Electric Radiant Heated Bathroom Floors

Enjoy the Comfort of a Warm Tiled Bathroom Floor by Installing Electric Radiant Heating

By Mark J. Donovan

If you have tiled bathroom floors the best way to keep them feeling toasty warm during the cold winter months is by installing an electric radiant heated bathroom floor system. Although an electric radiant heated bathroom floor can be a little pricey to install, it pales in comparison to running tubes and installing a hydronic floor heating system. Additionally, with electric radiant heated bathroom floors there’s no risk of coming home to a broken plastic tube, and subsequent water damage to your home, which can often occur with hydronic floor heating systems.

In terms of installation costs for an electric radiant heat floor system, the typical wire-mesh-mat electric radiant heated bathroom floor system costs approximately $10/square foot to install.

In regards to operational costs with electric radiant heating systems, you can expect to pay on average about $0.25 – $0.50 a day for heating an approximate 100 square foot bathroom floor.

Electric radiant floor heating is relatively easy to install and can be done by the moderately skilled do it yourself homeowner.

Electric radiant floor heating systems comprise of mesh and wire mats that are installed underneath stone or ceramic tiled floors, and a programmable/adjustable thermostat that is installed in the bathroom. With some types of electrical radiant floor heating system kits the wire mesh mat can be trimmed so that it can be tailor fit to the specific dimensions of a bathroom.

Electric radiant floor heating systems are not limited to tile and stone floor applications. They can also be installed underneath carpet, wood and vinyl floors.

This said, they are not as efficient in these types of flooring applications. The reason for this is that wood, carpet and vinyl flooring are poor conductors of heat, and thus they do not transfer heat as well. As a matter of fact, they function more like an insulating material than a heat conductor.

Electric radiant floor heating systems are designed to produce a low heat that mostly keeps the floor feeling toasty warm. Characteristically they can heat a stone or tiled floor to about 90 to 95oF. Electrical radiant heated bathroom floors will also help to provide an overall warm and comfortable temperature bathroom. Nevertheless, they are considered a supplemental heating system.

In addition to the bathroom, electric radiant floor heating systems are also perfect for kitchens and home additions with stone or tiled floors. Frequently when building a home addition the heating furnace needs to be upgraded to support the additional finished living space. However, by utilizing an electric radiant floor heating system, often the need for having to upgrade to a larger furnace is avoided.

Electric Radiant Floor Heating Systems Advantages

Besides being easy to install, electric radiant floor heating systems have a number of additional advantages. First, electric radiant floor heating systems are virtually silent. There are no ticking pipe sounds, or the rush of air blowing out of HVAC registers, as is the case with hot water and air heating systems.

Tile and stone, and concrete floor slabs have large thermal masses. As a result, they can hold and retain heat for a very long time after the electric radiant heating system turns off.

Electric radiant floor heating systems can also reduce home energy costs by preventing the main heating system from having to turn on as often.

Electric Radiant Floor Heating Systems Disadvantages

Electric radiant floor heating systems can’t be installed after the tile or stone floor has been installed. Consequently, upfront planning is required when developing your flooring plans for your bathroom, kitchen or room addition with stone or tile floor plans.

Electric utility costs are expensive. So although you may save some money on your main home heating system operational costs by installing an electric radiant floor heating system, your overall home energy costs may actually rise.

If in the event an electrical wire breaks in the wire-mesh mat and the electric radiant floor heating system becomes non-functional, repair is very expensive. As a matter of fact, unless you are willing to rip up your tile or stone floor, it is pretty much a dead feature. This said, the chances of a wire breaking or becoming corroded to the point that the system no longer works is highly unlikely. Electric radiant floor heating systems are very static and are not exposed to moisture which could cause them to break or corrode.

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