Floor heating is an investment in comfort

October 16, 2014

To begin with, there are two different types of floor heating systems. Hot water (hydronic) is used for central heating, whereas electric heat is usually installed in key rooms in the home in order to keep feet warm. The latter is the most common. What are its advantages and inconveniences? Is it really economical?

The different types of electric (radiant) floor heating

  • Cables. The cable system covers a floor effectively. However, it is essential to measure the room carefully, as the cables are sold in pre-determined lengths and cannot be cut or lengthened. The cables are embedded in self-levelling concrete, upon which the floor covering is later installed.
  • Mats. This type of floor heating is sold in rolls. It is not recommended if a lot of cutting is required. Because the heating wire is preinstalled on a fibreglass mat, it doesn’t require pouring concrete and thus makes for easier installation.

The advantages of electric floor heating

  • Comfort. If comfort is what you’re looking for, floor heating is the best solution. In addition to being noiseless, it spreads heat uniformly. In fact, it heats the mass of the floor, rather than the air; as a result, the heat is stored in the floor and radiates upward towards the walls and ceiling, resulting in consistent heat.
  • Air quality. Floor heating doesn’t dry the air, nor does it cause the air to move around the room. As a result, dust doesn’t become airborne. This makes it ideal for asthma sufferers.
  • Maintenance. It requires no maintenance and shouldn’t break down when it’s installed properly.

The inconveniences of electric floor heating

  • Cost. Installing a floor heating system can be rather expensive. In addition to the flooring itself, you need to purchase the programmable thermostat to which it will be connected, and some floors may need to be insulated. The concrete required for a cable system is not included with the cables. Of course, you’ll also have to factor in installation fees and the cost of having an electrician connect the floor.
  • Floor coverings. Electric floor heating is not compatible with all types of floor coverings. Although it can be installed underneath most of them (ceramic, natural stone, floating floors), it isn’t recommended for hardwood. As well, the compatibility of certain floor coverings (linoleum, carpet, vinyl) varies from one manufacturer to another. Being well informed is essential for such a project.

Comfort before all

Floor heating doesn’t always lead to energy savings. For example, an overheated bathroom floor or a basement concrete slab that is not well insulated can increase your energy consumption. If you’re having a floor heating system installed, do it for the sake of adding comfort to your home and not necessarily for the savings.

Floor heating is an investment in comfort
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