There is something very luxurious and comforting about feeling a heated floor under your feet. Before you decide whether it is for you, here are a few things to think about. Read our article THE TWO MAIN TYPES OF UNDERFLOOR HEATING to understand the different systems.
QUIET AS A MOUSE
Both hydronic and electric systems are very quiet and streamlined, as there are no visible ducts, radiators or holes.
SLOW TO REACT
Underfloor heating is not for you if you like to turn the heat on and off during the day. It simply doesn’t react that fast. It does not heat up instantly and it can take quite some time to cool down once you turn it off. I had hydronic heating in my home in Vancouver, Canada under hardwood flooring. It was very toasty and comfortable throughout the winter months and I really enjoyed it. When I was showing the house to sell, in June, a potential buyer requested that the underfloor heating be on when she came to view in order to see whether it was working efficiently. Well it certainly was efficient! As the sun streamed in, we roasted and sweated as we toured the house. She didn’t buy it!
RIP UP THE FLOOR
Neither system is easy to install after a floor is in place. Unless you are building a new house, be prepared to remove your existing floors. There are products such as electric radiant pads that can be installed between the joists underneath your existing floor, but you have to have a basement or a crawl space in order to access them.
INSULATE THE FLOOR
In order to heat up a room with the least amount of power and energy, you want to minimize heat loss through your cold slab or drafty crawl space. Installing thermal floor insulation beneath your electric system is efficient and can hugely speed up warm up time.
A GOOD THERMAL ENVELOPE
If your home has poor energy efficiency and insulation, you may find that radiant heating never warms up enough to provide you with the cozy comfort you are craving.
Check with a qualified electrician whether your present electrical circuits can take the additional load of underfloor heating. Older homes may require an upgrade.
A dedicated 20amp GFCI protected circuit is recommended for your electric heating system. GFCI stands for ground fault circuit interrupter.
Situate your thermostat on an inside wall, at least 5ft above the floor and avoid putting it near any heat sources such as the sun or a towel rack, as these can falsely affect the temperature.
CHECK THE SUBFLOOR
Your subfloor, that is the surface that your underfloor heating will be placed on, needs to be in good condition. Make sure it is free of damage, debris and any sharp objects. You don’t want to have any nails or screws piercing your electric coils.
CHOOSE A GOOD CONDUCTOR
Choose a floor covering that is a good heat conductor and will retain the heat well. The most responsive surfaces are ceramic, porcelain and stone.
Underfloor heating is beneficial to allergy sufferers as there are no airborne contaminants being blown around your house.
Your cats will adore you and beam radiantly if you install underfloor heating – and dogs will be pretty happy too!