FAQ

Frequently asked questions – ELECTRIC HEATING

Question:
I would like to ask you for a design for the heating system of a family home. What information should I send you?

Answer:
For the creation of a price quotation, you will need:

  • to decide on the heating system which you wish to use (Ecofloor, Ecofilm, Ecosun, Ecoflex)
  • a properly dimensioned floor plan and cross-section of the building
  • the composition of floors (including floor coverings), walls and ceilings, given in cm, in the direction interior → exterior
  • the heat loss of the building (this is not necessary but it will speed up the creation of the price offer)

This information is essential for the design of a heating system; a price quotation cannot be created without it.


Question:
How is the wattage of the heating chosen? 

Answer:
To obtain a correct heating system design, a calculation of the heat loss of the building according to the ČSN 06 0210 standard has to be ordered from a design office, preferably the one where you acquired the project documentation. You can also do the calculation yourself, using a simplified version, on the http://www.tzb-info.cz web pages. The heat loss equals the total heat flow which penetrates the individual walls (incl. the floor and ceiling) that delimit the heated room, and the heat loss through infiltration (leakage through windows, doors, etc.). For a basic calculation of heat loss we need to know: 

  • the required temperature in the room and the lowest temperature beyond the wall (there is a map of the lowest outside temperatures for the given areas in an attachment to the standard – for use in the case that there is an outdoor area outside the wall) – the difference between the inside and outside temperature is called the temperature gradient (it ranges between 30 – 40 °C)
  • the surface area of the wall (windows and doors are excluded and calculated separately)
  • the heat transfer coefficient “U” (W/m²K) – manufacturers of building materials state this value, or it can be calculated according to the aforementioned standard   

Other “extras, coefficients, etc.” need to be taken into consideration for a more exact calculation. If you add a larger-than-necessary heater to a room and equip it with a suitable thermostat, it won’t use more electricity (kWh) than a correctly sized heater and it will have the advantage of providing a much shorter reaction time to heat demands. However, there are disadvantages in the shape of higher acquisition costs and possibly a higher required value for the main circuit breaker, which means a higher fixed payment. This forms a significant part of the electricity bill.


Question:
What will the electricity consumption be (kWh) and what are the costs of heating a building?

Answer:
The yearly consumption of electricity for the heating of a building depends on the heat losses of the building and the quality of the selected regulation system. The heat loss is the value of energy which you need to supply to the building in order to achieve the required ambient temperature. The total heating costs per year thus depend on the electricity consumption and the selected electricity tariff. Electric heating can be operated either via direct heating or through the use of storage heaters. The direct mode of heating is realised in such a way that the consumer has the option of using low tariff heating for 20 hours and has only 4 hours of high-tariff operation. The low tariff can also be used for other appliances in the building. The heating mode utilising storage heaters involves the “charging” of the heating medium (water, concrete, bricks) for a maximum of 8 hours during the low tariff period, and then using the accumulated energy for the heating of the building itself for the remaining 16 hours. For these 16 hours, any additional electricity is taken at the high tariff.


Question:
What are the main reasons for choosing electric heating?

Answer:
There are many reasons; we will name only the main ones:

  • Electric heating is the most perfectly controllable heating system with the lowest specific energy consumption. While the average energy consumption on heating is about 0.8 GJ/m² per year in the Czech Republic, for electric heating the value equals 0.3–0.4 GJ/m² per year.
  • Perfect and cheap temperature regulation systems enable users of electric heating to fully adapt their heating method to changing family and economic conditions.
  • The acquisition costs of electric heating systems are considerable lower (in tens of per cent) than in the case of other systems. This fact is very important particularly in new buildings with low heat loss and thus also low energy consumption on heating.
  • There are special tariffs for heating with electricity which enable the use of cheap so-called “low tariff” energy also for other household needs. This fact, with regard to the increasing amount of electric appliances in households, is again an important means of lowering the total cost of household operation.

Question:
What are the operating costs of electric heating? I know it is a comfortable and service-free type of heating but aren’t the high operating costs an excessive tax for comfort?

Answer:
Users shouldn’t just be interested in operating costs (even though they are certainly important) but also in the total cost of energy together with so-called amortization, i.e. with part of the acquisition cost. In this respect, electric heating is fully comparable with gas heating (see the section concerning references and news). It is hard to predict the long-term development of energy prices; however, it is a fact that gas is a non-renewable natural resource and its acquisition will get harder and harder. Also, the price of gas is fully dependent on the fluctuations of the world economy.


Question:
Friends are dissuading me from the acquisition of electric heating, stating high fixed payments for heating tariffs. They claim that these sums are supposed to put off those interested in electric heating – is it really true?

Answer:

The fixed payments are under no circumstances a prohibitive issue; they have two functions:

  • To pay the energy supplier’s costs related to the reservation of the required wattage in the nn network (depending on the value of the main circuit breaker).
  • To prevent speculative use of special low heating tariffs for standard use in households (small consumption).

Nowadays, there are devices which enable a significant reduction in the value of the main circuit breaker and thus also the height of the fixed payment. Such devices distribute the consumption of the household across a longer time period and prevent peaks in consumption (see the section on regulation – Regulators for decreasing the value of the main circuit breaker).


Question:
I’ve heard that the use of electric energy for heating isn’t ecological and that advanced countries are moving away from it. Is this true?

Answer:
It is mainly the way electric energy is produced that decides whether electric heating is ecological or not. Generally speaking, electric heating is only a minority heating method, being used by about 10–15 % of all heated buildings in countries where electricity is produced mainly from solid fuels and gas. In countries where electricity is produced from nuclear energy or renewable resources, electric heating plays a very important role – in countries such as Sweden, Norway, Finland and France, electric heating has been the main source of heating, except in block-style buildings, for a long time, and 30 or more per cent of residential buildings are heated with it.
In the last four years, with regard to the liberalisation of the electricity market, there is a noticeable tendency towards strengthening the importance of electric heating also in other countries. At present, the Czech Republic gains a significant amount of energy from nuclear power and it can be assumed that it will rank among the countries from the second group mentioned above. Moreover, only 8.4 % of residential buildings are heated using electricity in the Czech Republic at present. 


