Thinking of fitting a caravan floor heater or motorhome floor heater?

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Sometimes a full caravan floor heater or motorhome floor heater installation can seem a bit daunting.  In any case, wouldn’t it be nice to make the investment only once and be able to take the heater with you when you next change ‘vans?

For this to be possible you need a portable electric heater and one that doesn’t take up valuable space.  Thankfully there is a portable caravan floor heater (or motorhome floor heater) that fits the bill and it’s ideal as a secondary source of heating in your main living area.

Caravan Interior With MatsThe RugBuddy under-rug heater is a plug-in heated floor mat, so there is no costly, irreversible installation to worry about.  The original floor finish stays intact and you simply put down an antislip underlay*, lay the RugBuddy on top, cover it with your rug or mat, plug it in, and start enjoying that ‘underfloor heating feeling’!

*Of the 2 types of underlay available on this site, the Super All Surface Fleece underlay is the lightest at 260 grams per square metre.

While not specifically designed for use outside the home, the RugBuddy works exceptionally well as a foot warmer in any environment where you’ve got a mains hook-up.  Rated at 120 Watts per square metre, the RugBuddy is as powerful as domestic underfloor heating but, uniquely, is also safe to put on any floor surface.

RugBuddy caravan floor heaterThere are some basic rules to apply.

The first is to lay the RugBuddy on an insulating underlay so all that lovely warmth doesn’t disappear through the floor. Most manufacturers wouldn’t recommend putting a heat source on the floor so the underlay isolates the heater from the floor.

Secondly, you mustn’t ‘smother it’ when switched on.  By this I mean placing a mattress or bean bag on it when it’s working.  The unit is self regulating, so the risk of overheating has been designed out, but commonsense should be applied!

RugBuddies are available in caravan friendly sizes of

  • 0.5 x 1.0m (1’8” x 3’3”) 60 Watts
  • 0.5 x 1.5m (1’8” x 4’11”) 90 Watts
  • 0.5 x 2.0m (1’8” x 6’7”)  120 Watts
  • 1.0 x 1.5m (3’3” x 4’11”)  180 Watts

and only weigh between 1 and 2 kgs.

Click for more information on the RugBuddy under-rug heater. Click again to read RugBuddy reviews.

Click to read the Caravan Talk caravan floor heater discussion. (Picture above courtesy DeltaTIOwner)

You can see that upgrading to a caravan floor heater or motorhome floor heater is simple and doesn’t need to involve costly, irreversible, installation.

In-flooring and On-flooring Heating

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A big trend for us at the moment in the heating business is giving people the underfloor heating they want without having to dig up the floors!

In-flooring and on-flooring heating

New in-flooring and on-flooring heating heating makes this possible.

For example, if you’re laying a new laminate floor, you can place  in-flooring laminate heating on top of the laminate underlay and then lay the laminate boards on top of that.

For stone and tiles, you embed the in-flooring tile heating in the tile cement as you lay the tiles.

So no more digging up floors and laying expensive screed which mucks up floor levels and also reduces the performance of the heating.

‘On-flooring’ heating is even easier. Whichever floor finish you have – carpet, laminate/wood, tiles/stone – you just put down an anti-slip rug underlay, place the on-flooring heater (a type of heated floor mat)on top, and cover with a rug.

This turns the rug into an ‘area heater’. Ideal in front of the sofa as a foot warmer, as an under desk heater, a conservatory heater, or under the kitchen table. In fact, anywhere where you spend your time and need a bit of extra warmth.

Some people call it ‘an electric blanket for the floor’ but it’s a lot more sophisticated and robust than that.  Please look around this website for more about in-flooring and on-flooring heating.

Why Central Heating Radiators Are Bad For You

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Many of us have central heating and rely on radiators in each room to keep us warm.  Despite the name, radiators are really giant convectors and this post reveals why central heating radiators are bad for you.

Convection and Allergies

When air is heated it becomes less dense and rises: natural convection occurs.

But convection (air movement) circulates dust and (carpet) mites. This is seen on walls as dirty smudges above radiators.

Cleaning the wall is easy but this low quality air will also be in your wind pipes and lungs.

Dust mite is known to cause breathing allergies such as Asthma and other lung problems, sneezing fits, and more.

