After you’ve made the choice to heat your space with underfloor heating, it’s important to plan for your unique layout.
Do you need help planning your design? You’ve come to the right place. In this post, we’ll discuss the most important things to consider when planning, purchasing, and installing an electric radiant floor heating system in your home.
Have You Considered the Benefits of Radiant Floors?
One of the biggest benefits of installing a radiant floor system in your home is financial. Radiant floor heating systems are affordable to purchase and insanely cheap to operate. Depending on your system configuration, you can slash your heating costs by half. You’ll continue to save money over the lifetime of your radiant floor heating system, which can last up to 30 years or longer.
For those looking to reduce or cut installation costs, an electric radiant floor heating system is one of the best options available. You can install a radiant floor heating system yourself, even if you’re a complete beginner to home renovation. If you can lay tile, you can install an electric underfloor heating system. The process is very similar.If you can lay tile, you can install an electric radiant floor heating system. Click To Tweet
Also, radiant floors can be customized to meet your unique needs. No matter the size or shape of your room, you can configure your radiant floor heating system to cover it. This type of heating system is flexible and will minimize and cold zones in your room.
What are Your Expectations?
Before planning out your radiant floor heating system, it’s important to define your expectations. What do you want from your radiant floor heating system? Will it serve as the main source of heat for your room, or will it work with another heating system (such as a forced air unit) to warm the space? Will you use it primarily to warm your toes, or do you want to create ambient heat in the room?
Your expectations determine where you position your heating system in the room. It can also dictate whether or not you pair your radiant floor with another heating system.
Consider the Type of Heating System You Need
We offer two types of radiant floor heating systems: Cables and mats. The type of system you choose will depend on the shape of your space.
If you have a square or rectangular space, you can opt for either heating system.
If your room is an odd shape or has several ins and outs with wall configurations, opt for the cable system.
Are You Heating an Existing Room?
For homeowners looking to add radiant floors to a room during the renovation process, an electric radiant floor heating system is the best bet. You can retrofit any room with either mats or cables. These systems can be paired with almost any subfloor and can go under any finish floor layer.
An electric radiant floor heating system can be installed by one person and doesn’t require professional help*. Also, unlike other systems, an electric radiant floor heating system doesn’t need to be connected to a boiler. You simply connect the system’s wiring to an electric panel and you’re up and running.
Another thing to consider is the room’s heat loss. Is the room above another heated room? If so, the cables must be 3” apart. This is considered standard spacing.
Is the room on a concrete slab or over a crawl space and therefore considered to be high heat loss? If so, the cables must alternate in space from 3” apart to 1.5” apart back to 3” apart (and so on). This is considered alternate spacing.
*Although you can do most of the installation yourself, be sure to consult with an electrician about roughing in the system’s wiring.
Sketch Out Your Floor Plan
Once you’ve answered the above questions, it’s time to sketch out your room’s floor plan. Planning out your heating system for maximum efficiency will ensure that you don’t purchase more than you need to and that you’ll continue to save in heating costs for the life of the heating system.
Grab a sheet of graph paper and draw out your floor plan. Show permanent fixtures on your floor plan, such as cabinets, vanities, sinks, showers, and toilets. Also, be careful about planning around toilets. Toilets have a wax ring that will melt if they get too close to heating elements.
When planning where to place your radiant floor heating system, remember that you don’t need to cover the spaces underneath stationary objects, such as the refrigerator, washer, dryer, dishwasher, or stove. You should also leave at least 2” to 8” of spaces in front of baseboards. Also, there’s no need to place heating elements behind doors or in dead spaces where no one will stand.
Remember to provide a pocket of space for a free area. This area is where you can place any leftover cables or wires from your heating system.
Calculate the Area of Your Space
Now, it’s time to get out your calculator and determine how many heating system kits you need to cover your floor.
First, take a look at your floor plan and only consider the walkable areas. This is the only place where you need to install your radiant floor heating system. Even if your room’s total square footage is 70’, your total heated area may be considerably smaller, like in this example:
Multiply the length times the width of each area where you’d like to install your system.
Next, add those areas together.
Keep in mind that in a larger room, you may need to install more than one cable or mat kit. Fortunately, you can install two kits to a single thermostat. If the heated area requires more than 15 amps, you can also install a relay kit, which is a 24 amp switch controlled by a single thermostat. Each relay kit and each thermostat can have up to two cable or mat kits attached. Up to 39 amps of floor heating load can be controlled by a thermostat and relay combo. For 63 amps of load by one thermostat, you can also do a thermostat/relay/relay combination. However, the more combinations, the more complicated the rough in process.
Also, note that the radiant floor heating systems that we sell work on standard household voltage: 120V and 240V. For areas smaller than 70 square feet, opt for 120V. For areas larger than 70 square feet, opt for a 240V kit.
Determine Where to Place the Thermostat
Finally, be sure to plan the optimal place for the thermostat. Keep in mind that the thermostat should be at the start of your mat or wires. Therefore, you must plan your layout around the positioning of your thermostat.
Your thermostat should be located in a waterproof zone (as much as possible). This is because your thermostat should not be allowed to get wet. Keep your thermostat away from sinks, tubs, and showers.
Your thermostat should also be located on an interior wall. Avoid installing the thermostat on an exterior wall which can create an inaccurate temperature reading. Likewise, avoid walls that take in direct sunlight, areas next to doors or windows, and also hallways.
We offer two types of thermostats: programmable and non-programmable. The programmable thermostat can be configured to save you up to 50% in usage costs.
Have you placed an order for your radiant floor heating system yet? If not, get started here.