Question:
What kinds of electric heating can you recommend to me?

Answer:
Our company offers practically all kinds of electric heating, from storage systems, through mixed (semi-storage) installations all the way up to direct heating systems. The only product which is missing from our range of products is a line of electric boilers, due to the fact that this kind of heating is highly inefficient. We do not even recommend this product to our customers because of the high operating costs. In Europe, there is a tendency towards the installation of what are known as large-surface heating systems, whose use provides the highest comfort possible. These systems (installed in the floor or ceiling) warm up large heat-exchanging surfaces to temperatures which are only slightly higher than the temperature of their environment. The heat exchange takes place partially via micro convection. Micro convection takes place across the whole surface. A significant difference in contrast with so called spot sources of heat is the much more even distribution of temperatures in the room, the limitation of circulation and the drying out of the air (for other information see ECOFLOOR and ECOFILM products).


Question:
I’m interested in buying electric heating but my friends are raising concerns regarding problems which occur when heating is disconnected during high tariff periods, as well as its non-functionality during power cuts. 

Answer:
At present, there is a set condition for switching off heating during the high tariff that makes it possible for heating in the so-called direct heating mode to be switched off for a maximum of 2 hours during the morning and 2 hours during the afternoon; the maximum period for which the heating can be continuously switched off at one time is 1 hour. During this time, the temperature in the rooms probably won’t drop by more than 1 °C. Buildings with bad heat insulation can be an exception; in such cases we recommend the installation in day rooms of WMX static storage heaters from our range of products. If there is a power cut, practically all modern ways of heating are put out of operation, as electrical devices governing the function of boilers will also go offline. Therefore, in this case, there is no difference between electric heating and e.g. gas heating.


Question:
How should the wattage of a heater be dimensioned for a specific room or building?

Answer:

To obtain a correct heating system design, a calculation of the heat loss of the building according to the ČSN 06 0210 standard has to be ordered from a design office, preferably the one where you acquired the project documentation. You can also do the calculation yourself, using a simplified version, on the http://www.tzb-info.cz web pages. The heat loss equals the total heat flow which penetrates the individual walls (incl. the floor and the ceiling) that delimit the heated room, and the heat loss through infiltration (leakage through windows, doors, etc.). For a basic calculation of heat loss we need to know:

  • The required temperature in the room and the lowest temperature beyond the wall (there is a map of the lowest outside temperatures for the given areas in an attachment to the standard – for use in the case that there is an outdoor area outside the wall) – the difference between the inside and outside temperature is called the temperature gradient (it ranges between 30 – 40 °C).
  • The surface area of the wall (windows and doors are excluded and calculated separately).
  • The heat transfer coefficient “U” (W/m²K) – manufacturers of building materials state this value, or it can be calculated according to the aforementioned standard.

Other “extras, coefficients, etc.” need to be taken into consideration for a more exact calculation. If you add a larger-than-necessary heater to a room and equip it with a suitable thermostat, it won’t use more electricity (kWh) than a correctly sized heater and it will have the advantage of providing a much shorter reaction time to heat demands. However, there are disadvantages in the shape of higher acquisition costs and possibly a higher required value for the main circuit breaker, which means a higher fixed payment. This forms a significant part of the electricity bill. Note: Even this doesn’t have to be a problem as the value of the main circuit breaker before the energy meter can be standardly lowered by up to two orders of magnitude than that which would correspond to the installed wattage, if the BMR HJ regulation system supplied by us is used.

Frequently asked questions – ECOSUN radiant panels

Question:
Can Ecoflex convection heaters and Ecosun panels be installed on flammable bases?

Answer:

  • Ecoflex – can be installed on a flammable base as the structure of the attachment meets the requirements for installation on flammable bases.
  • Only E 100K, E 200K, E 270K, E 330K, E 400K, E 300U and E 300c panels can be installed on flammable bases. The mounting cross which is part of the panel meets the requirements for installation on flammable bases. E 600U, E 700 IKP, E 700 IN and E 700 IN-2 panels aren’t suitable for installation on flammable bases.
  • Ecosun VT panels E S 09 to E S 36 aren’t suitable for installation on flammable bases.

Question:
Why is the operation of radiant ceiling heating approximately 20% more economical than convection heating?

Answer:
Radiation is a process during which warmth from a heat source (e.g. from a radiant panel) propagates through the environment in the form of infrared rays. When the rays reach another solid body, infrared waves change into heat energy and the matter of the object is heated intensively. It is basically similar to solar radiation. Such heating is economical mainly thanks to the following three points:

  1. Unlike with wall radiators and convection heaters, the heat is sent downwards, towards the floor, i.e. to the area where it is needed. The higher the ceiling of the room, the more economical ceiling heating is in comparison with other systems.
  2. In the case of “radiators” and convection heaters, the air circulates unevenly around the room, which can evoke a feeling of coldness in certain parts of the room and force us to set a higher temperature on the thermostat. Every degree set above 20 °C means 6% additional expenditure on energy.
  3. Radiant panels heat a person directly, without using the air as a medium for heat transfer. Thanks to this effect, we can lower the set temperature by one to two degrees Celsius and we will feel the same warmth as when convection heaters are used – but with a temperature which is 1 to 2 °C higher, i.e. with 6 to 12% higher consumption.

Question:
Can ECOSUN be installed on a wall?

Answer:
Yes, it can. However, we have to consider the increase in the proportion of heat which is conveyed via convection rather than radiation as far as heating effect is concerned. For wall installation, we particularly recommend Ecosun K panels, which are adapted to this kind of installation. Other panels, for example high-temperature panels, must be installed out of the reach of people, as their surface temperature can reach up to 380 °C.  


Question:
How can ceiling radiant heating warm the whole room when warmth always stays near the ceiling?

