Danfoss, the world’s largest underfloor heating company recorded the highest growth in the world of its products over the last two years in sunny South Africa.
“It sounds incredible at a superficial level to consumers,” Danfoss marketing manager, Claus Jakobsen said, “but this is the country in the world with one of the fastest emerging new middle class, plus a very wealthy new super elite with research showing us that South Africa is the fourth fastest creator of new dollar millionaires and a sizeable number of US dollar billionaires. The new middle class and the elite are probably the most quality conscious buyers South Africa has yet seen.
“They are fussy, intelligent consumers that realise that shoddy finishes and cheap fittings always end up being more expensive. We find that most installations take place in houses that are worth R1m and upward. In the past we found underfloor heating was mostly installed in new houses but the renovation industry is very strong at present and we are seeing a 50/50 split with installation in new and older houses. This underfloor heating can be installed under wooden boards and that is a major advantage in many of South Africa’s beautiful old houses that have Oregon pine flooring.
“We have seen an increase in installations in hotels and apartment buildings, and it appears to be a must to install this in anything catering for the high-end tourist market.
“There is also a whole new class of consumers that are fast emerging that are very environmentally aware, they realise that Danfoss underfloor heating can cut 25% off their winter heating bills. Next year we will bring out water-based underfloor heating that is ultra-environmentally sensitive.
“It has intelligent wireless controlled thermostats that can manage the whole house and regulate heating in each room according to its specific needs and whether or not people are in the room and need no wiring.
“Our cables also don’t issue electromagnetic fields so emit no cancer-causing rays and they reduce dust mites which mean they are essential for those with respiratory problems such as asthma, and for this reason it is also widely used in burn wards.”
Jakobsen said the do-it-yourself underfloor heating mats had proved to be the biggest selling product line. “They are easy to install and unique in the market. This is often combined with the green alternative 550 thermostat.”
Internationally mats and cables are the two biggest sellers for Danfoss Floor Heating, “but we expect to see an increase in DIY mat sales next year. The 550 Thermostat is still by far the best selling thermostat for Danfoss even though it is the most expensive thermostat from Danfoss. It proves people want green, energy saving alternatives and are prepared to pay for it.”
Floor heating is the most efficient heating source you can get. This is because floor heating is spread over a large area and therefore gives a very uniform heat distribution. The difference between a floor heating system and a standard electrical freestanding heater both emitting 2 kW of power, is that the floor heating system will run at a much lower temperature at the same time as giving perfect heat distribution and comfort, while the standard electrical free-standing heater will have to run its power at a very high temperature to give a similar effect.
Danfoss also recommends that to maximize the benefits of floor heating consumers should ensure their homes are well insulated. A properly insulated house is cool in summer and comfortable in winter – it also saves money on heating and airconditioning bills.
Jakobsen recommends that a timer or intelligent thermostat should control underfloor heating systems. “This means that the system does not run when you do not need it ie. at night, when you work or when you are not using that particular room. Energy savings can be as much as 40% by doing it this way!”
The costs of installing floor heating systems vary. The basic rule is that it is cheaper to install when building a new house than when renovating and figures vary from approximately
R100 per square metre to R200 per square metre.
Danfoss, the internationally respected global giant, which also manufactures other industrial and domestic heating applications, has been in South Africa for six years and with 15% of market share is the market leader in South Africa. Internationally Do It Yourself underfloor heating products form roughly 40% of the market with South African lagging at around five percent to 10% of sales. 90% of thermostats sold through CTM tile stores are intelligent thermostats – “they are expensive, but have the best capacity to control heating, keep costs down and protect the environment,” Claus Jakobsen marketing manager Danfoss explains.
For more information contact:
Claus Jakobsen, marketing manager, Danfoss 082 564 0868 or email:
More articles by Claus can be found here.