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Tips to ensure your underfloor heating products are safe to use

The easiest way to explain safety concerns regarding underfloor radiant heating systems is to first differentiate between hydronic system safety and electric system safety. Hydronic radiant floor heating systems are comprised of tubing that’s laid under concrete or beneath the subfloor. Overall, these systems are very safe. Below is a list of key safety issues that could arise with hydronic systems that should be checked annually through inspections. Gas boilers:

  • Ensure proper venting of the combustible gases
  • Have your gas boiler inspected and tuned up annually for optimal performance and safety
  • Ensure your boiler’s pressure levels are not too high, as this can cause the failure vent relief valve to spew hot water out of the system
  • Inspect air relief valves and replace them if they leak

If you have an electric boiler , the main safety issues to watch for are:

  • Make sure electrical connections are periodically tightened
  • Pressure – as with the gas system, ensure your boiler’s pressure levels are below 30 pounds per square inch

Electric underfloor heating systems that are comprised of wires and/or mats are overall very safe as well. The high voltage cables that operate on 120 or 240 volt AC are normally connected to a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) breaker that will trip the circuit and protect the user from electric shock. Low voltage electric heating mats may not require a GFCI breaker, as they are isolated from any connection to the ground, preventing any possibility of electric shock. Electric magnetic fields – otherwise known as EMF – are a concern for some high voltage cable system users. These systems became highly controversial due to speculation surrounding the long-term health effects of EMF. However, there seems to be no conclusive scientific evidence that EMF causes adverse health effects. Manufacturers develop their cable systems to minimize or cancel the level of EMF by utilizing a dual conductor in the cable that opposes the EMF field, thus reducing the overall EMF reading. Additionally, these systems are placed below a floor covering, which further reduces their low EMF readings. With low voltage systems such as’s Step Warmfloor system, EMF readings are even less than their high-voltage cousins. The lower the voltage, the lower the EMF readings will be. These low voltage systems utilize a step down transformer, which reduces voltage readings from 120 or 240 volts AC to 24 volts AC. The EMF readings on these step-down transformers are extremely low. There are higher EMF readings taken from 120 volt AC hairdryers and toasters than any electric radiant floor heating cable or mat!Hydronic or electric underfloor heating systems have other safety-related attributes, including being used in applications that prevent ice from building up on entrances to public buildings, helicopter pads plus so much more!The pros definitely outweigh the cons in the use of underfloor radiant heating systems. These systems enhance comfort and provide health and safety. As long as underfloor heating systems are properly installed – whether they’re hydronic or electric – they are extremely safe!