While dust mite allergy sufferers may go to some lengths (e.g. laminate flooring and ceramic tiles) to avoid obvious dust traps, unless internal air circulation is avoided the benefits will be limited.

Convection, Moisture, and Allergies (again)

Warm convection currents can carry more moisture than cold air and absorb moisture readily.  The convection currents dry everything they flow past, including plants, skin and lips.

Dry skin causes itching and is susceptible to infection. Chapped lips present an “open door” to oral disease such as oral herpes, cold sores or fever blisters.

It stands to reason that cold and dry outside air and wind also cause this condition.

But why create a drying effect at home and in offices where you spend most of your time?

Conventional central heating radiators (despite their name) are culprits because heat dispersion is 90% convection.

A recent survey revealed that (air temperature) thermostats on central heating systems are now set on average 4degC higher than in the 1970’s.  That means in many of today’s homes, equipped with radiators, convection currents are stronger than ever. The rise in allergies and dry skin conditions such as eczema may be related.

To counter the drying effect of warm air, people sometimes use humidifiers or simply hang a water reservoir on the radiator.

This has the effect of uncontrolled humidifying of the warmer air. Then:
•    The air cools off as it rises to the ceiling and travels to the far wall from where it falls back to the ground.
•    Cooling air means the air starts to give up the moisture it’s been carrying. The air cools more on colder surfaces causing condensation to form creating the conditions for a worse problem.
•    Condensation is mostly seen on windows, outside walls, and ‘bridge’ points in corners and at low levels where the floor meets the walls.
•    Condensation causes rot and promotes mould growth. Painting over such areas makes it invisible but the mould does not go away. Moisture is in the wall and mould grows, seen or unseen.

Mould spores cause allergy to some people. The symptoms are irregular and appear as always sickly, headache, not well, etc.

Now We Know That Central Heating Radiators Are Bad, What Do We Do?

Convection vs Radiant Floor HeatingThis site is all about radiant floor heating.  Radiant heating is not affected by air humidity, and does not change it either.

Radiant heating does not heat the air directly but the air will warm from contact with the surfaces warmed by radiant heating. Surfaces absorb the heat and will re-radiate if the surroundings are cooler.

If you're stuck with (convector) radiators turn them down, or turn them off, and get yourself some radiant floor heating.

If you are planning a new floor finish you can go for in-floor laminate heating ,or, if it is the smooth ceramic look you are after then install in-floor tile heating).

Otherwise, the one solution that everyone can go for - without any of the upheaval associated with a full installation - is an on-floor portable electric heater called RugBuddy.

RugBuddy is a type of heated floor mat that you cover with a rug. It can be used as a foot warmer in front of the sofa, or your favourite chair, as a conservatory heater, an under desk heater, and anywhere in the house that needs a bit of extra warmth.

Proper radiant heating design avoids the reasons why central heating radiators are bad for you.

Radiant heating doesn’t create air movement, nor does it directly affect air temperature or humidity. So it cannot cause condensation or mould, nor will it spread dust and mites.

Low energy radiant heaters do not cause any negative health effects or user risks.

Electric Blanket for the Floor

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When describing RugBuddy I find people ‘get it’ when I say it’s like an electric blanket for the floor.

It’s an electric element encased in a sandwich of composite materials – silver foil on the underside to reflect heat up, and a woven plastic material on top. This makes it far more robust than in an electric blanket and makes it totally suitable for a long life on the floor. It’s a heated floor mat that you cover with a rug.

In fact, it’s so robust there’s absolutely no problem placing furniture on top or even office chairs in wheels.  You wouldn’t try that with an electric blanket!

The other big difference is the operating temperature.

The RugBuddy has an operating temperature of 27degC which has been proven by many tests to be generally ideal for radiant floor heating.  The electric blanket operates at around 37degC but of course is doing a different job and there are different expectations of what you might be wearing (or not)!

Just to be sure that RugBuddy has got this right please take a look at the RugBuddy Reviews.

Electric blanket for the floor

Apologies if a bit of jargon has crept into the site.  For example I might call the RugBuddy an ‘on-floor area heater’ or just a plain ‘under-rug heater’.  But it’s fine if you prefer ‘electric blanket for the floor’!

Heating for your Villa or Holiday Home

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If you’re wondering how to introduce some heating for your villa or holiday home the RugBuddy may be the perfect solution.  Many villas abroad and holiday homes only have basic heating, or possibly no heating at all. The evenings can get chillyand you may even want to extend the season you use your home without the expense of installing a full central heating system.

