While in Australia we are lucky enough to experience some of the best weather in our summer months, it does still get pretty chilly in the depths of winter. More and more Australians are choosing to install under-floor heating as their primary source of heating. Adding to the efficiency of their home, lowering fuel bills and potentially increasing their home’s value.
Under floor heating is perfect for both doing only your bathrooms, but also you can do your living areas and bedrooms too by using our Radiant Heating floor heating mat kits. When installed throughout your home you will achieve a stable warm environment with the radiant warmth from your floor. In tiled areas especially, you will avoid the nasty shock of cold floor on your feet on those chilly winter mornings.
So you've read all the information and you know you want under floor heating and you want to improve your home with under floor heating whilst you are rennovating, but you're not thilled with the idea of paying for expensive contractors to do the work for you... Well stop right there. You're a capable person! There is no reason why you can't complete part of the process yourself. Using the Radiant Heating under floor heating mat kits, available from Trade Warehouse, the process of laying a floor heating mat is fairly straight-forward especially with the comprehensive instructions provided with each kit. However, before you go ahead and order there are a few decisions to be made. You need to calculate your floor space, determine whether you need in-screed or under-tile heating and decide on what thermostat you want.
There are 2 mat kit systems available from Radiant Heating
With a under floor heating mat kit, you only need to have the cable connected to an RCD by a licensed electrical contractor to comply with current AS/NZS 3000 wiring regulations. The rest can be done by you, your builder or your bathroom renovator.
A floor heating mat kit allows you to install heating in your building safely and efficiently. The right kit should help you understand what you're doing, and provide you with all the necessary equipment to detect failures or malfunctions. The Radiant Heating kits provide you with absolutely everything you need to make sure that your underfloor heating project is installed without a hitch.
While running costs of electricity is usually more expensive than gas (used to heat up the water), the initial set-up cost of installing a water based system is much higher than electric underfloor heating. Purchasing and maintenance of a boiler, manifold and pump makes a water based system prohibitive for smaller areas and renovation projects.
Even for larger areas or entire houses a water based system will always have on-going maintenance of pipes and the boiler. This can be acerbated by the water supply in your area, higher lime/calcium levels would be a consideration for a water based system. There are instances where hydronic floor heating would be the preferred choice, however this is usually large areas (in excess or 200 sqm), commercial installations, or areas where power is limited and/or 3-phase power is not available.
Electric underfloor heating is usually cheaper to install than water systems. Many of the initial stages of installation can even be tackled DIY.
If you have solar power installed, it’s a useful option to trickle feed power to your floor heating to maintain a minimum temperature for free!
Trade Warehouse supply the Radiant Australia Floor Heating Mat Kits in 2 forms:
Ceramic tile & stone flooring will work extremely well with your under-floor system, allowing easy & quick heat transfer. However the very popular vinyl plank products now available also work efficiently, a self-levelling compound is required prior to installation of planks (3mm).
While you can put under carpet, for safety reasons you would need to screed over the cable system (10mm). The cable is designed to be covered by tile adhesive, glue or screed so that no air is in contact with the cable. The screed will also protect the cable so nothing can penetrate the carpet and potentially damage the cable. For the same reason when the gripper (smooth-edge) is installed it does not damage the cable underneath when nailed down. Remember; with carpet the performance of your heating system will be affected by the carpet product – wool is an insulator as are most underlay products and will slow the transfer of heat.
Wood for the same reason as with carpet a screed is required prior to installation. The transfer of heat will be efficient and will work well.
Installed within a screed or direct under-tile, there is little that can go wrong once in place, a bit like the wiring in your house. Nevertheless, the Radiant Heating cable mat system, which includes high quality European made heating cables, come with a 10 year warranty from failure for 10 year as Radiant Heating are so confident with their product.
Probably less than you would think! However, the actual cost will depend on the design of your home, the insulation in your home, whether you have double-glazing, the temparature you want to achieve, whether you have solar and finally whether you are able to utilise an off-peak tariff.