Answer:
Warmth doesn’t stay by the ceiling, only warm air does. This phenomenon is known when radiators and convection heaters are used. These heaters have a significantly higher temperature than the air temperature. The air is warmed up by this heating element through contact with it, and increases its volume while its bulk density decreases. Colder air with higher bulk density pushes this warm air upwards and this means that the greatest warmth is by the ceiling where it isn’t needed at all. Ceiling radiant heating radiates infrared rays from a source (in our case, it is from the ceiling towards the floor); these rays change into warmth when they fall on solid or liquid substances. Often, people stand on a stool under the source of heat and claim that it is warmer near the ceiling. For an easier understanding of heat radiation, a comparison with a ray of light is better. A ray of light propagates in the same way as an infrared ray, via electromagnetic wave motion; both of them are reflected from shiny objects and are absorbed by dark objects. We perceive light via vision, and warmth through the surface of our bodies and thus also though our hands. Both light and infrared rays propagate in a perpendicular manner from their source. Let’s conduct an experiment with a spot bulb and ECOSUN S. The thickest luminous flux points downwards or in the direction in which the bulb is pointing (both the panel and the bulb will be installed in such a way that the flux will aim downwards). Radiant panels behave in the same way too. Thanks to the microscopic unevenness of the silicating surface, the thickest part of heat radiation aims downwards in a conical shape. Both light and infrared rays are partially reflected, of course, and therefore we see a low amount of light outside the illuminated part – it is the same with infrared radiation: a proportion of the rays are reflected and warm up the walls, etc. If you look at a bulb from a distance of 0.1 m, your eyes will start hurting immediately and you will stop seeing. It is similar with a radiant panel. If you place your palm at a distance of 0.1 m from the radiant panel, you will feel an unpleasant burning sensation. However, if you look at a bulb or an ECOSUN S panel from a distance of five metres, you will see an acceptable amount of light and feel pleasant warmth from the ECOSUN panel. The density of light and infrared radiation decreases with the distance from the source, but the illuminated, radiated surface increases (we do not need to be worried – energy isn’t lost). The Sun is a natural source of light as well as infrared rays. Infrared rays pass through space, where the temperature is under freezing point, and they pass through the Earth’s atmosphere and air, but they change into warmth when they reach solid or liquid substances and the air subsequently warms up from these. 


Question:
Are ECOSUN radiant panels harmful to health?

Answer:
ECOSUN radiant panels do not harm health – on the contrary. Infrared rays have a pleasant effect on joint diseases and rheumatism. As the air doesn’t dry out and circulate due to large temperature differences as in the case of wall radiators and convection heaters, this type of heating is suitable for those suffering from respiratory diseases and asthma.  If the recommended heights for hanging recommended by us are adhered to, there is no danger of suffering the unpleasant feeling of having a hot head, either.


Question:
What wave length do panels produced by you have?

Answer:
Ecosun low-temperature panels have a wave length of 7–8 µm, high-temperature ones have 4–5 µm.


Question:
I’m buying a dog, a puppy, and I would like to keep it now, i.e. in the winter, outside in its pen. Would it be a good idea to use your Ecosun radiant panels to prevent my dog from freezing in the winter and is it also necessary to get a panel for its kennel so that it is warm there?

Answer:
I would recommend an Ecosun K+ panel, which I would place into the kennel, and I’d recommend a room thermostat for temperature regulation. Everything would have to be connected via a residual current circuit breaker. However, I would need to know the dimensions of the kennel to decide whether a panel could be used in it at all.  


Question:
Is it possible to switch on ECOSUN panels even if the room temperature is around 28-30 degrees Celsius? We also use a fireplace insert for heating and we aren’t sure whether something might happen if the temperature in the room was higher than e.g. 28 degrees (for example, if something might start burning).

Answer:
If the ambient temperature doesn’t exceed 30 °C, nothing will happen. Ecosun radiant panels can be used in an ambient temperature of up to 30 °C. If the ambient temperature is higher, the temperature of the panel will increase to a value where degradation of material occurs. This may lower the lifespan of the panel. There would certainly be no fire, but the panel could be damaged and subsequently stop working. For temperatures higher than 30 °C, I recommend using Ecosun K+ panels, which are fitted with a thermal fuse which prevents the panel from overheating.


Question:
Mould has appeared in a room with the dimensions 3 × 6 m where two walls are peripheral (3 and 3 m) and there is 90% humidity in the corner. The wall doesn’t get any sunshine for the whole winter and it is made of bricks (45 cm) without additional insulation. We use direct-heating convection heaters placed under the windows, but they are 3 m away from the corner. I would like one additional heater for one of these walls. Is an Ecosun heater suitable? I would also like to ask if it can be attached vertically, and to know what the surface temperature of these panels is.

Answer:
I don’t think that an Ecosun panel would solve the problem. The panel would have to radiate heat onto the humid wall, and it would thus need to be placed opposite. As a suitable solution, I would suggest providing thermal insulation for the peripheral walls. Ecosun panels can be attached vertically; their surface temperatures range from 80 to 110 °C, depending on the type of panel. If the humidity is in the lower part of the walls, a self-regulating heating cable could be placed under the plaster, which would dry the wall out. 


Question:
We would like to use Ecosun ceiling panels in our newly built apartment. The height of the ceiling is 2.65 m. I would like to know if my husband’s head won’t feel hot as his height is 1.9 m, and also if such panels can really heat a room with an area of 32 m². Another question is about the warming of solid objects. If the heating element warms up such objects, i.e. furniture, persons, etc. what is the situation when I leave the apartment – does the heating need to be switched off? Also, doesn’t heating over a longer period of time, e.g. in the winter, damage laminated furniture or furniture which has foil over it?

Answer:
If your husband stands directly under the radiant panel, he will feel the warmth – otherwise, when moving around the apartment in a standard way, the feeling of being close to radiant heat will be slight. If the room is fitted with a suitable quantity of panels, the panels will be capable of heating the room. Ecosun panels heat objects, and from them the air is warmed. However, this warming is only slight, to only approximately 2–3 °C higher than the ambient air temperature. This certainly cannot cause any damage to furniture. I do not recommend switching the heating off when you leave the apartment; you should rather reduce the temperature by 3 to 5 °C. It would be difficult to heat the room after a greater drop, and electricity consumption would be greater.