Heating for your villa or holiday homeAs a portable form of secondary heating RugBuddy is an ideal heater for villas and holiday homes.  It’s noticeable that in recent months I’ve shipped RugBuddies to France, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Turkey.

RugBuddies are not sold directly in these countries but I’m happy to quote for Parcelforce Global Priority shipping.  Of course, what many are doing is taking delivery at their UK address and then taking RugBuddy with them on their next visit.  This is not such as chore as it may sound as the typical RugBuddy only weighs around 3 kg and comes neatly packed in its box.

So, if you need a bit of area heating for your villa or holiday home in France, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Turkey then the RugBuddy under rug heater is ideal.  Give me a call on the number at the top of the page and I’ll sort out a quote if you want the RugBuddy heater shipped to your villa or holiday home.

If you want to use your conservatory more but can’t heat it properly – here’s hope!

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Building a conservatory has long been a popular way to add an extra room.  Most love the natural light and feeling of airiness you get in even the smallest conservatory.  With no need for planning permission (usually), and a quick build time, costs are minimised making it more attractive still.

But the UK love affair with conservatories literally ‘cools’ when the weather takes a turn for the worse or the balmy summer day turns into a chilly evening.  The simple fact is that most conservatories have poor insulation properties.  Even with the best materials, the way conservatories are built mean that heat has many routes to escape.

So do we just accept we can’t use the conservatory all year round?  Not if we take advantage of what’s on offer at BeWarmer Ltd.

It’s no surprise that the smartest conservatories always have underfloor heating – there’s a good reason for this.  Having a heat source in the floor gives you warmth where you need it and because the floor radiates heat upwards your body absorbs this and you can be comfortably warm even if the air is cool.  Because retrofitting underfloor heating is not an option in most conservatories we have developed RugBuddy – a heater mat that sits on the floor which you then cover with a rug.

The heater conforms to all safety requirements for domestic appliances, is fitted with a standard 3 pin plug, and gives you that underfloor heating feeling without having to dig up the floor.

A common mistake is to extend the house central heating and have a radiator in the conservatory.  Radiators swirl warm air up to the roof and you’re left with cold feet and draughts at ankle level.  This turns out to be very wasteful of the energy used and it’s hard to get truly comfortable.  Also, as you might want to heat the conservatory when the house heating isn’t on, e.g. on a cool summer’s evening, it’s easy to see that a conventional radiator isn’t the best option.

In contrast the radiant heat you get from a RugBuddy under rug heater is more effective.  You can extend the season you use the conservatory and enjoy sitting long into the evening when in the past you would have retreated into the main part of the house.

On-demand heating offers greater efficiency to cut energy bills

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With energy costs going up in double digits year-on-year, help could be at hand in the form of on-demand heating which has the potential to save UK households hundreds of pounds on their heating bills each year.

While central heating may have suited the nuclear family of the 60’s and 70’s where the system would be off during the day while you were at work and the children at school, in today’s more flexible working and living arrangements, central heating can lead to inefficiencies and waste.

Our lifestyles have changed considerably since the introduction of central heating. More and more people today work from home, often from a single room, yet many heat the whole house to keep warm during the day. While older children, who tend to spend evenings in their bedrooms doing homework, or watching TV, want their bedroom to be as warm as the rest of the house. As a result of these changes the need for on-demand heating is growing.

We have an on-floor on demand under rug heater called RugBuddy to complement their in-floor DIY installations. The RugBuddy under rug heater is a solution for those that don’t have zoned in-floor or underfloor heating. It is the only one of its type available in the UK and has the potential to reduce peoples’ heating bills.

RugBuddy is a good example of on-demand heating. It provides a secondary source in the areas you need warmth and comfort most – in front of the sofa, under the home office desk, beside the bed, in the conservatory, under the kitchen table and so on – and it means you can usually turn the central heating down by up to 3 degrees and still feel comfortable. Each degree you turn the central heating down by saves at least £65 per year according to the Energy Saving Trust. This offers the potential for savings of around £200 per year .

According to energy regulator Ofgem many households face four-figure energy bills. On-demand heating can offer a solution as these households look for ways to reduce the cost.

A simple way to turn your heating down

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We’ve read today’s news story  that many households have the thermostat turned up 4 degrees hotter than in the 1970s.

