Heated Floors

Electric radiant floor heating (RFH) utilizes heat-conducting plastic mats consisting of coils warmed by electricity. Therefore, what are these heating coils? They aren’t heated elements such as you ‘d find in a space heater or on an electric stove. They’re actually resistance wires, generally copper or nichrome, wrapped within a waterproof polymer. Nichrome is a blend of nickel and chromium with high electrical resistance – ideal for generating heat. These wires are zigzagged through a mat and then wired for electricity. Think of a large, rolled-up electric blanket without the fabric and you’ll get the picture.
On installation day, Next Step Electrician will roll out the mats as well as put the flooring material in place. Many people select to go with electric RFH only for specific rooms since the cost of electricity makes this system fairly costly for heating up an entire home. You can easily save money in case your local power company bills less for off-peak usage. Less expensive nighttime energy rates allow clients to charge the heating elements through the night for less money, then the heat is used over the course of the following day.
Electric RHF works best along with floor surfaces made of porcelain ceramic tile, however it can be used with many types of flooring, including hardwood floorings. Carpet is thicker and does not conduct heat as well as tile or hardwood flooring, but choosing the appropriate padding can greatly increase the amount of heat you’ll receive. There are two kinds of extra padding used on carpets: slab and ribbed. Slab pads are flat and ribbed and have a waffle pattern. A 5/8-inch (.67 centimeter) slab foam rubber pad is recommended for RFH systems with carpeting.
Because an electric RFH system is usually used for single rooms, it’s controlled both with a simple flick of a switch or automatically by thermostat. Since electric RFH system heating coils are put in between the sub-floor and the floor covering itself, warming time is quick. It typically takes about 30 minutes to an hour to heat your floor and bedroom. Set the thermostat to turn up the heat an hour before you get out of bed, and warm, cozy washroom tile will be ready to welcome your bare feet.
For a small bathroom, you’ll spend in the neighborhood of $300 to $500 to mount an electric RFH system. It’s absolutely no harder than setting tile, but you’ll really need a licensed electrician to wire the system to a thermostat. Sadly, there’s no way to install the heating mats without first tearing up your existing floor surface, so the optimal time to make the switch to an electric RFH system in your bathroom, sun-room or kitchen would be during a remodeling. Once the flooring is taken off, just lay the mats and tile over them. The tile glue and grout won’t impact the heating mats. Once the flooring is back in place, you can literally forget about the heating mats they involve no regular maintenance.
When you factor in the cost of a radiant floor surface heating unit, keep in mind that electric systems seldom have issues. When they do, a property owner can troubleshoot and make most repairs. Make sure to turn off the power right before checking, repairing or replacing any panels.
Electric RFH offers a number of home heating alternatives. To learn more about home heating and construction, please call Next Step Electric.