Question:
I would like to know whether infrared panel heating is also suitable for the heating of buildings which are used for occasional recreational. I have a cottage with no thermal insulation which is used only sometimes (peripheral walls – concrete blocks + plaster = 35 cm) and I would like to keep it warm. My idea is that I will fit the ceiling with thermal insulation (approx. 10 cm polystyrene + plank ceiling), and socket thermostats connected to infrared panels would be installed in the current sockets. Could it work like this?

Answer:
Radiant panels could be used for the warming of the building. Radiant panels warm objects and the air in the room is heated from them. If you needed to warm up the building from a non-freezing temperature to a comfortable one using such panel, the heating would take a few days. If you heat the building only occasionally, and need to do it quickly, radiant panels wouldn’t be the right choice. I would recommend direct-heating Ecoflex convection heaters for occasional heating. They heat the air directly, so the warm-up period is significantly shorter.


Question:
I need advice regarding whether it would be possible to use one of your infrared panels as a local heater on the wall below a table; it would be used for the warming of legs. Its distance from people’s knees would be around 50 cm, and the room temperature is 18 degrees. Is there a panel which would be suitable for this?

Answer:
Ecosun K+ panels could be used for this purpose. I recommend the installation of Ecosun 200–270 K+ panels; the size of the panel can be chosen according to the dimensions of the place intended for its installation. 


Question:
We are having problems with the freezing of the floor by the entrance to underground garages in the winter months. Do you think that an Ecosun 300 U panel placed above the entry gate would warm up the floor sufficiently to prevent the freezing from occurring?

Answer:
Installation of a panel most probably won’t solve the problem. The intensity of the radiation of the panel decreases with its surface temperature; it will be low in the garage area, and the floor won’t be warmed sufficiently. For the protection of outdoor surfaces against freezing, heating mats or cables can be installed directly in the concrete or asphalt with a wattage of approximately 300 W/m².


Question: If I hang a 300U panel lower than the 280 cm from the floor which is stated in the instruction manual (245 cm), will the efficiency decrease in any way? 

Answer:
The recommended installation height for Ecosun 300U panels is 2.5–3 m. When the height is lower, the efficiency of the panel doesn’t decrease but the intensity of radiation from the panel may be perceived as unpleasant by people who are more sensitive to heat.

Frequently asked questions – ECOFLOOR heating cables

Question:
Is it possible to have electric floor heating as the main heating system for the whole house? 

Answer:
Of course. Electric floor heating is a completely standard way of economically and ecologically heating buildings. We will be happy to provide a price quotation for your project. We only need:

  • a properly dimensioned floor plan and cross-section of the building
  • the composition of floors (including the floor covering), walls and ceilings in the direction interior → exterior
  • the heat loss of the building (this is not necessary but it will speed up the creation of the price offer)

Question:
Which heating system should be chosen with regard to the floor covering?

Answer:
Ecofloor heating cables/mats can be laid in concrete, anhydrite, self-levelling material or glue under floor tiling and glued floor coverings (PVC, vinyl, …). In the case of glued floor coverings on dry-installed floor structures (OSB, gypsum boards, …), the thickness of the layer must be at least triple the diameter of the cable used (approximately 15 mm).
In the case of floating floors, we recommend the installation of Ecofilm heating foil directly under the floor covering. Heating foils cannot be installed under floating floors in bathrooms. AL-MAT heating mats can be installed under floating floors in bathrooms.


Question:
What is more suitable for the heating of bathrooms, a cable or a mat?

Answer:
The use of a mat or cable depends mainly on the shape of the heated area. In the case of a bathroom which isn’t very irregular and where there is no e.g. curved bath tub or curved shower box, a heating mat can be used. The spacing between the loops is fixed and thus the mat’s width and length is also unchangeable, and you can only cover a corresponding surface area with it. If you wish to cover the whole surface of the bathroom or copy the shape of, say, an arch around the bathtub, the use of a heating cable is more suitable as well as more labour intensive. With heating cables the spacing of loops must be calculated in advance, and it must be strictly adhered to.


Question:
I have a flat in an apartment building constructed from concrete panels and I would like to install floor heating in the bathroom. What would you recommend?

Answer:
As the floors in apartment buildings of this type have bad thermal insulation, I recommend laying F-board insulation on the floor first. These boards provide additional heat insulation and will speed up the start-up time of the floor significantly. With F-board insulation, the floor will heat up within 30 minutes, without it in approximately 2.5 hours; it can happen that the floor doesn’t actually heat up at all if the apartment is on the ground floor. I recommend laying a heating mat or a heating cable on the insulation boards and applying flexible sealant. A floor probe must be used for temperature regulation.


Question:
Can heating cables and mats be divided and shortened?

Answer:
Heating cables cannot be divided or shortened under any circumstances. Only the cold leads of these cables and mats can be shortened. Mats/fabric can be divided and shortened in such a way that the insulation of the heating cable isn’t damaged when the fabric is divided, and the heating cable mustn’t be shortened or strained under tension. The fabric can be cut with standard scissors as needed. 


Question:
What is the surface temperature of a heated floor, and how long will it take for it to get warm?

Answer:
According to hygiene standards, the surface temperature of heated floors in habitable rooms can be 28 °C at most. The surface temperature of heated floors in bathrooms and washrooms isn’t limited by a standard and therefore can be even higher than 30 °C. The time taken for the heated floor to reach the required temperature depends on the structure surrounding it. If a heating mat is installed under floor tiling in flexible sealant on a heat-insulated concrete base, the floor will heat up to 27 °C in about 1.5 hours when the room temperature is 20 °C. If you use F-board insulation, a similar temperature can be reached within approximately 30 minutes.


