Electric Radiant Heat

electric radiant heat, radiant floor heating, radiant floor heating systems, underfloor heating systems, radiant floor heating installation

Electric Radiant Heat

This is an attractive option for those looking for radiant floor heating to simply and efficiently heat their homes.

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There are several reasons while you may want to investigate the use of electric radiant heat in the floors of your home:

Because there is no loss of energy through ductwork, it is typically much more energy efficient than traditional forced-air furnace systems.

Also, since it does not rely on movement of air to heat the space, it is much more comfortable for people with allergy or asthma issues.

Existing Homes

Electric Radiant Heating used in the floor is one of the more popular types of residential radiant floor heating systems in use today. Usually the electrical cables for electric radiant heat are built directly into the floor structure.

Additionally you will find electric radiant heat systems that consist of grids or mats that are mounted on or under a subfloor, or they can be placed beneath floor coverings.

Electric Radiant Heat - Used In High Thermal Mass Floors

Because electric company rates can tend to be somewhat high in certain areas of the country, these systems can be made more efficient by using them in high thermal mass materials, such as poured concrete, beneath tile or stone floors or other very heavy flooring types.

What thermal mass means is that the heat that is given off by the electric radiant heat system is "stored" within the material and slowly radiates into the room or space over time.

One good approach is to charge your high thermal mass floors with heat during off-peak electric use times, which usually occur during the night-time hours.

By using thermal mass, the flooring structure itself can keep an occupied space comfortable for up to 8 to 10 hours without supplemental heating.

Electric Radiant Heat - Used For Existing Homes

As we discussed in the previous section, when used with a floor with a high thermal mass, radiant heating becomes a very effective heating system. While this method is principally used for new construction, if the structure is checked and will support the loading, it is possible to use this heating system for existing structures as well.

Electric Radiant Heat does represent a popular option in existing construction, where it is not feasible to pour a high thermal mass floor or extending the traditional forced-air system into an addition, and would present a substantial challenge.

The simplest way to add electric radiant heat to the floor of an existing home is by the installation of the electric mesh mats directly beneath floor coverings or by sandwiching it between layers of plywood subfloor and finish flooring.

As the photo below shows, the mats can be install beneath a hard tile floor and they are secured directly to the floor mastic that is used to set the tile.

You can also position the heating cables of the electric radiant heating directly to the underside of the subfloor - but it needs to be accessible in order to do this in a cost effective manner.

For the most flexibility, systems that are installed in accessible areas, these systems are easily serviced and can be more easily modified for future renovations.

The manner with which this is handled is by installing electric heating elements between the joist spaces, from the underside of the subfloor.

The system installation is normally completed by the installation of insulation or metal plating which helps reflect the heating upwards, additionally enhancing the effectiveness of the system.


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