Radiant floor heaters are also known as an in-floor heating system. It is a smart strategy for heating up your whole house by simply warming up the floors.
Radiant heating systems work by providing direct heat to your floors or walls. This heat then warms up the entire room.
They work by making use of electric coils, air vents or hot water tubs to warm up your floor surface. This heat radiates up and into the room thereby providing a consistent source of heat.
There are two types of in floor heaters, the electric based system and the water based system.
Radiant Floor Heater Comparison Table
Out of 7 heaters reviewed at qlabe, below are our top 5 picks.
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|Model:||Radiant Floor Heater With Touch Screen By Suntouch||The Warming Systems Mat Electric Floor Heating System||The HeatTech 15 sq ft Mat Kit||The ThermoSoft 7.5 sq ft Floor Heat Mat||HeatTech 40 sqft Warming Cable Set|
|Warranty:||3 years||25 years||3 years||Lifetime Warranty||25 years|
|Area Coverage:||Heats 70 sq. ft.||Heats 25 sq. ft.||Heats 15 sq ft||Heats 7.5 sq ft||Heats 25 sq. ft.|
|Dimensions:||13.4 x 13.2 x 7.7 inches||20.2 x 5.6 x 5 inches||20.8 x 6.2 x 6 inches||60 x 15 x 0.1 inches||12.3 x 9.4 x 6.5 inches|
|Voltage:||120 volts||120 volts||120 volts||120 volts||120 volts|
|Features:||touchscreen programmable thermostat, floor sensor, and install accessories.||Floor adhesive backed heating mat, thermostat with sensor, installation monitor||Electric radiant heating mat, UL listed||UL listed, Reliability, Built to Last|
Low Cost, High Quality
|Zero Electro magnetic Field., Comes with a single armored 10ft long cold|
|Check on Amazon!||Check on Amazon!||Check on Amazon!||Check on Amazon!||Check on Amazon!
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The electric based system heats up the room with wiring that is fixed under the floor which generates heat.
The water based system runs hot water through pipes which create heat. They both have the same levels of efficiency.
In floor heaters do the same thing as radiators, except that they don’t require much maintenance and they don’t take up any wall space.
Radiant heating is beneficial to people with allergies because it does not move dust particles around.
It is also energy efficient and is almost the opposite to forced air heating which is powered by an HVAC furnace and blows hot air through a ductwork and into each room.
Radiant floor heaters warm up your floors and makes your house feel warmer, cozy and comfortable while keeping you warm and toasty.
Best Radiant Floor Heater Reviews – (Recommended Picks)
Floor heating is a luxurious and stylish home feature which people are looking out for nowadays. It is a common choice during renovations and a popular trend in housing.
It is good to keep your feet, and your entire house, warm but how do you know what you’re looking for?
There are a lot of options to consider when deciding on an in floor radiant heater.
This article would be giving you the best radiant floor heaters, explaining how they work and what you benefit from them.
1. Radiant Floor Heater With Touch Screen By Suntouch
The warm wire spool is enough heat wire to create a layout of 70 square feet. The kit also comes with coil straps. Absolutely everything is included with this heating system to allow you to install it for yourself if you are confident enough.
You won’t need to worry about needing to purchase any additional parts for the heater.The SunTouch WarmWire 3.0 kit also comes with a touchscreen thermostat that features a thermostatic wire. This can detect the temperature of the floor in order to regulate the heat.
This system requires the wires to be 3 inches apart, which allows you to create fewer turns in your wiring layout. This makes laying the system far easier in comparison to models that require a 2.5-inch gap.
To give you complete peace of mind when you purchase this heating system, it comes with a 25-year manufacturer’s warranty. As this is such a high-quality radiant floor heating system, it is unlikely that you will need to use this warranty. This is the ideal heating system if you want to keep your bathroom, kitchen or entryways heated comfortably.
2. The Warming Systems Mat Electric Floor Heating System
It can also be used in any room in your house and it can be used for most floor types. If it’s too long or wide, you can simply cut the mesh that spreads the heat to fit in to the shape of your room.
This does not affect its efficiency or output so you do not need to bother. It measures at 20 by 12 inches. The cable used in this heating system is of very high quality.
It is also very thick and this makes it safe for use and durable. This floor is the editors choice because of its affordability as well as the efficiency at which it operates.