Question:
What is the lifespan of Ecofilm and Ecofloor?

Answer:
The lifespan of both products depends on the operating hours, the method of laying, and the regulation system. If the heating and regulation systems are designed correctly, the minimum lifespan is 30 to 50 years. The upper limit of the lifespan depends on the operating hours of the heating system. In the case of poor installation or design, the lifespan is shortened significantly. Generally speaking, the above mentioned products have a lifespan which equals that of the construction element housing them. The company provides a 10 year warranty for Ecofilm and Ecofloor products if installation instructions are adhered to completely.


Question:
Can thermal insulation in the floor be replaced with aluminium foil?

Answer:
No, it can’t. On the contrary, aluminium would conduct heat well. Shiny objects such as aluminium foil can be used for the reflection of infrared rays in space.


Question:
How to regulate the temperature in the floor when a hot-air fireplace is used occasionally?

Answer:
If you only have a room thermostat (possibly with a sensor in the floor which limits the hygienic limit of the floor temperature, 28 °C), it will switch off the floor heating when the room is heated with a supplementary heater, with a hot-air fireplace in this case, and the floor will cool down. This mode is economical but it may not be comfortable.
If you only have a probe in the floor, the floor will be constantly warm when the fireplace is used. This may be comfortable but it certainly cannot be called economical.

There is no clear answer to this issue and it depends on each customer individually. Some people like to be more economical, while others are happy to pay for comfort whatever it may cost.


Question:
What is the suggested wattage per square metre for the heating of pavements and drives, and how long does it take before snow starts melting?

Answer:
250 W/m²–300 W/m². With regards to the high wattage involved, cables are not installed across the whole surface but only in exposed locations (car “tracks”, a “path” along a pavement). It can take quite a long time to reach temperatures which are sufficient for the melting of snow on outside surfaces. Even several hours, depending on the weather. In extremely low temperatures or when it is snowing, the snow or frost may not melt at all on the surface.


Question:
How is the protection of gutters and downspouts designed, and what type of regulation should be chosen?

Answer:
For standard gutters and downspouts (diameter of 150 mm) a wattage of 30–40 W/m per square metre is installed, or 60 W/m and more at altitudes around 1000 m and above (after evaluation of local conditions). Cable with a wattage of 20 W/m is used, and it is installed in the gutter or downspout at least twice (thus covering a larger surface), rather than installing only a single, more powerful cable. Gutter grips are used for the attachment of the cable in the gutter and downspout grips for attachment in the downspout. The grips are installed with approx. 25 cm spacing. The spacing of cable in the gutter should be 50–80 mm. On roofs, the cable is installed in a “saw-tooth” configuration spaced out in such a way that the wattage per square metre is approximately 200 W/m². For altitudes of around 1000 m and more it should be at least 250 W/m². Thermostats with the option of connecting humidity and temperature sensors are used for the protection of gutters and downspouts.


Question:
How is the anti-freeze protection of pipes designed, and what type of regulation should be chosen?

Answer:
For the protection of pipes, cables mainly with a wattage of 10 W/m and PFP cables are used. The total wattage of the cable depends on the temperature of the surroundings, the thickness and type of heat insulation and the required temperature of the transported medium. A thermostat with the option of connecting a temperature sensor placed on the pipe must be used for the protection of the pipe against frost.


Question:
I use gas for heating, and water radiators heat my residence to the required temperature, but the floor is cold. I would like supplement my heating system with a floor heating mat or foil from your standard range to make my bathroom and kitchen more comfortable. This system would only be used on a short-term basis, perhaps 3 to 4 hours per day. Can this system be controlled only by a standard switch, possibly with a time switch without a thermostat? 

Answer:
If heating cables are installed under floor tiling in flexible sealant, no form of heating regulation needs to be used unless the installed wattage exceeds 160 W/m², and providing that the system isn’t used as the main source of heat. In the case of heating foils, a thermostat with a floor probe is necessary in order not to violate the conditions of the producers of laminate floors which state that the floor temperature mustn’t exceed 28 °C.


Question:
We are planning electric floor heating for several rooms in a newly built wooden house. A fireplace inlay will be used as the main source of heating and therefore we only want to warm the floors with ceramic tiling for a pleasant feeling. The floor isn’t finished yet – we are planning a “dry” construction – i.e. sleeper with backfill, floor slab, glue – heating mat – ceramic floor tiling. I would like to ask for advice as to what kind of floor slab is suitable under floor heating, and the wattage sufficient for keeping the floor warm.

Answer:
Floor slab type isn’t a decisive factor for the correct function of floor heating. What is important is the heat insulation used in the floor. OSB boards, chipboard or cetris boards can be used. For heat insulation, I recommend using at least 7 cm of extruded polystyrene or mineral wool. In permanently inhabited rooms (living room, kitchen, etc.), we recommend the installation of a wattage of 100 W/m²; 160 W/m² can be installed in other rooms (bathroom, corridor).


Question:
Where is it suitable to place the thermostat sensor when Ecofloor heating mats and F-board insulation are used? The sensor is relatively thick. 

Answer:
I recommend placing the temperature sensor into a gooseneck in such a way that it can be pulled out easily if it breaks down. Place the sensor in the gooseneck between the cable loops. As the gooseneck will stick out, a groove needs to be cut in the F-board insulation and possibly also in the base.


Question:
We are planning the total reconstruction of a house and we would like to install your ECOFLOOR system but we are not sure about the following: 1. Do we have the right wattage (?) – there is a three-phase energy meter and a functional 1 × 25 A circuit breaker in the house. Originally, an electric boiler was connected, as well as 2 boilers and an old electric cooker which was later replaced with gas – what circuit breakers do we need? 2. We are planning floor tiling for the whole house – we have to lay new floors, there is no waterproofing + heat insulation, and new floors will be put on the original ones. What base is the best for the ECOFLOOR system? The total area of the house will be 91 m², ground floor only.

