Radiant Heated Floors Gain In Popularity


Many homeowners love the look of tile, wood, or floating woods but dread stepping out of their soothing shower onto cold tile, especially during those frigid winter months. And many love tile or wood in their kitchens and living areas but worry about their little ones playing and pitter-pattering on cold floors. That’s why so many are opting for electric radiant floor heating systems to warm up their floors.

The installation of electric radiant floor heating is not new: heated floors have been installed under bathroom and kitchen tile in the United States for the past 10 years and the warming products continue to gain popularity. Many in the kitchen and bath industry expect radiant floors to continue to play a big role among homeowners who crave comfort features.

Joan McCloskey, editorial marketing director for Better Homes and Gardens magazine, told homebuilders at the 2003 International Builders Show that warm floors in the bathroom is on the list of must-have comforts. “Our bathrooms set the mood for the day and homeowners want it light, comfortable, and cheerful,” she said. “Toys in this room and the master include heated floors, little refrigerators, steam showers with multiple shower heads, soaking tubs, towel warmers, fireplaces, and coffee nooks.”

These thin electric floor heating mats have been very popular in bathrooms and kitchens for a long time. However, the installation of these systems under carpet and floating wood was not practical because they needed to be embedded in a layer of thin-set cement, which you normally don’t use when you install a new carpet or floating wood floor. As a result, very few people would opt for a heated floor under carpet or floating wood. Up until now: Underwriters Laboratory has given the thumbs up to Warmly Yours’ Environ II system, a radiant heating system that can be directly installed under carpets and floating wood floors, without cement.

It is the first time that UL tested and approved a floor warming mat to be installed directly between the pad and the carpet or floating wood. “It’s very easy to install,” said Julia Stalfort from www.WarmlyYours.com “You can do it yourself: all you need to do is tape the Environ II system on the underlayment pad then lay the floating wood or carpet over it. It takes a few seconds and your carpet or floating wood is warm.” The heating mat is hardwired to a thermostat with an in-floor temperature sensor taped to the heating mat. The thermostat needs to be wired to a regular 110-volt circuit by an electrician.

In addition to providing warmth, these new floor heating mats are energy efficient. Because it is under the carpet or floating wood and over the foam pad, it provides additional insulation from the cold sub-floor. The Environ II is constructed of an ultra thin heating wire that exists in four layers of foil, quickly and efficiently distributing heat. A 120-square-foot coverage would probably cost about 40 cents a day, on average.

 


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