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Learn about Electric Radiant Floors

Electric Radiant Floors

A heat distribution system that uses electric resistance heaters, essentially a mat of wires, embedded and invisible, to heat up the floor, which then radiates heat into the room. Floor heating mats can be purchased in various sizes, and are relatively easy to install under various floor finishes, including wood, tile, or embedded in concrete.

Electric radiant floors are most often used for specific and relatively small areas, such as a bathroom floor. Look for the product that will work under the floor covering that you want, and check on access to wiring for the heating mat and thermostat. Smaller heat mats run on 120 Volts, while larger ones can need a 240 Volt power supply. Note that if the floor is on the ground level, in contact with the ground or a cold space, in-floor radiant heating will increase your energy consumption by increasing heat loss to the ground. Middle floors work better, with lower heat loss. If it's a ground-level floor, it should be extra well insulated.

Electric radiant floors can keep the space comfortable at a moderate temperature. Their sustainability depends on the source of the electricity, and they are less energy efficient than heat pumps.

Evidence of underfloor heating systems in homes goes back to the Neoglacial period, around 7,000 years ago, in Asia. These systems used the exhaust from fires, which was drafted through tunnels underneath the floor.