Ever wonder what it would feel like to walk barefoot in your house all year long and be comfortable? Electric radiant floor warming systems answer that question.
Electric radiant floor warming uses a thin mesh mat with a heating element woven throughout to heat open floor areas. Rooms such as baths and kitchens are popular places people like to have extra warmth, but don’t forget the foyer, mudroom, laundry room – or just about any room in the house! Using radiant heat, the heat stored in the floor is similar to the heat provided by a radiator. The heated floor radiates heat to the people and objects in the room. The flooring surface is maintained at a comfortable, yet higher temperature than the ambient temperature of the floor before the heat was turned on. Since the heat is conducted and radiated from floor level up, it helps to provide a warm and comfortable environment for the occupants of the room, unlike forced air, which tends to concentrate most of the warm air near ceiling level. It provides even, uniform heat throughout the room, without the visibility of heaters or losing floor space to heating units. For installation, the subfloor should be clear of debris and sharp edges or objects that might damage the element. Loose boards should be repaired and all gaps filled in to assure the mat will be installed over a smooth and even surface. John O’Brien, Director of Sales and Marketing for Radiant Floor Warming, a company providing electric radiant systems, says, “ Our mat is only 1/8” thick – ideal for ceramic tile and stone since it will not add to the finished floor height. Our material is fully covered by the thinset or underlayment used in the tile installation.” The ceramic tile or stone is then installed according the manufacturers’ and industry standards. Renovations as well as new construction can benefit from electric radiant heating. Unlike a hydronic system that needs a boiler to heat the water and flexible piping throughout the heated area, electric radiant heating can be done in small open areas with “spot heating” mats designed just for that area. Consideration of permanent fixtures and furniture plays an important role since electric radiant heat is not recommended under these areas. The heat needs to dissipate and if there is a fixture flush with the floor, the heat has nowhere to escape. And besides, who wants to pay for heat you can’t feel? Speaking of cost, one of the frequent questions is how much does it cost to run the electric radiant mats. The answer varies, depending on the length of time you have it on, the size mats you have installed, and the cost of electricity in your area. For example: a 1’x 40’ mat (15 watts per square foot) is set to turn on from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. and again from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.; the usage rate from the electric bill is 8 cents per kilowatt-hour. Multiply the square foot of the mat by the watts per square foot to figure total watts (40 x 15 = 600). Take the total watts and divide by 1000 to determine total kilowatts (600/1000 = .60). Multiply the total kilowatts by the usage rate found on the electric bill to figure how many cents per kilowatt hours (.60 x .08 = $0.048 per hour). It is important to realize even though a system is set to be on for several hours, it is usually only utilizing power for the first hour or so in order to initially heat to the set temperature. The thermostat will then be switching itself on and off from time to time for short intervals in order to keep the surface temperature consistent. Assuming it uses power for 2 hours during each time setting (1 hour for initial warm up and 1 hour of usage to keep the heat consistent), in our example the power would be in use for 4 hours. At the rate of $0.05 per hour, this adds only $0.20 daily to your electric bill. Electric radiant heat offers maintenance free comfort all year long, in any kind of climate. For further information, visit http://www.radiantfloorwarming.com or contact John O’Brien at Radiant Floor Warming, 888-FLR-WARM (357-9276).
Faith Williams is Customer Service Department Manager for Radiant Floor Warming. Radiant Floor Warming offers safe, efficient electric radiant floor warming materials for tile, stone, carpet and laminate. Visit the website at http://www.radiantfloorwarming.com or call toll free 888-FLR-WARM (357-9276).