Electric Radiant Floor Heating Basics – Part 1
Utilizing a network of pipes or wires running under flooring to gently radiate heat into areas, radiant floor heating systems provide a proven method for warming newly added rooms when the expansion of HVAC ducts is impractical. They are also very effective for rooms with floor surfaces that feel cold like ceramic tile, concrete, and stone.
Radiant heating will be especially appreciated in a bathroom when it provides comfort during the cold days of winter. Tall and large rooms are also good candidates because the source of heat comes from the floor level, where heating is most needed.
There are different types of radiant floor systems. The most widely used is the electrical system, where a mesh of wires or loops of single wires are installed across the entire area beneath a floor. Electrical systems generate heat through the process of natural resistance when current is conducted through the wires.
Today’s standard electric radiant heating systems utilize thin heating cables that are installed beneath the floor’s surface, heating the floor like an electric comforter. Typically, they function with their own 15 or 20 amp electrical circuit that a wall thermostat controls. These systems are usually purposed as supplementary heating sources and installed in remodeled areas.
One type of system will use electrical matting strips laid underneath a floor. Fixed in place by thin-set mortar, they will be linked and connected to a line-voltage thermostat and electrical circuit. Mat systems allow sections to be cut to shape for irregular areas. A proper installation will have mats covering almost the entire floor. In some cases, configurations are designed to limit heating to the areas most used.
A bathroom system will typically involve installing individual wires looped across the floor at three inches apart and fixed by thin-set adhesive. If the floor’s surface is going to be either stone or ceramic tile, wires or electrical mats will be initially installed on top of a cement board underlayment.
Part 2 will cover Advantages & Disadvantages and Expenses.
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