Radiant floor heating is a concept unfamiliar to most, but it can actually be a
great alternative to other heating systems. This type of system is powered by
electricity and, as the name suggests, the heat radiates from the floor rather
than from a radiator or through ductwork. This guide will tell you a little bit
about radiant floor heat and how to install it.
Here are some of the benefits of installing a radiant floor
- Silence - Central-air systems, and even radiators, tend to make a great deal
of noise when in use. Radiant floor heating is completely silent.
- No cold spots - Radiators and central-air systems can leave some parts of
the room cold. Since radiant floor heat emanates from the entire floor, it
eliminates this problem.
- Lower electrical bills - While gas or oil heat may still be cheaper
(depending on current prices in your area), radiant floor heat is most likely
the cheapest electric heating option, since it distributes heat more evenly.
- Augmentation - Rather than installing it throughout your entire house, you
can use a radiant floor heating system to augment your current heating system.
For example, you might have a room that doesn't get quite warm enough with your
current heating system. Installing radiant floor heating in that room will solve
- Aesthetics - You won't have to look at ugly heat registers or radiators with
this type of heat.
- Cost - This is among the cheapest heating options to install. You won't have
to worry about all the time, effort, and money that go into installing ductwork.
It also takes less time to install.
- Warm air rises - With these types of heaters the heat will obviously be
coming from the ground. Since warm air rises, you'll be making better use of
The first thing you need to know is that there are
two varieties of systems: cable-type and mat-type. With the former, insulated
cables will be laid in the space between the subfloor and the floor. The latter
has the cables contained within mats that are installed in much the same way.
The mat-type is perfect for square rooms, but more complex layouts will probably
Specific installation instructions will vary
depending on the manufacturer; always follow their instructions carefully.
However, here's an idea of what installation should entail:
- A GFCI electrical circuit will need to be installed and dedicated for use
solely by your radiant floor heating system. It's best to have an electrician
take care of this for you.
- The floor will need to be measured so you can determine the area that'll
need to be heated.
- If installing before the installation of floors, just follow the
manufacture's installation instructions and then install the floor over the
- If installing after floors have already been installed, you'll most likely
need to rip up the floors before proceeding.
Keeping these things in
mind, the installation itself should be pretty simple. You'll have warmth
emanating from just below your feet in no time at all!