The core of all STEP HEAT designs are centered around its patented self-regulating carbon polymer heating elements. This unique and award-winning technology allows STEP HEAT to overcome the inherent design barriers associated with other conventional and radiant heat systems to gain a quantum leap in overall comfort, system performance and sustainability. To truly understand the benefits of STEP HEAT systems, it helps to understand how heat systems really work. All heat systems have three primary operating functions regardless of type and design:
STEP HEAT’s innovative carbon polymer heating elements efficiently create the heat exactly where it is needed using safe extra low voltage power. Installed just beneath the finished floor surface, there is no heat loss associated with bringing heat back and forth from a remote locations via ducts, pipes, or tubes like other heating systems.
STEP HEAT is designed with the future in mind. Capable of utilizing either AC or DC current, the system can be connected to alternative energy sources either at the time of installation or at any point in the future.
How the heat is distributed in the actual space where it is used also makes a substantial difference in the quality of heat and system efficiency. STEP HEAT designs optimize heat distribution 3 ways:
STEP HEAT is unlike any other heating system – it has the ability to self-regulate. This means the heating elements use only the energy necessary to maintain the desired temperature and can never overheat. Every part of the heating element acts like a floor sensor over the entire surface, providing more heat in colder areas and less in warmer areas. For example, the system intrinsically adapts to sunlight shining through windows, reducing its consumption where the solar gains occurs.
So how does it work? When the ambient temperature increases, the structure of the polymer 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 heat. This award-winning technology results in an even heat distribution with improved comfort and substantial consumption savings.
Typical STEP HEAT designs have a floor surface area coverage of 60% versus 2-5% for hydronic tube and wire cable mat systems. This allows STEP HEAT to operate at lower temperatures to achieve the desired result while consuming substantially less energy.
The STEP heating element is thin and flexible, yet durable and rugged. It operates at a lower temperature and cannot overheat. This allows for installation directly under almost any finished surface which minimizes the amount of heat loss to ground, reduces consumption, and increases system response time. Alternatively, STEP heating elements may also be installed on, under, or embedded in concrete slabs where the system is designed to utilize the concrete slab as a thermal bed to store heat.
The STEP Touch® Thermostat is specifically designed with embedded chip logic to continually monitor, evaluate, and adjust the system’s output to avoid wasteful overheating and underheating by providing precise temperature control. This adjustment takes place by signaling the power supply regulator every 1.5 seconds to modulate the heating elements output. As a result, the system provides a continuous and even temperature that is substantially more comfortable and efficient than an on/off full output cycling system. Using an analogy, a car traveling at a consistent speed consumes less fuel than a car continuously starting and stopping.