It also has an integrated floor sensing thermostat that can monitor the temperature on the floor and ensure that it is safe.
When the temperature is too high, the heating system would reduce the temperature but if it becomes too low or cold, it would increase it.
This heater is the perfect solution for your rooms and your house.
3. Affordable and Efficient: The HeatTech 15 sq ft Mat Kit
The mat is ideal for rooms that are rectangular in shape with little curved borders instead of edges.
Although it is at 15 square feet, the surface area covers up to 40 square feet which makes it perfect for large rooms in spite of its small size.
The heating cable is 1/8 inches thick which keeps it safe and durable for use.
The unique feature of this heating system is the adhesive mat backing which allows it to lay flat and also keeps it laying flat without having to use anything to keep the mat from shifting.
This heating system is also energy efficient and it does not produce any electromagnetic fields.
There is no situation of overloading the circuit because it takes only two amps to power the in floor heater.
It features a thermostat which allows for suitable control of the temperature and it also has a 10 feet cold lead wire which allows for easy connection to the thermostat.
It is also very fast and easy to install, and it does not need any expensive equipment. It is very efficient and one of the best choices you can make in purchasing an in floor heater.
4. Fast and Advanced: The ThermoSoft 7.5 sq ft Floor Heat Mat
It is able to warm laminate and wood floors, insulate cold subfloors and keep your home warm and dry.
It also features a four in one pad that is able to resist mild and mildew which allows to remain durable. It also wicks moisture and spills which are on the floor and causes them to evaporate.
This way, it protects itself from damage and keeps your floors clean and safe. This heater is very durable.
The mat can be installed without cement and the method and procedure for installation does not take a lot of time and effort.
This floor heater is ideal for remodelling or newly constructed homes. You can also choose the right size of the mat that first the size of your floor.
This gives you flexibility and avoids having to cut off the mesh.
5. Energy Efficient: HeatTech 40 sq ft Warming Cable Set
The cable is made out of very high quality and it is up to the electrical safety standards. It is 1/8 inches thick and would not raise the height of the floor.
So it is convenient for finished floors. It also has a floor sensing thermostat and is very energy efficient.
It uses 120 volts and can take up to 600 feet for this one thermostat.
The warming cable is super fast and easy to install. It comes with a 10 feet cold led wire which allows for easy connection and the brand recommends that you space the cable 3 inches apart when installing the heater.
Pros and Cons of Radiant Floor Heaters
As opposed to the use of radiators when heating a home, radiant floor heaters provide a lot of benefits. In spite of these benefits, there are still some disadvantages that come with floor heaters.
Let’s take a look at the features of radiant floor heaters
Comfort and Safety:
With a radiant floor heater, you no longer have to worry about the hot surfaces of radiators or the sharp edges, especially around your children, because this heaters are under the floor.
Floor heaters do not take any space and they heat up the room while giving you the house to decorate as you please.
This heating system is out of reach from children or pets. Also, unlike the heat released by radiators which can reduce oxygen levels in the room and cause discomfort, radiant floor heaters make the room feel like it is making use of the natural sunshine.
It is good for the quality of air in the room and keeps it oxygen rich.
Radiators also move dust and particles around the room which is unhealthy and also harmful for those with allergies but this is not the case with floor heaters.
Radiators need to be set at 149-167 degrees Fahrenheit or 65-75 degrees Celsius in order to effectively heat up a room but radiant floor heaters on the other hand make use of 84 degrees Fahrenheit or 29 degrees Celsius or less and does it more effectively.
This shows you that radiant floor heaters save energy and at the same time, save you money on your electricity bills.
Also, radiators work by heating what is right in front of them first before it finally spreads to the whole room which is why rooms heated by radiators usually have cold spots.
Cold spots means that while the side of the room that is closer to the radiator is warm while the other side is cold.
Floor heaters on the other hand are placed under all the floors in the home and it releases the heat from the floor upward.
This way, it spreads the heat in the room evenly and doesn’t cause stuffiness.
Unlike radiators, in floor heaters achieve your desired temperature with adjustable thermostats and also spreads the heat evenly.
Using radiant floor heating systems saves 15% of electricity bills.
All Floor Coverings Allowed:
It does not matter the type of flooring your have in your home because there is an in floor heating system for every flooring type.