If you have solar panels installed on your house, these can be leveraged throughout the day to trickle power to your floor heating which will help to further reduce the cost of running under floor heating (only applies to living areas).
Example: A 4 sqm bathroom operating for 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours at night on a standard tariff will cost approximately $0.76 per day. Using an off-peak tariff this may be reduced to $0.40 per day.
You can use the online calculator on the Radiant Heating Website to view running costs for other sizes / areas / times.
Electric under-floor cable systems are pretty much maintenance free, as there are no moving parts, there’s very little to go wrong! As long as your underfloor heating system is properly installed, it should be worry free.
Should any damage be caused by external factors, it is possible to locate the damage and repair. The most common cause of this sort of damage is drilling into the floor to install of shower screens / door stops, or other circumstances where you are required to drill down into the floor – we always recommend keeping a ‘mud-map’ of your floor heating installation and photos too of the cables laid in situ prior to screeding or tiling. Damage caused by external factors is unfortunately not covered under warranty.
The thermostat included in the Trade Warehouse kits have a 2 year warranty and are easily replaced.
Trade Warehouse are resellers of the following Radiant Australia products:
For bathrooms, where possible, we recommend the in-screed system, simply because it is installed, covered with screed and it hidden away. Your tiler will not have to be laying tiles over an electrical cable with the potential to nick the cable with a trowel etc. In certain areas (such as Victoria) floor heating is almost always installed using the under-tile option.
If you are looking to install floor heating into a living area, you would almost certainly need to use the under tile option, even if your final floor covering is not tiles. If it is tiles, then your tiler can tile on top of the floor heating mat, with the cable sitting in his tile adhesive. If you are laying direct stick wood flooring, vinyl planks or carpet, then your tiler will need to put a self levelling screen over the cable ensuring the cable is completely covered by a couple of milimetres.
We offer 2 different Watt/sqm mats in the under tile product:
In our in-screed offering, as this is only ever used in bathrooms, all in-screed mat kits are 200 W/sqm
We use a higher wattage for bathroom installation as this assists with heat up time providing a higher comfort level where you need it in the bathroom on those chilly mornings. As the bathroom floor heating is only usually turned on for a few hours in the morning and a few hours in the evening, the heat up time is more important than living areas.
When it came to putting together the perfect floor heating kit, Radiant Australia didn't skimp on features, ensuring that you have everything you need for your floor heating project. The kits include:
We’ve ensured you'll know just what you should be doing before you start doing it and you'll have safety measures in place to prevent any oversight from causing damage. By trusting us to supply you with DIY floor heating equipment, you’re investing in a heated floor you’ll feel great about using for years to come.
Now you are all set to purchase a floor heating mat kit, but you need to ensure that you purchase the correct size kit. It is imperative that you don't just take a guess or rough estimate at this stage. The floor heating mats are one continuous circuit which means that they cannot be "cut to size". You have to lay all of the mat which you purchase so if you order one too big, you could be in trouble.
First, you'll need to consider the size and layout of your room. It is vital that you measure the free-floor area and select the correct kit size for your room.
For bathrooms, do not include under the vanity unit (unless it is a floating vanity), toilet, bath and usually we advise to exclude the shower area. It is possible to go into showers but it depends on the design and also if you are installing shower screens stay well clear of the installation area. You should also stay 100mm away from walls, so when calculating the size you should take this into consideration when calculating the free-floor area.
For living areas, consider where fixed furniture will be placed, such as sofas or TV cabinets - do you want to heat under these areas? Probably not. Do not include areas under kitchen cabinets and appliances and again stay 100mm away from the walls.
Once you have calculated the free-floor area select the correct kit size from our table below.
To assist you with calculating your free-floor area in bathrooms, you can use the Floor Heating Calculator on the Radiant Australia website. You will need Microsoft Excel on your computer to be able to use this calculator. Simply input your rooms size, and sizes of the areas you want to exclude and select from the options and you will be told the code of the product which you need to order.