Answer:
The wattage of the heating and consequently the size of the circuit breaker depend on the heat loss. However, as the house was previously heated by an electric boiler, 3 × 25 A should be sufficient. You have to have the D45 electricity tariff. I would recommend the following floor composition if you have enough space:

  1. concrete base
  2. waterproofing
  3. 7 to 10 cm of polystyrene
  4. concrete layer of 5 to 7 cm
  5. Ecofloor heating mat and floor tiling

Question:
How deep should the temperature probe be placed with regard to the ECOFLOOR mat? Does it have to be the same as the mat? Or can it be perhaps 5 mm under the mat in concrete? Would this have an impact on the heating of the floor? Or is it necessary to leave a certain distance so that the top of the gooseneck of the probe doesn’t exceed the level of the laid mat?

Answer:
The general rule is that the floor sensor should be as high as possible in the floor so that it measures the temperature accurately. If you insert the gooseneck into a groove and the sensor is 5 mm under the level of the mat, it will not affect the function of the floor sensor. It is important that the sensor is between the loops and not under the cable.


Question:
I want to start the construction of a house and I cannot decide what type of heating and heating elements to choose. The house has a usable area of 160 m² (ground floor + first floor) and it will be made of Porotherm. We have also had a fireplace insert designed (can both floors be heated??) Please recommend an economical way of heating which will not ruin me over time and whose acquisition costs are not measured in hundreds of thousands of crowns.

Answer:
Energy saving is only influenced in a minor way by the selection of a heating system. Energy consumption is mainly influenced by the heat insulation properties of the house. A suitable system can save roughly 10 to 15 % of energy. As a suitable and not very demanding system as far as acquisition is concerned, I would recommend floor heating with heating cables or ceiling heating using Ecofilm C heating foils, in combination with a central regulation system. If you wish to know the acquisition costs and get at least a rough idea about operating costs, please send documentation for processing (ground plan, cross section, the composition of floors, walls, ceilings and possibly also heat loss) to my e-mail address.


Question:
Can heating mats be laid directly onto OSB boards or another type of flammable material? If not, how can they be laid on these materials?

Answer:
Yes, mats and heating circuits can be laid directly onto OSB boards.


Question:
Is it possible to lead the cable through the wall and under what conditions? Do you have better grips for the cable except for tapes and plastic? The tape twists, and I cannot lay it in a way I would like, in an arch around the bath tub. I was thinking about some kind of little plates which would be independent and would resemble plastic grips for the cables.

Answer:
Heating cables mustn’t be laid through walls. We offer plastic cable grips or Grufast fixation strips for the attachment of cables; please see the e-shop.

Frequently asked questions – ECOFILM heating foil

Question:
Is it possible to have electric floor heating as the main source of heating for the whole house? 

Answer:

Of course. Electric floor heating is a completely standard way of economically and ecologically heating buildings. We will be happy to provide a price quotation for your project. We only need:

  • a properly dimensioned floor plan and cross-section of the building
  • the composition of the floors (including floor coverings), walls and ceiling in cm, in the direction interior → exterior
  • the heat loss of the building (this is not necessary but it will speed up the creation of the price offer)

Question:
Which heating system should be chosen with regard to the floor covering? 

Answer:
Ecofloor heating cables/mats laid in self-levelling material or glue under floor tiling and glued floor coverings (PVC, vinyl…). For glued floor coverings, the thickness of the layer should equal at least triple the diameter of the cable used (approx. 18 mm). In the case of floating floors, we recommend the installation of Ecofilm heating foils directly under the floor covering. Heating foils cannot be installed under floating floors in bathrooms. AL-MAT heating mats can be installed under floating floors in bathrooms.


Question:
I found a confirmation from the producer on your web pages that floating floors can be combined with ECOFILM heating foils without a loss of warranty. However, the installation firm doesn’t want to provide me with any warranty if I use electric floor heating and they claim that I can use a warm water system only.

Answer:
Heating foils actually work with very low temperatures – approx. 23–27 °C – and the changes in the floor temperature occur over a period of tens of minutes. Therefore, a floating floor operates practically under the same conditions as if it were laid on a concrete floor with warm water floor heating. Heating foils have already been tested by several manufacturers, who confirmed that when ECOFILM foils with a wattage of up to 80 W/m² are used and they are controlled with a thermostat with a floor probe, there is no reason for a loss of warranty. Unfortunately, this information is slow to spread around installation firms – this correspondence which took place between a customer, FENIX and a representative of EGGER can be used as an example.


Question:
What are the lifespans of Ecofilm and Ecofloor?

Answer:
The lifespan of both products depends on the operating hours, the method of laying, and the regulation system. If the heating and regulation systems are designed correctly, the minimum lifespan is 30 to 50 years. The upper limit of the lifespan depends on the operating hours of the heating system. In the case of poor installation or design, the lifespan is shortened significantly. Generally speaking, the above mentioned products have a lifespan which equals that of the construction element housing them. The company provides a 10 year warranty for Ecofilm and Ecofloor products if installation instructions are adhered to completely.


Question:
Is it possible to install Ecoflex convectors, Ecosun panels and Ecofilm foils on flammable bases?

Answer:
Ecoflex – can be installed on a flammable base as the structure of the attachment meets the conditions for installation on a flammable base. Ecosun – NT panels can be installed on flammable bases if a mounting cross is used which meets the conditions for installation on such bases. Ecofilm – it isn’t advisable to install Ecofilm directly on a flammable base as the structure of the foil doesn’t fulfil the safety conditions for installation directly on flammable bases.


Question:
Why is ceiling radiant heating approximately 20 % more economical that convection heating?