You can choose the type you want that works well with either laminate, stone, carpet, wood, tile and all the others.
Free Wall Space And Design:
When you use radiant floor heating, all the walls in your room would be free from radiators.
All radiators take up space on the wall, no matter how modern they may be but with free walls, you have the freedom to design the walls as you wish since you already have heated floors.
You can design your home without having to bother about radiators.
Easy to Use and Maintain:
In floor heating systems need pretty much no maintenance and they mostly come with a thirty year guarantee once they’ve been installed.
This way, you don’t have to bother about them. Some of them even have programmable thermostats that can allow you to pick your desired temperature.
Some in floor heaters regulate the room temperatures so it won’t be too hot or cold while some ensure that the heating only comes on at certain times that you wish and this allows you to switch it off at night.
They run efficiently and provide convenience.
Easy to Install
The procedure to install in floor heating is simple, especially when it’s part of a renovation or building project.
Some of them can be installed as a do-it-yourself project just by laying it down with the electric wire which has already been pre-spaced and attached to the mesh.
They also have cleaning conveniences which keep room dust free.
Cost of Installation:
The safest cost estimation for professional instalment of a floor heater is between $10-$20 per square foot depending on the type of heater you want to install.
You would also need a qualified electrician to connect the system to the power supply and this can cost up to $250 depending on where you live and the electrician you pick; and it can also take a couple of hours.
The least cost for the connection, installation and labour of the electrician can stand at $500 and above all depending on how professional the electrician is.
Water based heating systems cost up to two or three times more than this and they can only be installed during building or renovation.
Raises the Floor Height:
Radiant floor heating systems can increase the height of the floor in the room by average my less than 1/2 inch although it depends on the type or system you use.
You’ll also need to place insulation boards under the heating system for an increase in efficiency.
This would ensure that all the heat it emits would go up and not down.
These insulation boards will definitely increase the height of the floor again at least by an inch.
Time of Installation:
With all the installation procedures that you need to carry out, the time that the total installation can take is a day or two.
This is because of the self levelling compound that you have to apply on the heating system which takes a while to completely dry.
After this, floor covering would be put in place. Water based heating systems take a week or two but this won’t matter because it only gets installed during building or renovations.
Types of Radiant Floor Heating Systems
The popular categories of floor heating systems are
Electric Floor Heating
This systems use electronic cables that run underneath the floor to provide heat.
They are usually pre-assembled on a mat which makes them easy to install.
They are ideally used when you want to install them at home by yourself on an existing structure or on a subfloor to create a floating floor.
Some of the companies that you can get electric floor heating systems are the ThermoSoft, WarmlyYours, Janes Radiant, Infloor Heating Systems, Nuheat, Warmup and Orbit Radiant Heating.
Air Heated Radiant Floors
These systems circulate hot air through air ducts installed in concrete.
They aren’t usually used for residential purposes because they aren’t as efficient as the electric based and the water based.
Instead, they are used in commercial buildings and some of them use solar energy to create heat.
Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating
They make use of in floor heat tubing to circulate warm water. A boiler or standard water hear can be used to warm the water for the system.
They are perfect for use in areas where the price of electricity is high or for homes that are built off the power grid.
Outdoor Radiant Heating
People who live in cold climates install radiant heating under their driveway and sidewalks. This prevents ice or snow from remaining on these surfaces.
Although there is a heating system for every type of floor, certain floors work better for radiant floor heating systems than others.
Each of the different flooring types have benefits for in floor heating.
Radiant Heaters For Concrete Floors
By installing an in floor heating system in concrete slabs, you get a heated concrete floor.
You can cover the concrete slab with a floor covering afterwards, or stain and seal your concrete floor if you’re going for a different look.
Before you do this, contact the manufacturer of the heating system and the stain or sealant system to ensure that they’re both compatible.
Radiant Heaters For Laminate Floors
This flooring choice conducts heat very well although it is less expensive than using tiles or wood.
Check out the laminate and radiant floor heating system carefully to ensure that they are compatible before you purchase the system.
Before you install, you also have to acclimate the flooring to the temperature of the room.
In-Floor Heaters For Tiled Floors
Stone or ceramic tiles conduct the most heat and so they are perfectly compatible with radiant floor heating systems. They are usually very nice because tiles are normally cold to the feet.
