Bathroom Electric Radiant Heat Installation: 4 Questions The Novice May Have

20 April 2016
 Categories: , Articles


If you are considering upgrading your bathroom, you may want to think of a new approach to heating. Perhaps you've considered installing electric radiant heat in the bathroom, yet you're unfamiliar with the process or some of the advantages to this type of system. Before you take that important step, you need to learn all you can about this heating option that is growing in popularity. If you are a radiant heat rookie, here are the answers to a few questions you may have been asking:

1. Why Is It a Good Idea to Install Radiant Heat?

For one thing, radiant heat can make your bathroom more comfy. Do you step out of the bathtub or shower onto a cold floor? Would you like to ditch the bathroom floor rug for good? A major advantage for many homeowners who install electric radiant heat in the bathroom is the feeling of warmth beneath their bare feet. That's because the heat radiates through the floor, not through the air.

Most radiant floor heating systems are also durable. This means radiant floor heating may save you money in the long run. Many homeowners will need to replace a standard furnace after a period of time. Conversely, radiant floor heating may last upwards of 35 years. You may also appreciate the quiet operation of a radiant floor heating system. Without a blower, the radiant heater will not hum or whistle.

2. How Does the Heat Generate from Beneath the Floor and What Does the Installation Process Involve?

The concept is quite simple. To make this happen, an electrical current is created through heating cables or a heat mat that is installed underneath the floor. The cables are generally high voltage while the mat is a low voltage application. The cables may eventually require repair, however.

Cables will need to be installed into concrete, while the mat is adhered to the sub floor with mortar and staples. The floor tiles are then adhered to the mat or cables. For the novice, it is a good idea to hire a professional electrician or heating technician. Even if you install the mat or cables yourself, it is best to hire an electrician for the thermostat installation.

3. What Flooring Materials Are Typically Used With Electric Radiant Floor Heating?

Stone, ceramic or porcelain tiles are typically placed down over the thin heating cables or over a heat mat. These tile materials tend to conduct heat well, whereas wood flooring doesn't maintain the temperature as well. Also, ceramic or porcelain tiles are not as likely to expand and crack during the heating and cooling down process. If you prefer the look of a natural wood floor, laminate flooring is a good option to consider. Laminate may also be more cost effective than ceramic or porcelain.

4. How Does One Control the Room Temperature?

To set the comfort control or temperature of your radiant floor heating, you will need to have a thermostat installed. This device will have a sensor that can detect the ambient temperature. It works by a setting that is determined by the user. When the temperature drops below that setting, the heating will turn on to maintain that set temperature, much like any standard digital thermostat.

The differentiating factor of a radiant heat thermostat is the inclusion of a floor sensor. This sensor will prevent conflict from other heating sources, such as the central heating system you might use to heat your entire house. The thermostat should also have a heat-on indicator light.

If you have other questions pertaining to electric radiant floor heating, you should consult with a heating specialist or contractor in residential HVAC installation in your area. You might want to schedule an in-home consultation and estimate.