Myth Versus Fact: Under Floor Heating Systems And Distribution

As under floor heating systems are still relatively new here in Australia, there are a lot of myths floating around about them. Unfortunately, some of these myths are completely unfounded yet they have tendency to turn homeowners off their installation. In this article, we have outlined some of the more common myths along with some facts to help you gain a better understanding.

  • Myth: You’ll have stale air, as nothing is moving it around
    This myth stems from the fact that the warmth passes up through the floor into the room instead of being forced around through ductwork. It is important to note, however, that your home requires ventilation (the same as any other) and that this requires air. This means that the warmth will evenly distribute itself from floor to ceiling for maximum comfort.
  • Myth: Hot water is circulated through the pipes
    This myth often makes homeowners worried that the temperature of the floor will be too hot to bear. In reality, the temperature of the water is around 39 degrees Celsius, which is quite close to our skin temperature and cooler than our core body temperatures. A better description would be that warm or tepid water is circulated.
  • Myth: These systems are more expensive than others
    This myth is generally the result of generalization. No matter what heating system you have selected, if it’s inefficient or unsuitable for your home it’s going to cost you a bucket load. It’s also important to note that the term ‘expensive’ is relative – what one person considers expensive may actually be quite affordable to someone else.
  • Myth: The floor won’t be warm to the touch
    This myth can be debunked by differentiating between “comfort” and “warm to touch” or “cool to touch”. For comfort, the slab should be regulated between 19 degrees Celsius for cooling and 29 degrees Celsius for heating, with 24 degrees Celsius being the optimum. Whether you’re wearing shoes, socks or bare feet, you should be comfortable.
  • Myth: The best floor covering is tile or concrete
    This myth is actually one of the more common and is often a result of confusion over insulation. Whilst it is true that you must select timber carefully, as lack of moisture can cause it to warp, the effectiveness of a surface actually has nothing to do with its insulative properties. Instead, it is actually related to its emissivity.
  • Myth: The thicker the slab, the more it will heat up
    This myth is completely incorrect. Slab thickness actually has nothing to do with how well the concrete surface will perform. Whilst a thicker slab will hold more energy in the form of heat, if the surface temperature of the slab is the same as all the surface temperatures in the room there will actually be no radiant transfer.

We hope that the information provided above has allowed you to debunk some of the myths that you may have heard about under floor heating systems. If you are seriously considering the installation of this system, it is important that you have obtained the correct information in order to make a well-informed decision. In all reality, you should question everything that you hear.