Radiant Heaters For Wooden Floors
Wood floors are another choice when you don’t want tiled flooes.
Although it is not a very good conductor of heat, and it would shrink and expand, it can still work for you if you acclimate the wood to the temperature before you finally install it.
You can do this by placing the heated floor on the wood and running it for a few days.
You’ll have to ask about the carpets tog- which is how well the textile material can conduct heat and serve as an insulator, before you can have a heater carpet floor.
The higher the tog number is, the higher its insulation level stands at.
You shouldn’t have a carpet with a tog that is over 2.5 for in floor heating. If the tog is too high, the carpet would block out the heat.
Radiant Heaters And Safety Precautions
In floor heating systems are very safe. This is because they don’t have exposed surfaces that can cause burns to children or pets.
They are also friendly for those with allergies because they do not carry dust and particles around.
Here are some safety precautions you should observe when using your radiant floor heating system.
Use the Right Flooring
Some laminate or hardwood flooring products are not suitable for in floor heating and they specify this before you purchase.
Use the right type of flooring suitable for the heating system. Failure to do so can cause a fire outbreak.
Check Your Boiler
If you’re using an hydronic system, constantly ensure that the pressure is at a safe level. If you use a gas boiler, regularly call your plumber to check the pipes and valves in case of a gas leak.
If you’re using an electric system, ensure that it is connected to a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) breaker.
This would trip the circuit in case there is something wrong and prevent an electric shock. While installing your floor heating system, install these components as well.
Use A Good Thermostat
A thermostat is used to control the temperature of your heating system.
Most modern in floor heating systems use a thermostat to control the temperature of the floor.
Many thermostats can even connect to your Wi-Fi. This way, you can control the system from your internet connected device like your phone, tablet or laptop.
Some of these heater also have thermostats that regulate or limit the temperature of the floor which is good, especially if the floor covering has a limit for heat.
No Heavy Furniture
Manufacturers advise consumers to avoid placing furniture that is heavy or with a flat bottom on the heated floor. Before making a purchase, contact the in floor heating manufacturer just in case.
Considering The Cost
The costs of a radiant floor heating system depends on the type of system you plan to use and size of the area you’re using it in.
It usually costs between $4-$9 per square foot and this does not include the floor covering.
Many companies have instant quotes on their websites which calculate the price of the floor heating system according to the size of your room.
All you have to do is input the dimensions and it would give a price.
You can visit different sites to get an estimate for your budget. There is also the situation of installation and energy costs.
As stated in the cons of radiant floor heating systems, the overall cost of installing a floor heating system is at $500 and above.
You can avoid this cost by getting a system that is easy to install and can be done by yourself.
Most of these manufacturers advertise the ease in which you can install the system by yourself.
You can treat it like a DIY project although you’ll have to buy some special tools in order to install it.
Ensure you follow all the instructions in the manual during installation and if it isn’t something you can do yourself, hire a professional and affordable electrician.
When you install your system, you would have to also pay for the energy it would consume.
The good thing is that in floor heating systems are energy efficient and so you can warm up your home at a lower cost.
If it is being used as an addition to the furnace, it also won’t take a lot of energy and you can reduce and regulate the temperature with the thermostat.
How Efficient is Radiant Floor Heating System?
Unlike forced air heaters or radiator, radiant floor heating systems are very efficient.
They don’t leak energy or stir up dust and allergens like these heaters and they are energy efficient. If installed properly, and with a good conductor like tiled floors, they become even more efficient.
Radiant floor heaters eliminate cold spots in your home and makes it comfortable.
It distributes hot air evenly in the room so that there are no cold and hot spots, only a warm room.
Using a floor warming system is more efficient when you have a high ceiling than a radiator.
High ceilings make it difficult for the radiator to distribute the hot air through the whole room and it also increases the electricity bills because of all the energy you need to heat up the whole room.
With radiant floor heaters, the bottom and main part of the room is already kept warm.
When you install a radiant floor insulator under your heater, it stops the air from going down and instead, redirects the air to the whole room.
This makes it heat faster and more evenly because all the energy is directed to the room.
Some heaters come with this insulator but for others, you might have to purchase it on your own.
It keeps the temperature even and reduces shifts in the temperature.
Even when your furnace has been turned off, the heater would still maintain the same temperature and keep the room warm.
Replacement For Your Heating System?
