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How Heated Floors Work

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Been thinking about that upgrade during these cold months? We can’t blame you. It’s definitely an awesome upgrade to add to your home. But before you buy, here is everything you need to know about heated floors.

If you’re getting ready to remodel, or put an addition on your home, you will want to consider the best flooring systems to enhance your space. You can imagine the clean, fresh look new tile or wood surfaces will have in your upgraded setting making you feel warm with pride of your decision to improve your home.

Now fast-forward to a crisp February morning as you hop out of bed to get ready for work.  As you set your feet on your new floors, the chill on your heels sends you right back under your covers.  The only thing that seems worse than standing on your new cold wood floors, is surviving the trek into your bathroom where the tile is even colder!

Heated Floor Options

At this point, you have a few options. The first is to buy some area rugs and cover up your beautiful new floors to keep your feet warm.  You could also make sure that you have slippers nearby before you take any step (this works until you get out of the shower with wet feet).

Another option is to live the life of luxury and install heated flooring when you remodel your rooms.  I know what you’re thinking: “Not everyone can afford such a lifestyle like you”.  But before you ditch this concept, it pays to examine what the cost might actually be for such an upgrade.

Types of Floor Heating Systems

There are 2 main types of floor heating systems: electric and hydronic (water).

Electric systems will typically require a dedicated GFCI circuit and are available in 110 or 220 volt applications. It’s critical it is to have a qualified electrician assess the wiring and panel before installation of the system and test the system during installation.

Hydronic systems work by running hot water through tubes installed in the floor. They work in conjunction with a water heater or boiler and require pumps and manifolds to operate. Hydronic system installation should be coordinated by a plumber or HVAC professional with a radiant floor heating specialty.

Which Floor Heating System Is Right For You?

So if you want to keep your toes warm on those cold mornings, which type of system should you consider?

Electric systems are more expensive to operate, but less costly to install. They are a great fit for smaller spaces such as a bathroom, mudroom or kitchen and are typically used when remodeling.

Hydronic systems cost more to purchase and install, but will cost less to operate over the life of the floor, making them optimal for new construction and large spaces, where the water heating system can be designed for optimal performance.

Floor heating systems have tremendous benefits beyond just keeping your feet warm when you wake up in the morning. Radiant floor heat (or RFH) offers several benefits over traditional forced air heating – the hydronic systems last longer than a traditional furnace and are more energy efficient than forced air heating. Additionally, you feel warmer when heat is radiating from the floor up, rather than the ceiling down. Traditional systems ‘force’ air into a room, the warmest air rises and falls back down, cooling as it goes. The air near your head and shoulders is warmer than the air at your feet. This is why you may feel cold, even with the thermostat set at 72. Radiant heat radiates from your feet, giving you an allover feeling of warmth.

What Type Of Floor Can You Heat

One final thing to consider is what type of flooring you want to warm up. RFH can be installed over any flooring, but works best over materials that will conduct and hold heat such as stone, concrete or ceramic tile.

Although the systems work under wood floors, the fluctuating temperatures will cause the wood to expand and contract. If you are going to heat wood floor, it is critical to have an experienced hardwood floor installer who can manage the potential shrinkage and to be aware of potential problems.

For that final touch of warmth and elegance, make sure any heated floor system comes with a thermostat that monitors the temperature of the floor.

So before you decide to just buy more socks and sweaters, check into heating your floors.


| | Home Upgrades, Flooring, Heated Floors

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