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Floor Heating Basics

Floor Heating Basics

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What is electric floor heating?

Electric floor heating systems consist of in-floor cables or wires that are powered by a home’s main energy source. The cables generate warmth and transfer it directly to the flooring surface above. A complete electric radiant floor heat system includes a sensor and thermostat for controlling the heat output.

Why should I install electric radiant floor heat?

Electric radiant floor heat is economical to run. Radiant heat is an economical, safe and clean alternative to other heating systems. Unlike forced air systems, where the thermostat triggers a blast of warm throughout the entire home, the thermostat on a radiant heat system responds to the floor temperature of a particular room, providing even warmth throughout the room wherever the cables are placed. Depending on the floor surface, an extra layer of insulation can make radiant floor heat even more economical to run. Pairing a radiant floor heating system with a programmable thermostat can add even more energy savings.

It’s economical to install.

Besides warming floor surfaces to add comfort to cold tile in bathrooms, entryways or kitchens, electric radiant floor heat can provide warmth to the rest of the room, and may be used to supplement existing heating systems. In new additions, installing radiant floor heat eliminates the need to make costly extensions of an existing forced air system. Where forced air systems and baseboard radiators take up wall space and need to be free of obstructions, electric radiant floor heat is invisible and allows homeowners full use of their space without restrictions.

It’s clean.

Radiant floor heat is a clean and nearly maintenance-free alternative to forced air, and doesn’t require cleaning of air ducts, vents and filters. It’s also free from the noise and blowing dust associated with forced air systems.

It’s safe.

Radiant heating systems are safe, and all products Warm Your Floor offers are ultra-low electromagnetic field (EMF) emission.

Where can I put electric radiant heat?

Electric floor warming is suitable for both indoor and outdoor applications, from bathrooms to driveways. It brings warming comfort to indoor spaces and can melt snow and ice on outdoor surfaces like driveways, walkways and roofs, adding safety and convenience.

How is it installed?

For indoor applications, electric radiant floor heating can be installed under tile, engineered hardwood, laminate, vinyl and carpet in one of three ways. Contact a Warm Your Floor expert today who can answer your questions and help you choose the right solution for your floor.

Loose cable, laid out in a serpentine pattern between cable guides that are affixed to the surface with glue or screws, is an economical and flexible option that allows you to place heat exactly where you need it. The cabling is then covered in self-leveling compound or thin-set mortar, depending on the flooring material used. This traditional method of electric floor heating may offer an up-front cost savings on materials, but it can be more labor intensive. Unlike the all-in-one mats, spacing the cables for optimal heating is up to the installer. Get started!

For tile and stone floors, a combination of loose cable and a separate membrane surface offers flexibility and faster installation than the traditional method. Instead, cables are embedded in the membrane’s channeled or studded surface, allowing the flexibility to put heat wherever it’s desired, but in fewer steps. Once the cable is placed in or affixed to the membrane, it is spread over with thin-set mortar or SLC, and tile is placed directly on top. The membrane eliminates the need for backer board, and some membranes add uncoupling and waterproofing to surfaces. Get started!

All-in-one mesh or solid mats are quick and easy to install. Cables enclosed within the mesh mat take the guesswork out of where to place them, as the cables are already spaced for optimal heating. Mesh mats (but not the cable inside) can be trimmed to fit around curves and corners. Warm Your Floor stocks a variety of lengths and widths to help you get started today. Some manufacturers offer custom mats to fit more complex spaces, and ship to you in 5 to 7 business days. Mats for installing under an existing floor are also available. Get started!

How do I know which method is right for my project?

Choosing a method depends on the project scope, the square footage of the space and the type of flooring material you plan to use. Budget and lead times are also considerations when choosing which method is right for your job. Call or email a Warm Your Floor representative today for expert advice on your heated floor project. You can also get help selecting the right products by using our interactive online quote builder.

Is it difficult to install? What will I need?

While all methods of installing electric floor heating are DIY friendly, some methods are less labor intensive and may have higher up-front materials costs, and others provide flexibility but require you to plan the layout to ensure that cable is spaced for optimal heating.

The materials needed for each project depend on the method and the floor type used. A sensor wire, thermostat and heating cable system (loose wire, mat, or membrane/cable combination) are the basic components needed for any installation. All projects require a Digital Multimeter for testing and measuring ohm output and ensuring the cable isn’t damaged during installation. Basic tools and materials like thin-set or self-leveling mortar, glue and a trowel may be needed. Depending on the type of flooring used, some projects may require backer board or a layer of insulation if the cabling system will be placed over wood or concrete subfloors.

Whatever the specs, Warm Your Floor has the products you need to bring your electric floor warming project to fruition.

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