STEP Warmfloor® radiant heating elements are a flexible, homogeneous, polymer heating element based on nano-technology. The nano-material modifies its behavior of conduction when electrically charged.
Heating Elements with Nano-Technology
The unique polymer blend is electrically conductive and because of resistance in the material, heat develops. The element is self-regulating which means that when the ambient temperature increases, the electrical resistance increases and the consumption of electricity decreases. For this reason, the element cannot overheat.
STEP Warmfloor® is a strong, thin, plastic mat, 3/64 inch (1.2 mm) thick. It comes in a roll, in different widths, and can be cut to the desired length and field-wired on site.
STEP Warmfloor® radiant heating elements are based on nano-technology. The nano-material modifies its behavior of conduction when electrically charged. A function of the structural homogeneous blend with other materials makes the element naturally self-regulating.
STEP Warmfloor® radiant heating elements use only the energy necessary to maintain an even temperature. They cannot overheat. When the ambient temperature increases, the morphology of the polymer structure changes and the particles separate reducing the points of contact between each other. As the electrical resistance increases less current can pass and the emission of heat decreases. When the ambient temperature is low, these particles are closer to one another permitting a greater passage of electrical current and thereby generating more calorific power.
STEP Warmfloor® self-regulating heating elements act like a floor sensor, supplying more wattage when cold and less wattage as they warm up. The radiant heating elements are flat and cover a large surface, and because the material acts as a floor sensor it pulls less energy as it gets warm. The unique self-regulating technology makes that the heating element maintains an even temperature over the whole surface and cannot overheat. Depending on the the thermal insulation and the floor covering, floor surface temperature with the STEP Residential™ elements will not raise above 78-82°F, which is more than sufficient to heat most rooms. Actually, a floor temperature over 82°F is not recommended for health considerations in Europe. In the US the maximum floor temperature is 85°F.
Most manufacturers of building materials limit temperature to 85°F to increase the longevity of the building materials. For Hardwood floors the maximum temperature is normally between 78-82°F, just within the temperature range of STEP Residential™ elements.
Typically a heating system with cables are installed with 12 watts per square foot. STEP Warmfloor® is typically installed with only 4.5 watts per square foot to have the same heat output. When operating a cable heating system continuously, you will need a thermostat with a floor sensor to control the temperature. STEP Warmfloor® does not require a floor sensor due to the self-regulating ability of the element. Even though STEP Warmfloor® does not require a floor sensor it is recommended to use a thermostat with the system to control the ambient temperature. Cable heating systems require a floor heating sensor and most manufacturers recommend to also use a thermostat. STEP Warmfloor® systems do not require a floor sensor, but for energy efficiency an air or floor sensor is recommended.
As you can see from the illustration above STEP Warmfloor® is installed with 4.5 watts per square foot, but as the element heats up the self-regulating ability reduces the wattage used to approximately 3 watts per square foot. The cable system will totally rely on the on/of functionality of the thermostat to reduce the floor temperature making it less energy efficient. With STEP Warmfloor® you can provide an even and energy efficient heating experience.
For efficiency, it will also be necessary to take in consideration the location and type of construction, including thermal insulation and flooring installed.