect your budget. However, in the complex, there are no serious disadvantages from such a heating system in the practical plane.
Varieties of the system. Device and principle of operation
Today on the market of heating equipment in the floor heating segment, there are two models:
- products of the Korean company Daewoo Enertec, warm water electric floors XL Pipe (XL Pipe);
- product of the Korean company Caleo, capillary warm electric floor UNIMAT AQUA.
The latter option has domestic counterparts, which are produced under license at European enterprises.
Both the first heating system and the second have some differences in the design and principle of operation of the heating elements, although everything else, installation and operation are exactly the same.
Warm electric water floors XL Pipe
Consider what is the design feature of the heating system, using electricity. For the first acquaintance, let’s take the heating system, electric water heated floors XL Pipe (XL Pipe). The novelty in this case is the very structure of the heating element. A heating cable is laid in the basis of a polyethylene pipe (walls 20 mm thick), along the entire length. It is important that this is not a simple cable, but woven nickel-chromium threads enclosed in a Teflon sheath. The rest of the internal space of the plastic pipe is filled with a liquid heat carrier, which is in a static state. The pipe is a hermetically sealed single circuit.
Obviously, in this case, you do not need either a pump or a manifold. The figure-diagram clearly shows the internal structure of the heating circuit, the appearance of the plastic pipe and an approximate layout of the XL Pipe brand electric water floor.
The coolant in this case is antifreeze, so the system should be correctly called an electro-fluid heated floor. Using the thermal energy from the heating of the electrical element, the coolant is evenly heated along the entire length of the heating circuit.
On a note: unlike traditional water floors, where the coolant has different temperatures in different parts of the water loop, the electro-liquid circuit guarantees uniform heating of the floor surface over the entire area.
The principle of operation of the underfloor heating system in this case is based on the interaction of the heating element with temperature control sensors. The thermostat is one of the main devices for any heating system, so in this case you cannot do without it.
Electric water heated floor operates according to the following principle:
- The first is engagement. Power provides heating of the electric cable, which in turn heats the coolant surrounding it.
- The second is the expansion of the heated coolant. Due to the fact that the volume of liquid is small, and the power of the cable is large, heating occurs intensively.
- The third is an increase in the volume of the heated liquid, thereby creating increased pressure inside the plastic pipe (bubble boiling).
- Fourth — a quick exit of the warm floor to the operating modes of heating.
Here it is worth saying a little about the costs of the operation of the electrical element associated with the heating of the coolant. Energy consumption in this case is 14.4 ‑15W per sq. meter of underfloor heating, which is significantly lower than required when using conventional electric floors. Due to the liquid heat carrier, even a disabled warm floor cools down two, three times slower than a cable heating system.
Capillary warm electric floor
Another option for electric water floors, capillary, is built on a different principle of operation. Here lies the main difference between the system: the small diameter of the heating pipe, which is why such a name arose. The plastic tube is connected to a small electric heating device, which is both an electric heater and a feeder for the entire heating circuit. The device controls the heating temperature, provides heating of the heat transfer fluid and creates a working pressure in the system. As in the case of the first version of the electric water heating equipment, this option is a closed hermetic system.
On a note: the small diameter of the water pipe will require you to fill in only 5–6 liters of distilled water, therefore, to heat this amount of coolant, the power of an electrical appliance of 2.4 kW is enough.
Installation of such a heating system is best done through the connection of the RCD and equipping the entire complex with an automatic machine.
This combined floor heating system is designed for heating small spaces. It is allowed to install the system in rooms whose area does not exceed 20 m2.
The advantages of a capillary heating system are as follows:
- wide functionality of the heating block;
- the presence of an anti-freeze mode;
- automatic control of the heat carrier heating temperature depending on the temperature inside the room;
- adjustment of the power of the heating device in the range of 0.1 — 2.4 kW.
- having a timer.
Installation of underfloor heating electro liquid type
There is no fundamental difference in the installation of electric water floors from traditional water heating underfloor systems. In both the first and second cases, the heating pipes are laid under the screed.
In order to do the installation of the floor with your own hands, you will need thermal insulation materials, a damper tape, a metal or foil heat exchanger. All these elements are the components of a puff cake, which is always present when laying underfloor heating. The main task in the installation process that you face consists of two points:
- competently equip a heat-insulating layer, which will play the role of a thermal barrier. The heat-insulating layer prevents heat from leaking down, increasing the efficiency of heating the floor surface;
- use a correctly selected scheme in the process of laying the heating circuit;
- install control and regulation devices in a convenient and accessible place.
Laying an electric water floor differs from installing water loops in that there is no need to bring pipes outside. You don’t have a collector. All heating circuits are connected to a distributor, which can be placed in two versions:
- directly on the floor, subsequently poured with concrete along with heating pipes;
- on the wall, at a distance of 10–15 cm from the surface of the concrete screed;
The power and control wires are brought out, connecting to the thermostat. This is followed by all the same, well-known wet work, pouring concrete screed. The recommended thickness of the screed when working with warm electric water floors is 30–50 mm. No longer worth it, not enough power, less is also not recommended. A thin screed can be damaged mechanically, causing damage to the heating circuit.
On a note: there is no need to lay heating ducts over all areas of the heated room. It is possible to create electric water heating of a single section of the room. The operation of such a site will be autonomous and not depend on the operation of the home heating system.
When working with this type of heating equipment, it is better to use the heating pipe laying scheme — a double snake. The recommended step for laying the contour is 10–15cm. Do not forget that the maximum distance from the walls for laying heating circuits is 10–15 cm.
In modern conditions, you can quite successfully equip your house, apartment or other domestic premises with a fairly efficient heating system on your own. Warm floors have already proved in practice their effectiveness, efficiency and convenience. Liquid underfloor heating systems using electricity take such systems to a whole new level. The principle here is less hassle, more comfort. Choose what to put at home, a water heating system or give preference to liquid electric heating devices.