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Seeking Electric In-Floor Heat

6/13/2012 3:31:09 PM

Tags: in floor heat, electric radiant heat, radiant heat, slate radiant heat, slate tile, nursery floors, efficient floors, efficient heating, jessica kellner

Energy-efficient remodeling can require some extra upfront research, but I'm determined to have in-floor heat for my nursery-in-progress, along with more efficient windows. That being said, I won't give up having a high-quality look and feel to our home space.

Our nursery is officially demolished, and we've purchased efficient windows from Pella, which are to be installed in a few weeks. We had to buy new windows because the old ones were low-quality, rotting and not able to close fully or be locked. We ran an article in the latest issue of  Natural Home & Garden that talked about repairing historic windows (which can often be done for a similar price as replacement and be nearly as efficient,) and I often recommend people choose high-efficiency storm windows as a lower-cost alternative to buying replacement windows. But these were neither historic nor in good enough shape to salvage with storms, so replacement was the only real option. We chose Pella because of the company's reputation for excellence, the high efficiency, and because it matches the rest of the windows installed by the previous owner. Fortunately, we only had to replace two windows, because as you probably know, windows are a major investment! 

Next, we will have to have an electrician come and rewire the room, then my husband plans to start installing drywall. Before starting that, we will be on the hunt for eco-friendly insulation, but that will be another blog! Our next immediate decision regards a heating system. We are planning to put slate tile in for the flooring. Our house has concrete floors everywhere else, but there are slate tiles in a few locations, so it should blend with other parts of the house. We like stone tile for its durability and its thermal mass, which helps moderate temperatures. Tile is also easy to clean and doesn't hold in particulate matter like carpet, helping to improve indoor air quality. 

In parts of our home, we are fortunate to have in-floor heat, and we are considering purchasing electric radiant heat mats to install under the tiles. It is an excellent and efficient way to heat a space, and makes a hard flooring surface feel more cozy. Although we've featured homes with radiant heat many times in the past, I've never looked into electric radiant heat for a project of my own. I've started researching brands. We list some in the very handy Resource Guide on the Natural Home & Garden website, including Easy Heat by Emerson and Warmly Yours. The others we feature hook up to a water system (that's what the rest of our house uses, but would be too expensive to add on for this single room). So far, I've found Laticrete, NuHeat, PexHeat, WarmWireSunTouch and WarmUp. I haven't started digging into these products' reliability and safety ratings. I'll keep you up to date as I do. In the meantime, I'd love to hear anyone's experiences or recommendations when it comes to electric in-floor radiant heat companies or products. Email me at if you have tips! 


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12/5/2012 2:00:58 PM
great article.

Ryan Bench
7/9/2012 5:49:10 PM
There is also a product that you can nail and staple through for hardwood floors called ZMesh - - it is low voltage.

6/19/2012 9:21:56 PM
Checking this site: it seems that an in-floor electric heat system would use ~130 kW-hr/ month for a 15x15 ft room. For comparison, an average Am family uses ~900-1000kW'hr/month over-all. Adding electric pads has the advantage of being cozy, as you've suggested, and convenient- you can put mats under rugs in single rooms and not tear up the whole house.OTOH- there's some evidence that chronic exposure to EM radiation, as would occur in this application, may have some long term health effects...If it's feasable, I'd go with a hot water, in-floor heating system- just a scozy but cheaper and possibly safer.

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