If you still need help then here at Trade Warehouse we are more than happy to calculate this for you. We will however need plans emailing to us which are either scaled, or have all dimensions on them.
It is perfectly safe to install into a shower area. The cables should never get wet anyway, but if they did they are rated at IPX7 which means they are safe submerged in water. To install in a shower area it must be a flat walk-in area with no step-up or hob. Whether you choose to or not is a personal preference. We often recommend heating any area that the shower water will not reach.
If you do decide to install into your shower, it is very important that you consider whether you are going to be drilling into the floor to install brackets for glass shower screens etc. If you are you must stay well clear of this area with the floor heating.
Whilst it is not essential to do this in Australia as our winter temperatures generally tend not to get a low as Europe or parts of North America, it is a great option if your budget allows. Thermasheet is a great option if you do decide to opt for installation. Depending on the thickness of the sheet you use, it has an R-rating of up to 1.8 and helps to prevent the heat from escaping down into your sub-floor, forcing heat upwards into the room. This reduced heat loss will greatly improve the efficiency of the floor heating system as it will decrease heat-up time and reduce power consumption. Over time the installation will pay for itself. If you intend to stay in your home for a while then it is great investment. You will need to make sure that you have enough set-down available in your installation.
A programmable 7 day 24 hour digital touchscreen thermostat is included in all of the heating kits. This can operate on floor or air sensing modes. We recommend where possible you use the floor sensing mode, but there may be certain scenarios where air sensing is best used.
It is possible to upgrade to premium glass-fronted models in your kit should you want the premium look or you want a black or silver fronted thermostat.
If you are also installing a Radiant Heated Towel Rail, the dual controller (thermostat and heated towel rail timer) might be the best option for you. As well as controlling the under floor heating on it thermostat zone, you can also wire a heated towel rail into the controller and use the "timer" zone to turn your heated towel rail on and off at specific times.
We do have a range of WiFi thermostats available. You can control the settings from an Apple iPhone only (an Android app will be available soon). This is a great option for a holiday home or a holiday rental so you can keep and eye on it from afar or turn on the floor heating before you intend to use the property. In most houses though, it is not a requirement. 99% of floor heating installations will have the thermostat set up for your regular routine and you will simply turn on the floor heating at the start of winter and turn it off again at the end of winter. Under floor heating is not the same as when you use a reverse-cycle air conditioning when you may turn it on and off and adjust the temperature throughout the night. Under floor heating is a much more passive form of heating and is more "set and forget" through winter.
Whilst it is possible to leave the floor heating on all the time, it would not be our recommendation as it is going to prove very costly in terms of your electric bill. Our digital thermostats all have a timer built into them for both timing and thermostat contolling of the floor heating. What this means is that you can determine the times which your floor heating is active and when it should be inactive. During the active / on times, you will programme a temperature which you want your floor heating to reach. As the temperature rises and gets close to this set temperature, the thermostat will reduce the power to the floor heating and "maintain" this temperature. During the inactive / off period, you will again set a temperature. This is the temperature which you do not want the floor to drop below. If your floor heating is in a bathroom, you should set this low so that it will never come on in the "off" period as it is not required in the bathroom. However this setting can be useful in a living area, especially if you have solar power, as you can set this temperature to a level where a certain amount of power will trickle feed the floor heating to maintain a higher temperature than if it was simply off. This will make the warm up time when the heating comes on in the evening quicker as it will be starting from a higher temperature point.
If you are purchasing one of our Radiant Australia floor heating mat kits then that's it you are all set to go. You will just need to book an electrician to provide your electrical connection and fit off the thermostat near the end of your project. You must use a licensed electrician to do this and obtain an electrical safety certificate from him. Your warranty is with Radiant Australia and may be void if you cannot adequately demostrate that it was connected to the main power of your house by a licensed electrician.
Thank you for taking the time to read this buying guide and we hope that it has helped you and answered all of your questions. If not please feel free to contact us and our of our knowledgable staff can help you further.
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