Pros and Cons of Electric Radiant Floor Heat

Pros of Radiant Floor Heat:

1. Energy efficient

Electric radiant floor heating systems are generally very efficient and use as much or less energy than other heating systems. Most electric floor heating systems use 12 watts per hour per square foot, meaning a 100-square-foot room would use 1200 watts in total every hour, or 300 watts less than the average space heater. Please refer to our “How Efficient Is Electric Radiant Floor Heat” article to calculate your estimated cost!

The best way to manage the energy use of your heated floor is with a programmable thermostat. These thermostats can be programmed to heat the floor only at the time of day the system will be in use, and they learn to compensate for the heat-up time of your specific room.

2. Easy to install

No matter what system you choose, they are all simple to install. The cable systems have a membrane option that allows you to easily snap the heating wire in place to control the spacing. The heating mat systems are even simpler! The heating wire is built into the mat at the recommended spacing for that system. And installing a custom mat is the easiest of all. Simply send us a drawing of your layout, and we will design a custom mat to perfectly fit your floor.

3. Uniform heating

A great benefit of electric radiant floor heat is that it provides uniform heating. Standard space heaters will heat up the area where they are located, with the warmest temperatures closest to the heater, and the coolest areas farthest away. Radiant floor heat, on the other hand, provides uniform heating to the floor areas above the heating system. When the system is installed with standard, equal spacing, you will not find any cold spots or feel less heat in one portion of the room.

4. No maintenance required

Unlike forced air systems that need to be periodically checked and cleaned, there is no maintenance required for these systems. Once they are installed, they are simply run by the thermostat and will be protected by the flooring above. Most systems will have between a 10- and 25-year warranty.

5. Non-allergenic

Another benefit is that, unlike forced air systems, electric radiant floor heat doesn’t push dust or allergens throughout the room.

6. No noise

Most heaters will produce some type of noise, either coming straight from the source while they run or when they turn on. Electric radiant floor heat is silent and will not produce any noise when the system is running.

7. Comfort

Electric radiant floor heat provides a unique level of comfort. This will be enjoyed by the whole family along with your pets! They love it!

Cons of Radiant Floor Heat:

1. Cost

The up-front cost for these systems can potentially be a little pricey, depending on the size and system that you use for the area. In terms of operation, the monthly cost varies, and depends on the size of the area being heated and how much your electricity provider charges per kilowatt hour (KWH).

To calculate the cost of heating a room in your house, multiply the square footage of the area you would like to heat by 12 watts (the power output of standard mats and cables). This will give you the number of watts per hour the system will use. Convert that number to kilowatts (KW) and multiply by how much the electric company in your area charges per kilowatt hour (KWH) to find your cost.

2. Flooring may need to be pulled up

Most of the systems that we carry must be installed directly on top of a subfloor, with the new flooring placed on top. This usually means radiant floor heating systems are best suited for new construction or remodeling projects, because the current flooring will need to be removed.

However, we do offer retrofit mat systems that can work around this! They can be installed under the existing flooring if you have access to the joist bays.

3. Small increase to the floor height

Depending on the system that you are using, there will be a slight increase in the floor height. Most systems require thinset to encase the system before laying the final flooring. Because of this, you may see an increase of up to ½” on top of the subfloor.

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