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5 facts you want to know about radiant floor heat

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May 13, 2011

If you're tired of stepping onto a cold tile or vinyl floor when you wake up in the morning, radiant heat under your floors might be the answer you've been hoping to find. Radiant heat in your bathroom consists of small electrical wires under ceramic tile. These wires gently heat the floor, warming your toes and making your entire body more comfortable.

Radiant floor heat installation

Think it's too complicated to install? Think again. Homeowners can handle it in a weekend, but a professional contractor can do the job in a matter of hours. Here's what you need to know:

  1. There are currently two types of radiant heat systems on the market. The SunTouch system uses heating cable that has been woven into mats. The EasyHeat system uses lengths of cable that make it easier to get into small corners or tight spaces. Take your time studying the advantages and disadvantages of each before making a decision.
  2. A scale drawing of your bathroom floor can help greatly when deciding how much cable you need. Remember that radiant heat cables should be at least six inches from toilet or bidet seals, and should never be run underneath or against cabinets, shower enclosures, and the like. Even if you choose to install the cables yourself, a contractor can help you with deciding how much cable to purchase.
  3. A standard thermostat often works well with the radiant floor system. Remember to set the thermostat to stop heating when you aren't home to enjoy the toasty warmth of your floors, and ramp up the heat during the cooler hours of the early morning, right before your alarm goes off for another day.
  4. Laying tile over the cable should be an easy job if you are familiar with the use of thinsets. However, certain types of thinset work much better for radiant floors. Check the manufacturer's recommendations on which thinset to use for your particular system.
  5. If you decide you love the radiant heat, you might want to put it in other rooms as well. Radiant heat is popular in kitchens, mudrooms, and other areas where tile and hardwood flooring are common. Radiant heat throughout the entire house is usually a hydronic system rather than an electrical one, and can cost between six and twelve dollars per square foot.

Radiant floor heating is a great way to stay more comfortable, and it can add good resale value to your home. Install radiant floor heating and never suffer the shock of a cold floor in the morning again.

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