Debunking Common Myths About Slab Heating
in Slab Heating by Michael Eagleton
Whilst there is a lot of misinformation out there about slab heating, we regularly see the same myths crop up time and time again. As a result, people believe all sorts of incorrect and bizarre things about these heating systems – but we’re here to show you the truth of the matter!
- Myth #1 – You could develop a condition known as ‘hot foot’
Some people have claimed that heating the entire slab could result in a condition known as ‘hot foot’ or ‘glowing floors’, as our feet and ankles are not accustomed to standing on a warm surface. It should be noted that the floors will never grow hot enough for any sort of discomfort to occur, unless the system has been installed incorrectly.
- Myth #2 – Systems are costly to install and difficult to maintain
Whilst slab heating is generally slightly more expensive to install than traditional systems, it should be noted that this is not always the case. The cost and maintenance of any system is actually related to the complexity and efficiency of the building itself. Whether you’re dealing with a new build or a retrofit also plays a role in this problem.
- Myth #3 –You will have stale air, as nothing is moving it around
These sorts of statements don’t make any sense, as your home requires ventilation regardless of what type of HVAC system you have. The air in your home will not be stale, as it will still be moving. The lack of forced air does mean, however, that less dust and allergens will be circulated throughout your home (as normal ventilation is not that strong).
- Myth #4 – These systems cannot be used to heat the whole home
A more incorrect statement could not have been made. In fact, 8 of the top 10 winning projects in the 2016 American Institute of Architects Committee used radiant based systems. Lots of big projects use this type of heating – including museums, high-rise office towers and schools – so heating a single home is child’s play.
- Myth #5 – Timber or wood floors can be seriously damaged
Whilst this is certainly true, it is unlikely that slab heating will be to blame and the same issues can arise in homes using a forced air system. The primary cause of cracking and shrinkage is related to changes in moisture content – not heat. More often than not, you will find that damage is a result of the boards not being properly acclimatised prior to installation.
- Myth #6 – The thicker the slab, the more it will heat up and radiate
Slab thickness actually has nothing to do with how well a concrete surface will radiate heat. Whilst a thicker slab will hold more energy in the form of heat, if the surface temperature of the slab is the same as all the surface temperatures in the room there will be no radiant transfer. There is no need to make it thicker than regulations require you to.
We hope that we’ve managed to debunk some of the more common myths you’ve heard about slab heating, but we know there are plenty more we haven’t even touched on. This is why, before making any decisions about how to heat your home, it’s important to speak to the experts.