Little damages concentration more in winter than fingers so cold they can barely creak open, icy feet and a brain that mists over with fog.
Globally companies are outsourcing, the home office is becoming the norm rather than the exception. While in the bad old days a home office may have been a desk, a chair and a two bar heater, today’s professional has an office that honours his or her status as an often high-powered consultant or small business operator.
Running a business from home not only means that it must be of sufficient high standard to impress business visitors but it must be cost effective in terms of office equipment, communications resources and electricity. It must also show that the home entrepreneur or professional is in tune with today’s environmental concerns.
Poorly heated offices and homes use more energy and contribute to higher loads of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Time magazine’s special edition “The Global Warming Guide” in April 2007 made the point that “most of the 22.7 tons of carbon dioxide emissions each American is responsible for each year come from the home.”
Time quotes Oru Bose a sustainable design architect who says, “doing simple things could reduce your energy costs by 40%.” He and others recommend that you “control heat, air and moisture leakage.” Ways to do this include insulation and intelligent thermostats to limit heat loss while ensuring optimal warmth.
Floor insulation coupled with well-installed underfloor heating can chop 25% off your electricity bill in winter.
South Africa is becoming one of the world’s fastest growing underfloor heating markets. Denmark’s Danfoss leads the R100m underfloor heating market in South Africa and that globally. They also make heated towel rails and such luxuries as mirror demisters, but it is underfloor heating that creates real cost-savings and carries significant health benefits.
Underfloor heating is not only environmentally friendly by cutting down on energy use and costs; dust mites hate it and so it is healthier for those with allergies or respiratory diseases such as asthma.
Danfoss underfloor heating emits no electromagnetic which has been blamed for rises in cancer.
Electromagnetic rays are emitted by electrical appliances but their hazardous effects are amplified by television sets, computers, microwave ovens, conventional electric or oil heaters and cellphones - any way in which you can reduce these harmful rays adds health benefits to your family.
In Europe, these benefits are used in hospital units for burn victims, where floors and walls are covered with heating elements so that very precise temperatures can be maintained and air movement reduced to aid healing.
If you take heated towel rails they consume as much electricity as the dimmest of all electrical light bulbs, a mere 40W. They also save on tumble drying costs because damp towels do not need to be spun dry; they dry quickly on the towel rail.
Installing underfloor heating will mean that you need to get an expert installer, beware the one-man-bakkie-show installers who are cheap, but not experts and the cost savings you hope for are unlikely to materialize. Underfloor heating is simple to install in a new structure and goes in with the other building requirements. If you have an existing structure it is still simple to install underfloor heating. Under wooden floors, you would need to lift some planks, install the floor heating with thermostat and a sensor in the floor so that the floor temperature never exceeds 28 degrees. Cover the cable with a minimum of 5mm of screed. Installations under tiles and laminate is easy, ensure you have a minimum 80% floor coverage and a good thermostat and a comfortable, warm office is always yours.With existing tiles it is advisable to lay the heating over existing tiles and place a fresh layer of tiles over those. It is simple to lift a carpet and install underfloor heating then recover with the carpet.
DIY options are available for outlets such as CTM where instore advisers can assist.
A 5 m2 bathroom heated for two hours a day costs approximately 0.37c a day to run – or R11 a month.
An intelligent thermostat like that designed by Danfoss uses up to 40% less energy than standard timers or thermostats, it knows when to switch itself on or off and ensures maximum comfort – without very hot or very cold areas which are experienced with old fashioned heaters.
To heat a 30 sq m room (standard living room), with 3kW installed and an intelligent thermostat work on the standard Eskom rate for 1kW/h of 37 cents. If the room is heated for five hours it will cost R5,50 a day to heat. However, with only a standard thermostat it will cost around R16 a day; and with conventional oil bars, electric bars or gas heating costs rise to R25 to R30 a day – five to six times more than with well-placed underfloor heating. Remember with underfloor heating only a few rooms need heating to benefit the whole home.
Danfoss underfloor heating carries a 10 year warranty and has safety standards exceeding those laid down by the SA Bureau of Standards.
Tips for selecting and installing the right underfloor heating
A good warranty indicates high quality, ensure you have an extensive factory backed warranty which means the manufacturer of the product guarantees repair or replacement.
Work on 100 W/m2 installed in your floor (150 W/m2 in bathrooms and kitchens). If you have a 30 m2 room, install around 3 000 W/ 3 kW. If you get quoted more than 100 W/m2 it may be because you have a special floor covering, very high ceilings, lots of windows or no floor insulation.
Use an intelligent thermostat like the Danish designed Danfoss Intelligent heating system, it uses up to 40% less energy than conventional timers or thermostats and adjusts seamlessly to you opening a door or window ensuring the desired level of heat is maintained.
This article has been provided by Claus Jakobsen, Marketing Manager for Danfoss South Africa. For more information about the Danfoss system and to find a distributor in your area please visit the Danfoss website. It is full of interesting and useful information for the consumer.
Contact details: Danfoss South Africa
Telephone: 011 803 8390