Answer:

Radiation is a process during which warmth from a heat source (e.g. a radiant panel) spreads across the room in the form of infrared rays. When the infrared rays reach another solid body, they change into heat energy and the mass of the body is heated intensively. It is basically similar to solar radiation. This form of heating is economical mainly thanks to the following three points:

  1. Unlike with wall radiators and convection heaters, the heat is sent downwards, towards the floor, which is to the area where it is needed. The higher the ceiling of the room, the more economical ceiling heating is in comparison with other systems.
  2. In the case of “radiators” and convection heaters, the air circulates unevenly around the room, which can evoke the feeling of coldness in certain parts of the room and force us to set a higher temperature on the thermostat. Every degree set above 20 °C means 6 % of additional expenditure on energy.
  3. Radiant panels heat a person directly, without using the air as a medium for heat transfer. Thanks to this effect, we can lower the set temperature by one to two degrees Celsius and still feel the same warmth effect as when convection heaters are used – but with a temperature which is 1 to 2 °C higher, i.e. with 6 to 12 % higher consumption.

Question:
Can thermal insulation in the floor be replaced with aluminium foil?

Answer:
No, it can’t. On the contrary, aluminium would conduct heat well. Shiny objects such as aluminium foil can be used for the reflection of infrared rays which propagate only in gases (e.g. the air).


Question:
How can ceiling radiant heating warm the whole room when warmth always rises to the ceiling?

Answer:
Warmth doesn’t stay by the ceiling, only warm air does. This phenomenon is known when radiators and convection heaters are used. These heaters have a significantly higher temperature than the air temperature. The air is warmed up by this heating element through contact with it, and increases its volume while its bulk density decreases. Colder air with higher bulk density pushes this warm air upwards and this means that the greatest warmth is by the ceiling where it isn’t needed at all. Ceiling radiant heating radiates infrared rays from a source (in our case, it is from the ceiling towards the floor); these rays change into warmth when they fall on solid or liquid substances. Often, people stand on a stool under the source of heat and claim that it is warmer near the ceiling. For an easier understanding of heat radiation, a comparison with a ray of light is better. A ray of light propagates in the same way as an infrared ray, via electromagnetic wave motion; both of them are reflected from shiny objects and are absorbed by dark objects. We perceive light via vision, and warmth through the surface of our bodies and thus also though our hands. Both light and infrared rays propagate in a perpendicular manner from their source. Let’s conduct an experiment with a spot bulb and ECOSUN S. The thickest luminous flux points downwards or in the direction in which the bulb is pointing (both the panel and the bulb will be installed in such a way that the flux will aim downwards). Radiant panels behave in the same way too. Thanks to the microscopic unevenness of the silicating surface, the thickest part of heat radiation aims downwards in a conical shape. Both light and infrared rays are partially reflected, of course, and therefore we see a low amount of light outside the illuminated part – it is the same with infrared radiation: a proportion of the rays are reflected and warm up the walls, etc. If you look at a bulb from a distance of 0.1 m, your eyes will start hurting immediately and you will stop seeing. It is similar with a radiant panel. If you place your palm at a distance of 0.1 m from the radiant panel, you will feel an unpleasant burning sensation. However, if you look at a bulb or an ECOSUN S panel from a distance of five metres, you will see an acceptable amount of light and feel pleasant warmth from the ECOSUN panel. The density of light and infrared radiation decreases with the distance from the source but the illuminated, radiated surface increases (we do not need to be worried – energy isn’t lost). The Sun is a natural source of light as well as infrared rays. Infrared rays pass through the universe, where the temperature is under freezing point, and they pass through the Earth’s atmosphere and air, but they change into warmth when they reach solid or liquid substances and the air subsequently warms up from these. 


Question:
How to regulate the temperature in the floor when a hot-air fireplace is used occasionally?

Answer:
If you only have a room thermostat (possibly with a sensor in the floor which limits the hygienic limit of the floor temperature, 28 °C), it will switch off the floor heating when the room is heated with a supplementary heater, e.g. with a hot-air fireplace as in this case, and the floor will cool down. This mode is economical but it may not be comfortable. If you only have a probe in the floor, the floor will be constantly warm when the fireplace is used. This may be comfortable but it certainly cannot be called economical. There is no clear answer to this issue and it depends on each customer individually. Some people like to be more economical, while others are happy to pay for comfort whatever it may cost.


Question:
Do you know why suppliers of floating floors don’t recommend electric heating but prefer warm-heating systems?

Answer:
Some manufacturers of floating floors assume that electric heating overheats the floor and that it can cause deformation of the floor after some time. If warm-water heating is used, the temperature of incoming water usually ranges between 40 to 50 °C; however, the recommended floor temperature is only 28 °C. In the case of electric heating (Ecofilm F foil), the floor temperature is limited by a floor probe and it doesn’t exceed the set temperature. This shows that there is more danger of the floor overheating in the case of a warm-water system. Another argument presented by manufacturers is that the temperature build-up of electric heating is too fast and, again, deformation may occur.  The temperature build-up really is faster in the case of electric heating, but it isn’t so fast that it could damage the floor. A faster change in temperature occurs, for example, when the sun shines on the floor through an attic window, when the temperature may rise up to 50 °C within a few minutes. If you wish to use electric heating under floating floors, we recommend the use of floors produced by Egger and Alloc who have issued a declaration that their products can be used with our Ecofilm heating floors.


Question:
How long does defogging a mirror with MHF heating foil take?

Answer:
It is recommended that MHF heating foils be connected to the lighting circuit, causing the mirror to start warming up immediately after the light has been switched on. As a result, the mirror doesn’t fog up. If you switch on the foil by itself, the effect of the foil will be apparent almost immediately, within one minute, I expect.


Question:
When Ecofilm foils are installed in drywall ceilings, doesn’t only the plasterboard heat up intensively? As it was written: “After the rays reach another solid body, the infrared heating changes into heat energy and the matter of the body is warmed up intensively.” Plasterboard is also a solid body.

Answer:
In the case of Ecofilm C ceiling foils, intensive warming of the plasterboard really does takes place. The infrared radiation penetrates all objects which are warmer than their surroundings. Thus, when the heating foil is warm, it gives off the warmth to the plasterboard, which heats up and starts giving off energy in the form of infrared radiation.


