Good news if you are renovating your bathroom - under floor heating is now available in DIY kits, making it really affordable.
The DIY Electric Underfloor heating systems from Comfort Heat are designed for both commercial and residential builds, and are an innovative way to add an extra level of luxury to your bathrooms, kitchens or entire homes without breaking the bank.
We recently spoke with Sandra, the General Manager at Comfort Heat, to find out more about this fantastic heating option for your home.
Q. We’ve heard your DIY Electric Heat Kits are super (hot!) popular. What are they and why are they so popular?
The DIY kits are very popular as the cost of labour is removed. This can put floor heating within the budget of most construction projects. Especially the bathroom kits which are inexpensive, a small installation and able to be installed by anyone.
Q. Sandra, did you identify a need in the market hence the DIY aspect of the product?
We initially offered DIY kits as an added extra for trades and interested home owners. We were mostly providing the installation as well. While we still can arrange the installation of all our floor heating products, more trades and home owners are requesting DIY kits. Therefore we are looking at ways to improve the accessibility of the kits to the marketplace so they can be supplied quickly and easily.
Q. Why would someone want to install a DIY Electric Heat Kit?
Sometimes it is electricians, tilers, renovators or builders who are value adding their service to their customers. Other times it is a home owner wanting to have the luxury of floor heating and making it more affordable by using their time and labour.
Q. As a customer, once I’ve decided I want a DIY Electric Heat Kit, what are the next steps?
The important piece of information is the floor area you want to heat. This is not the total floor area of the room as there is no need to heat areas you do not tread on, such as under the vanity, under the bath, in the shower, under the kitchen cupboards etc. If you measure up the room and then include all the fixtures and their dimensions, we can determine the floor area from the sketch and provide the right sized kit for your project. Our website also has a basic grid as a download which will help you work out the right floor area yourself. We have a range of kits which provide heating to different floor areas and these can be conveniently purchased online.
Q. You're based in Warriewood in New South Wales. Can I purchase a DIY Electric Heat Kit from Comfort Heat if I live interstate?
Definitely – we ship all over Australia which makes floor heating for your home, or project, even more accessible.
Q. Can you adjust the temperature of the heat? If so, what’s the best temperature to set the heat at?
All the floor heating systems we design and supply are controlled by a thermostat with a floor sensor. You can program the thermostat to keep the floor at a set temperature and the thermostat will turn the floor on and off to maintain your selected temperature. Some rooms are warm with the floor temperature set to 23 deg C – others need a bit more heat as they are not as efficient – the maximum temperature should be around 27 deg C.
Q. Can any type of flooring be laid over the DIY Electric Heat Kits?
The best flooring over a heated floor is a hard floor – polished concrete, ceramic and stone tiles or polished toppings. Floating timber floors and carpet can be heated, but will not be as efficient to run as the hard floors but are very successful in providing warmth to the floor and room. For floor coverings which are natural insulators such as rubber or cork, there is not much reason to heat under them if the heat cannot get through. For linoleum floors, the heating would need to be installed in a topping so there is a flat surface under the linoleum or the cables will show through over time.
Q. That being the case, can you retro fit a DIY Electric Heat Kit?
As the heating is in the floor, there needs to be new flooring being installed to install a floor heating system. The easiest floor heating to retrofit is under existing carpet or floating timber boards, however the carpet or boards must be taken up and then re-laid. The most common installation of floor heating in an existing building is the bathroom floor heating and this is done when the bathroom is being renovated. Another retrofit would be when new tiles are being laid in an existing house.
Q. How much would it cost for an average home to be fitted with a DIY Electric Heat Kit?
The least expensive kit is the bathroom kit and this starts at $357.00 + GST. The larger the floor area, the higher the price, but even an average bathroom kit is usually under $500.00 + GST.
Q. I noticed you have a customer help line when it comes to installation, I particularly like your phone number 1300 13WARM! What’s the most common call you receive when it comes to helping people who have purchased the DIY kits and are installing them?
Usually it is that the cable is too small or too long. The cable is factory terminated in different lengths and cannot be cut and re-terminated. It is therefore important that correct floor areas are calculated and also that the cable is laid on the floor loosely before being installed.