Obviously they have chosen to ignore Ed Davey’s advice to ‘put on a jumper’ but they may be wondering why they still don’t feel that warm and cosy despite the higher temperatures and increasing energy bills.

Many of us have wall mounted radiators.  Despite the name, radiators tend to be convectors that heat the air as it is drawn through a series of vanes at the back.  The warm air rises to the ceiling and pushes across to the far side of the room where it cools and slips down to floor level.  It’s now drawn back across the floor to be warmed by the radiator and the cycle repeats.  These convection currents mean the warmest air is by the ceiling and the coolest air, and strongest draughts, are at floor level.

It’s easy to see that this is the exact reverse of what you want.  You feel most comfortable if you are out of draughts, with warm feet and ankles, and with your head in un-stuffy air.  Convector heaters fail to deliver any of these comfort factors.

So what to do?  If you’re into new build or major renovations then you can specify underfloor heating.  Leaving aside the relative merits of the different underfloor heating systems, the reason people find underfloor heating so wonderful is that it doesn’t create convection currents and draughts.  It provides the heat where you want it at floor level, and it doesn’t create over heated stuffy air.

If you’re not in the position of being able to re-lay your floors, then a great retrofit option is to have a few under rug heaters around the house in places where you spend the most time.  Popular in the US and other parts of the world, these have only now become available in the UK through BeWarmer Ltd.

Under rug heaters work the same way as electric underfloor heating but are a simple appliance that plugs directly into the wall.  You can have them anywhere you want; in front of the sofa, under the kitchen table, beside the bed, even in a conservatory.  You choose. All you need is an insulating underlay under the under rug heater, and then your own decorative rug on top.

With the warmth where you want it, you’ll then find you can usually turn down the thermostat on your central heating by a couple of degrees – and cut down on some of the draughts and overheated stuffy air at ceiling level too.

Read more on Saving on Energy Bills with RugBuddy

RugBuddy Under Rug Heater for Log Cabin

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Chris asked [quote]I have a log cabin 5m x 2.5m, what size heater would you recommend[/quote]

 

My answer:

You don’t say whether you have any other form of heating in the cabin.  Assuming not, when considering which RugBuddy Under Rug Heater for Log Cabin, the short answer is:  fit the largest that you can on your available floor space.

RugBuddy is designed as form of secondary heating but if your cabin is well insulated you may get away with relying purely on RugBuddy if you can cover most of the floor area.  Its output is 125 Watts/ m2 which compares with underfloor heating systems for laminate and wood floors rated at 110 W/m2

It’s OK to place tables or chairs on the rug, with the RugBuddy under it, but you don’t want anything on it that smothers it, e.g. a bean bag or mattress.

So if the size you describe is totally available, with just tables and chairs to position on top,  I would go for 3 of the 1.5 x 2.3m size and lay them side by side.  They’re each rated at 450 watts so shouldn’t overload your electrics, but you may want to check this first.

If not all the floor is availiable, or you have a primary source of heating, just choose a RugBuddy that will fit under a rug wher you spend most of your time – typically in front of your chair/ sofa.

Hope this helps!

RugBuddy Running Cost Calculator

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There’s a really handy tool you can use as your RugBuddy Running Cost Calculator at http://www.ukpower.co.uk/tools/running_costs_electricity

To calculate the cost of running a RugBuddy over the course of a month, first you enter the ‘wattage’ of your RugBuddy – 250 Watts for the 1.25 x 1.6m RugBuddy, and 450 Watts for the larger 2.3 x 1.5m RugBuddy.  Then you fill in the boxes for the number of hours you expect to have the RugBuddy switched on, and, of course, the cost of electricity from your supplier.  The calculator then does it’s work and tells you what it will cost to run per month.

At a conservative 15p per kWh (kilowatt hour) at the time of writing, your RugBuddy won’t cost more than 4p per hour to run (small) or 7p per hour (large).

If you like to sit and relax by your rug each evening, and want to be warm and cosy without running your central heating flat out, 3 hours per night works out at between £3.60 and £6.30 per month.

For a homeworker like me with a small RugBuddy under the desk for 175 hours per month, the most it will cost is £6.50 per month (using the RugBuddy Running Cost Calculator).

So you can enjoy your RugBuddy without worrying about the bills!