Although most people use radiant floor heating systems as a compliment to their furnace or central heating system, it can be used on its own to heat up a whole house.
This would be expensive though, because you would have to install it in every room in the house.
And so before you make that decision, you need to understand just how powerful the radiant floor heating systems are.
Radiant floor heating systems have a limited output- they can warm up the floor to a temperature up to 85 degrees.
Although you can adjust the temperature to which ever temperature that you desire with your programmable thermostat, it would take a few days for the heater to adjust to your desired temperature.
The flooring also has a limited allowance for heat.
These flooring types that accept the use of a radiant floor heating system always state the temperature limit that the heating system must not exceed.
And so if you want to use the heating system for your whole house, choose a flooring type that has tolerance for maximum heat.
Many companies manufacture radiant floor heating systems with do-it-yourself features which enables you to save the cost of instalment.
Although these procedures are supposed to be easy, having knowledge of plumbing or electrical matters would make it easier.
The same amount of time that it takes to install an in floor heating system is the same time it takes to install your floor covering and so it could take a few days or a long weekend.
If you want to install it in a bigger room or your whole house, you should probably get a professional to do it for you.
Check with the laws of your city to know if you can just do it yourself or if you’ll need to get a permit.
You don’t want to get in legal trouble just because you wanted to get warm.
You might also need to get it inspected by an electrician or a plumber, depending on if you’re installing an electricity based system or a water based system.
Also check the installation support that the company offers if you’ve decided to do DIY in floor heating.
Make sure the company that you bought your heating system from has phone support and check the hours that the support line is open.
Some manufacturers can offer installation support over the phone and put you through the steps to take.
If you’ll be doing it during the evening time or weekend, also check the open hours of their phone line before planning around them.
Some companies have a 24/7 customer support hot line although this might not be the case for others.
You can also look for videos on the companies website or on YouTube for a step by step display on how to go about the installation.
This can help you understand how to do it. Some companies like Nuheat have installation videos posted online to provide an explanation of the process.
Tips for Doing It Yourself
In installing a radiant heat subfloor, you’ll have to check with the manufacturer to ensure that the system you chose will work with the subfloor before you purchase it.
The subfloor in your home is the material that you walk in below you. It is similar to your carpet.
It’s the same with a foundation and it can be a wood platform that is suspended over beans which are called floor joists or just a concrete slab.
There are a lot of system that can be used for subfloors.
When installing heated floors under tiles, like if you want a heater bathroom floor, you’ll need a mortar or a special thinset that can go with the subfloor heating system.
Also, make sure you talk to the manufacturer to find out the most compatible mortar products for their systems.
To install a floating door over a radiant heater, you’ll need to install a radiant flooring insulator to stay in between the subfloor and the radiant floor heating system.
You can install the floor heating system on a concrete slab or a wooden subfloor.
Your floor covering will then go over the heating components that you installed, whether it is the electric based or the water based heating system.
You would have to shave the bottom of your doors because by adding all these layers, you’ll end up adding a few inches to the height of the floor.
To install an in-joist radiant floor heating you have to install the hydronic pipes between the floor joists and place it under the subflooring platform.
You can only do this during a new construction or when you’re renovating an existing building.
If it is on an existing building, you’ll need to get to the space under the building to install the pipes.
If you cannot gain access to underneath the building, you’ll simply have to tear out the platform and replace it when you’re done.
When installing your radiant floor heating system in concrete during the construction, you would have to install the heating system while the subfloor is being poured.
If there is an existing structure that has a concrete slab, you can just pour a new layer of concrete on top of the existing slab or you can install a floating floor on the slab.
Both of these methods for concrete floors would raise your floor by a couple of inches.
In order to avoid problems with the opening and closing or doors, shave off the bottom of you doors so they can open and close to easily.
If installing a radiant floor heating system in an existing home or structure, the nature of your subflooring would limit your options because not all radiant floor heating systems are compatible and can be installed with all the types of subfloors.
Before purchasing, find out the type of flooring you have at home and ensure that the heating system can work with the flooring in your house.
Radiant floor heating systems have been called a luxurious way of heating our homes, but they are also very energy efficient and safe to use.
If you’ve been considering getting a radiant floor heating system, we hope this article would be of help to you when you’re choosing, installing and using your radiant floor heating system.