Q. Have you received any funny calls from customers asking for assistance?
It was not so much funny as unexpected as we put a lot of effort into making sure our installation instructions are very easy to follow and that there is always someone to call if there is a problem or difficulty. One customer started their installation at the finish and installed the cable back to front. He only realised when he did not have enough black cable (cold tail) to go up the wall to the thermostat. He had to uninstall and reinstall the right way around.
Q. Ouch. That would have made for a long day on site for him. Are there any benefits to me having an Electric Heat Kit installed?
Floor heating is one of the most effective and efficient ways to heat a room, a house or a commercial space. It is totally invisible, has no moving parts, there is no dust or noise and no drying of the air spaces. Electric floor heating systems are best for smaller floor areas as they can heat down to 1 square metre of space and are totally controlled. Most electric floor heating systems can be installed by anyone.
Q. Heat down to 1 square meter, that's impressive. Do the heat kits come with a warranty?
The same warranty applies to a DIY kit as applies to a floor heating system installed by specialist installers – 10 years on the cable installed in cement slab, in screed or in tile glue; 5 years on the cable installed under a floating timber floor or carpet; 2 years on the thermostat controls.
Q. Do you have floor heating at home Sandra? If so, would do you love most about it?
Yes! I have floor heating in my bathroom, I have an electric floor heating kit installed under the floating timber floor in my coldest room and I have under tile ultra-thin mat installed in my office. All systems improve the comfort of my house, the coldest rooms are no longer taking the heat from the other living spaces. I have removed the dampness and mold from my basement office area and no longer need a heater in the room even though I am at the computer for extended times.
Q. Have you identified any trends in heating that we can anticipate?
In most cases, heating appliances are looking to be more efficient in the ways they provide heating to homes and commercial spaces. Designers and architects are looking to improve the efficiency of their designs to ensure they are cool in summer and warm in winter without utilising too much energy. Building codes will start to be improved to ensure new buildings are more efficient in design and utilise insulation more. Floor heating will play a large part in making these spaces warm in winter with lower running costs with no compromises on comfort.
Q. What sets you apart from other retailers in your industry?
Comfort Heat Australia has been providing the Australian construction industry with floor heating solutions for over 15 years. We have learned many things during that time and improved the systems we provide as well as searching for new technologies overseas. We are committed to providing our customers with floor heating systems which are well designed, are technically competent and supported with good customer service. To that end we have experienced sales, installation and support staff, engineers, plumbers and electricians working in the company.
Q. What do you enjoy most about working in the industry Sandra?
I get to work with many people in the construction area who are excited about how floor heating will enhance the value to their clients. I also get to discuss floor heating options with home owners building or renovating their homes. The most satisfying element to the work we do at Comfort Heat is when we receive feedback on our systems from customers who are amazed at how wonderful the heat from the floor feels and return customers desperate to include floor heating in their next project.
Q. What is one secret you could share with your consumers about how to choose the best heating solution for their home?
Every home is different and may require varied heating solutions. How the heating options are utilised within the home needs to be designed so the most effective and efficient heating system is installed. While floor heating is a wonderful heating option, it is not always able to be incorporated in building projects. Floor heating can also be utilised in conjunction with other heating options to ensure efficiency – so discussing your project, providing information regarding your plans and giving an insight into expectations for the heating are good starting points to determine the right heating options for any particular project.
Q. Lastly Sandra, if you were not working at Comfort Heat, where would you be and what would you be doing?
I really enjoy applying the knowledge I have gained in business and also utilising my scientific background. Discussing heating options with builders, owners and architects is very interesting and rewarding. I enjoy the work and the challenges, so I would still be working within the construction industry contributing to business growth.
Ready to install your own under floor heating system in your bathroom? The Comfort Floors bathroom kits provide all the materials and installation guides necessary to install under floor heating in your bathroom.
Please note, as per instructions supplied with the DIY Electric Comfort Heat Kits, they require a qualified electrician to do your final connection. All floor heating loads are supplied for you and your electrician. For all electrical instructions, please contact Comfort Heat directly.
The Team at House of Home would like to thank Sandra from Comfort Heat Australia for her expert advice when it comes to selecting a floor heating system for your home.