Electric Underfloor Heating
for Carpet Floors
One of the most frequently asked questions we encounter is whether a specific type of flooring is compatible with underfloor heating. A common assumption is that underfloor heating is only compatible with hard flooring options such as tiles or laminate. However, this is not the case. Carpet, often overlooked, is indeed a suitable choice for underfloor heating. There are, however, certain considerations to bear in mind to ensure your underfloor heating system operates efficiently under a carpeted floor.
CONSIDERATIONS BEFORE INSTALLATION
When considering laying carpet over your underfloor heating system, it's not as simple as choosing your favorite carpet and laying it over the heating system. The type of carpet, its tog ratings, the underlay, and several other factors can significantly impact the efficiency of your underfloor heating system. These factors need to be carefully considered and certain adjustments may need to be made during installation to ensure your underfloor heating system effectively warms your room.
BENEFITS OF CARPET WITH UNDERFLOOR HEATING
Choosing carpet as your floor covering for underfloor heating comes with a host of benefits. Not only does it add a layer of warmth and coziness to your room, but it also has certain hygiene benefits.
In spaces like bedrooms, where you want a warm and inviting atmosphere, hard flooring might not always be the ideal choice. Carpet, being soft and warm underfoot, gives rooms a cozy feel. When you lay carpet over underfloor heating, if installed correctly, your room will be heated from the floor up, creating a warm, comfortable environment.
Moreover, carpet tends to absorb dust. Traditional radiators can cause this dust to circulate around the room as they work by heating up the air in the room, which then begins to circulate and can release dust particles and impurities from the carpet. These airborne dust particles can cause coughing, sneezing, and itchy eyes, and may be particularly problematic for those with asthma or allergies. Underfloor heating, on the other hand, offers a healthier way of heating your home, as it does not cause air to circulate. This helps to ensure any dust absorbed by your carpet does not enter the air, contributing to a cleaner and healthier living environment.
SUITABLE TYPES OF CARPET FOR UNDERFLOOR HEATING
While carpet is a viable choice of floor covering for underfloor heating, not all carpets are created equal. Some types of carpet should be avoided as they may hinder the efficiency of your underfloor heating system. If a carpet is too thick, it will insulate the floor too well, preventing you from feeling the full benefit of your underfloor heating system. Certain carpet backings can also affect the ability of heat to travel through the carpet into your room.
Carpets with hessian backing, rather than rubber, are recommended for use with underfloor heating systems. Although they tend to be more expensive, hessian allows heat to travel through the carpet, whereas rubber acts as an insulator, keeping heat beneath the floor. This will prevent it from effectively heating your room. Additionally, the thickness of your carpet should be considered. The thicker a carpet, the more insulation it will provide, thereby reducing the efficiency of your underfloor heating system.
CARPET TOG RATINGS FOR UNDERFLOOR HEATING
Tog rating is a measure of thermal resistance. When considering tog ratings, you need to account for the rating of both the carpet and the carpet underlay. The combined value of the carpet and underlay should not exceed 2.5 tog, and preferably less than 1.5 for systems with a heat pump.
It's important to choose carpet and underlay that will work well with the underfloor heating. Quality manufacturers will have technical information on their products available to customers so you can make an informed choice. For instance, a typical 80% wool and 20% nylon carpet, such as Brinton’s ‘Bell Twist’, has a tog value of 1.23. Most nylon pile carpets will achieve around 1 tog and the thickest wool carpets, over 2.5 tog. Accordingly, the thickest 80% wool and 20% nylon carpets should only be used after taking advice from both underfloor heating design engineers and the carpet suppliers.
Installing a carpet over underfloor heating requires careful preparation to ensure the heating system operates effectively. Here are some factors to consider when installing a carpet over underfloor heating:
- Ensure that the overall tog rating of the carpet and the underlay combined does not exceed 2.5.
- Check that the floor is structurally sound and dry.
- Ensure that any chemicals used on the floor, such as finishes and sealants, are compatible with your carpet's underlay.
- Remove any paint, debris, or dust before the carpet is laid.
- If there are any surface irregularities, these will need to be primed first. If you are laying over floors with gaps between the board, plywood may need to be placed over the top.
When using carpet with underfloor heating, it's crucial to consider the maximum temperatures that the system can reach. The temperature of the heating system should never exceed 27°C. This is because higher temperatures can damage the carpet and underlay, and may also cause discoloration.
It's also worth noting that the temperature of the underfloor heating system will affect the time it takes for your room to heat up. A system set at a higher temperature will heat a room more quickly than one set at a lower temperature. However, it's important to balance this with the need to protect your carpet and underlay from potential damage.
USING A THERMOSTAT
A thermostat is an essential component of any underfloor heating system. It allows you to control the temperature of your heating system, ensuring it stays within the recommended range.
There are various types of thermostats available, including manual thermostats, programmable thermostats, and smart thermostats. A programmable thermostat allows you to set different temperatures for different times of the day, ensuring your home is always at the perfect temperature. A smart thermostat offers even more control, allowing you to adjust your heating from your smartphone or tablet, even when you're not at home.
When using a carpet with underfloor heating, a thermostat is particularly important. It allows you to ensure that the temperature of the heating system never exceeds the maximum recommended temperature, protecting your carpet and underlay from potential damage.
Underfloor heating is a safe and efficient way to heat your home. However, as with any heating system, there are some safety considerations to bear in mind.
Firstly, it's important to ensure that the underfloor heating system is installed correctly. This should always be done by a qualified professional to ensure the system is safe and operates efficiently. Secondly, the underfloor heating system should always be used in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. This includes not exceeding the maximum recommended temperature and using a suitable thermostat to control the temperature. Finally, it's important to regularly maintain your underfloor heating system to ensure it continues to operate safely and efficiently. This includes checking the system for any signs of damage and arranging for any necessary repairs to be carried out promptly.
Elektra Under Carpet Heating Mats 140W/m²
High-Quality Design: The Elektra Under Carpet and Vinyl Heating Mats are designed with a 140W/m² cable attached to a fibreglass mesh and covered with aluminium foil on the reverse side, providing a protective shielding for the heating cables.
Versatile Use: These mats are ideal for use under carpets or vinyl when combined with the Uheat FLOORTEC DuoFloor Overlay System, 5mm Insulating Underlay, and a Vapour Barrier.
Certified and Guaranteed: Manufactured in Europe in compliance with ISO 9001 and IEC EN 60335-2-96, these mats are CE Certified and come with a lifetime guarantee.
Size and Thermostat Options: The Elektra mats are available in various sizes, from 3m² to 24m², and offer a range of thermostat choices, from manual to WiFi-enabled options.
Efficient Heating Under Carpet: When used correctly with carpet, ensuring the overall tog rating of the carpet and the underlay combined does not exceed 2.5, and the temperature of the heating system does not exceed 27°C, these mats provide efficient underfloor heating.