Electric floor heating adds an unmatched level of comfort to any home, providing soothing warmth with an extremely safe system. Heated floors are easy to install in nearly every stage of renovation or construction, and they can help homeowners save money and the environment by decreasing the amount of energy used in the home.
How it works
The systems are installed under the floor before the tile, wood or other material is added. The heating element is activated from a thermostat connected to the system. Homeowners can program the thermostat to activate on a timed schedule or to run all day as the primary heat source. When activated, heat is created and distributed through heating cables in the floor, warming both the surface and the air in the room comfortably and evenly.
Though any room can benefit from heated floors, bathrooms and kitchens are great places for heated flooring, as thermostats can be programmed to turn on automatically, forever eliminating cold tiles in these rooms. Children’s playrooms are also ideal since little ones tend to spend a lot of time playing on the floor.
An electric floor-heating system can save a great deal of money over the year. There is no need to run an HVAC system, which heats the entire home, to simply warm the bathroom for the morning.
The type of flooring plays a factor in determining the proper system to install. Projects involving tile or marble are pretty straightforward and usually do not require additional material. Wood floors and carpeting require additional features to maximize performance.
The thermostat is one of the most important elements to consider. Room size affects the amount of power required for heating and the best location for installation. Depending on the thermostat, you can control the floor and air temperatures, as well as the days and times to turn the heat on.
A plethora of in-floor heating brands exist, but most fit into one of three main categories:
Electric heating mats utilize a thin heating cable embedded between two layers of porous fabric. One of the most popular types of in-floor heating, matting is the only system that offers custom, pre-built heating solutions, made to perfectly fit any room—even those with curves or angles—right out of the box.
Strip-and-roll systems utilize a similar heating cable, but instead adhere the cable to a roll of mesh backing, which is then rolled in strips back and forth across a room to create the heating coverage.
Free-form cable systems rely on a heating cable that is manually strung across a room, utilizing guides placed throughout the room
Did you know?
There is a 25-year warranty on most electric in-floor heating systems
DIY install: electric mat
Step 1. Using a ¼-inch notched trowel, apply a layer of acrylic or latex modified thinset over the area to be covered with the in-floor heating product.
Step 2. Roll and press the heating mat into the thinset.
Step 3. Trowel out another layer of thinset over the mat before laying down the floor material.
The electric heating mats work best with cold-flooring options, such as tile and stone, but can also be used with laminate and engineered-wood floors. Most systems utilize a thin, electric heating cable connected via thermostat to a regular 120V or 240V household circuit.
—Chris Guelpa, Nuheat, www.nuheat.com