Question:
I would like to install Ecofilm C into vertical structures under plasterboard. I would use a metal structure made of I profiles onto which plasterboard slabs are screwed. Before installing them I would attach the heating foils to the I profiles by the non-active edges of the foils; the foils thus would have screws going through their non-active edges, and they would be held primarily by screws to the plasterboard. 

Answer:
From our point of view, this installation procedure is fine. However, the ČSN EN 60335-2-96 standard probits the installation of Ecofilm C foils in vertical structures; installation is only possible from a height of 2.3 m, which I think is unnecessary. I would therefore recommend installation in the ceiling or bevels whose inclination is less than 45 ° from the vertical. 


Question:
I would like to install floor heating in a caravan. At present, the floor is composed of a wooden grate with insulation, plywood and linoleum on top. I’m thinking about putting heating foil onto the linoleum and a floating floor above it. With regards to heat losses in the caravan, I’m considering a wattage of 200W /m².  I would like to ask for your opinion and possibly any other technical solution.

Answer:
I definitely wouldn’t recommend the installation of such a wattage under a floating floor, as the floor would get deformed. I recommend the use of heating foil with a wattage of 80 W/m², and I would use it as supplementary heating e.g. to accompany a convection heater. If the linoleum is undamaged (without any protrusions and cracks), you can leave it on the floor and put impact insulation onto it – Climopor 3 (or even better, Extrupor 6), lay the heating foil, cover it with vapour barrier foil and cover that with laminate floating floor.


Question:
Where is the borderline as to which part of installation must be carried out by a qualified person (a qualified electrician) and what can be done by oneself in the case of EcofilmSet – so that the warranty isn’t limited? Is a residual current device necessary in the case of installation under a laminate floor in a “standard” environment (i.e. non-humid – according to the relevant ČSN standard)?

Answer:
In the case of EcofilmSet foils, a qualified person should carry out the connection to the mains itself, take measurements and confirm the warranty certificate. However, it questionable whether this person would be willing to connect something which he/she didn’t see being laid. My advice is to consult the electrician who will connect the foils. Heating foils must be connected via a residual current device even in standard environments.


Question:
 Why isn’t it possible to heat the floor under a floating floor with a wattage higher than 80 W/m² when warm-water heating up to 160 W/² can be used? Does the foil or the floor get damaged?

Answer:
If you use a higher wattage, you will have to increase the temperature of the floor so that it can be transferred to the room. According to manufacturers, the temperature of a floor mustn’t exceed      28 °C because otherwise it could get damaged. In order to achieve this temperature, 80 W/m² is a sufficient wattage. Another reason why we do not recommend higher wattages is that floor deformation might occur due to the high rate of temperature increase.


Question:
What type of floor heating foil would you recommend for use in a bathroom (zones 2 and 3, TNC electric installation) on existing floor tiling so that the height including the new tiling laid onto the heating foil is as low as possible? The composition of the current floor is, from the top: floor tiling, concrete (approx. 20 cm thick), clinker layer, and a stone vault in the corridor under the bathroom which isn’t heated – only maintained at a non-freezing temperature by warmth loss form the lower rooms connected to the corridor. Is it necessary to lay insulation under the heating? Is there a difference between installation in a bathroom and in the adjacent corridor and WC? What wattage per m² should I use? At present, ECOFLEX ZCT 500 W is used in the bathroom and it is sufficient for heating; only heating of the cold floor is needed. There is one ECOSUN in the corridor – 300 W, I think.

Answer:
Heating foils cannot be used under floor tiling – they are intended for use under floating floors and their structure does not comply with the requirements of the standard for placement in humid areas. I would recommend that you use LDTS (160 W/m²) or LD (160 W/m²) heating mats in combination with F-board insulating slabs. If no thermal insulation is used, there will be large heat loss into the base and the warming of the floor will take a very long time. With F-board slabs the floor will warm up within 30 minutes, without them I would estimate 1.5 to 2.5 hours.


Question:
Can a vapour barrier foil with AL layer be used if the Ecofilm ceiling heating foil is 15 cm away from the vapour barrier foil?

Answer:
Such a use isn’t possible – we do not recommend vapour barrier foils with an aluminium layer (capacity phenomena, the value of leaking current increases). The heating foil must be placed in close contact with thermal insulation and plasterboard or gypsum fibreboard. The vapour barrier (PE foil) must be placed between the gypsum fibreboard and the heating foil.

Frequently asked questions – REGULATION

Question:
Which thermostats are suitable for each type of heating?

Answer:
For floor heating a thermostat with a floor probe and the option of regulating/limiting the temperature of the floor itself should be chosen. For the regulation of ceiling heating and heating with heating cables, room thermostats or thermostats with a room sensor should be chosen. Thermostats with the option of connecting humidity and temperature sensors are intended for use in the protection of gutters and downpipes. In order to protect pipes against freezing, a thermostat with the option of connection to a temperature sensor placed on the pipes must be selected.


Question:
What is the difference between central and local temperature regulation? 

Answer:
Local regulation means that controllers (thermostats) function independently in each heated area (zone). Operating and setting can only be done directly on the device itself which is placed in the heated room. If you wish to change the heating mode or get information about the temperature in a given room, you have to go to each thermostat and make the change or reading. In the case of central regulation, you control the heating in all zones from one place, directly via a control unit or a PC, mobile telephone, tablet… The heated zones can be checked and the setting can be changed via a text message or the internet, by anyone and from any place.


Question:
What do the terms pilot wire, non-freezing temperature and attenuation mean in connection with electric convection heaters? 

Answer:
Pilot wires are designated to enable switching between comfort and attenuation modes. Physically, a pilot wire is a conductor that forms part of the convection heater’s supply lead (usually black). If you supply mains voltage to this conductor, the convection heater switches to the attenuation mode. Attenuation means a drop of 4 to 5 °C below the set temperature. Attenuation management regulators can be used in order to control the attenuation mode (see regulation – Controllers for attenuation management and programmable time switches). Non-freezing temperature is a mode which guarantees the user that even if the building isn’t heated permanently, the temperature will not drop under freezing point and thus the freezing of equipment in the building will be prevented.