Radiant floor heating is a heating system that is installed directly under the floor surface, providing warmth through the entire area.

This system offers many benefits, such as increased comfort, energy efficiency, and added value to the property.

For garages and workshops, radiant floor heating is an ideal addition as it allows for a warm workspace during colder months.

In this article, we will explore the benefits of radiant floor heating in garages and workshops and provide guidance on its installation.

Benefits of Radiant Floor Heating in a Garage

Here are five benefits of installing radiant floor heating in your garage:

  1. Energy Efficiency: Radiant floor heating is a highly energy-efficient way to heat your garage, helping you save money on energy bills in the long run.
  2. Low Maintenance: With a radiant floor heating system, you’ll enjoy the convenience of a low-maintenance heating solution. Unlike other heating systems that require regular maintenance, radiant floor heating requires little to no upkeep.
  3. Snow Control: Radiant floor heating can help prevent snow buildup in your garage, providing a safer and more comfortable environment for you and your vehicle.
  4. Discreet System: Unlike bulky heating systems that can take up valuable garage space, radiant floor heating is a low-profile heating solution that won’t interfere with your garage layout.
  5. Affordable: Radiant floor heating is a cost-effective option for heating your garage. While the initial installation cost may be higher than other heating systems, the energy savings and low maintenance costs make it a worthwhile investment in the long run.

How Efficient is Garage Radiant Floor Heating?

Garage radiant floor heating is an extremely efficient heating option. Because the heat radiates up from the floor, it is able to evenly distribute warmth throughout the space.

This is in contrast to traditional forced-air heating systems which tend to create uneven temperatures in a room. Additionally, radiant floor heating operates at lower temperatures than other heating systems, which can result in even greater energy efficiency.

The efficiency of a radiant floor heating system can also be improved by properly insulating and sealing the space.

This Electric Radiant Floor Warming System and thermostat is installed under the flooring in any room in your house and will supply radiant heat, warming the floor and the room’s objects making the entire area comfortably warm.

By ensuring that the garage is properly insulated, the heat generated by the system is better contained and able to maintain a consistent temperature. This can result in even greater energy savings over time.

The optimal temperature for a heated garage floor depends on the intended use of the space. For example, if the garage is primarily used for storage, a lower temperature of around 50°F (10°C) may be sufficient.

However, if the garage is used as a workshop or for other activities, a higher temperature of around 60-65°F (15-18°C) may be more comfortable.

It’s important to note that setting the temperature too high can result in wasted energy and increased heating costs.

Additionally, it’s recommended to install a thermostat to ensure that the temperature is regulated and consistent throughout the space.

It is important to note that the overall efficiency of a garage radiant floor heating system will also depend on factors such as the size of the space, the type of flooring material used, and the overall insulation of the building.

However, when installed and used properly, garage radiant floor heating is a highly efficient and cost-effective heating option.

Heating SystemEnergy Efficiency (in %)Average Lifespan (in years)Maintenance Cost (per year)
Radiant Floor9525$50
Forced Air7515$150
Space Heaters505$200

Other Heater Types For Garage

Let’s take a look at how electric radiant heating compares to other popular heating systems:

  1. Forced Air: Forced air systems use a furnace or heat pump to heat air, which is then distributed throughout the garage via ductwork. While forced air systems can quickly heat up a space, they can be noisy, and the heated air can rise to the ceiling, leaving the lower portion of the room cold.
  2. Infrared Heaters: Infrared heaters use electromagnetic radiation to heat objects in the room, rather than the air. This can make them a good option for heating specific areas of the garage, but they may not provide consistent, even heating throughout the space.
  3. Space Heaters: Space heaters are a portable option for heating a small area, but they may not be practical for larger garages or workshops. They can also be a fire hazard if not used properly.
  4. Convection Heaters: Convection heaters work by heating the air in the room, which then rises and circulates. While they can be effective at heating a space, they can take longer to warm up compared to other systems.
  5. Hydronic Heating Systems: Hydronic systems use heated water or another liquid to circulate heat through a series of pipes or tubes in the floor. While they can provide efficient, even heating, they can be more expensive to install and maintain compared to electric radiant heating.

We recently had the opportunity to install a radiant floor heating system in a 2-car garage that measured 22ft x 22ft.

After assessing the space, we determined that a 45,000 BTU system would be the most appropriate choice for this garage, as it would provide ample warmth for the two vehicles stored inside.

We installed the system over a span of two days, with the majority of time spent on laying the PEX tubing and ensuring proper insulation and sealing.

The finished result was a comfortable and energy-efficient garage space, with the added bonus of no longer having to step onto a cold concrete floor during those chilly winter months.

Calculate Heating Energy Requirements: How To Determine The Heating Needs Of Your Garage Or Workshop ?

When calculating the heating energy requirements for your garage or workshop, there are several factors to consider, including the size of the space, the desired temperature, and the insulation of the building.

To calculate the heating load, you can use a formula that takes into account the R-value of the insulation, the surface area of the garage or workshop, and the desired temperature difference between the interior and exterior of the building. It is also important to factor in any heat loss that may occur through windows or doors.

Once you have determined the heating load, you can then choose the appropriate radiant floor heating system to meet your needs. It is important to select a system that can provide enough heat to warm the entire space, while also being energy efficient and cost-effective.

Chose When To Install

Installing radiant floor heating can be done in two ways: over the existing flooring or coordinating with a new flooring installation.

The first option is ideal if you have a pre-existing concrete or tile floor, as it can be expensive to remove and replace the flooring. However, if you are planning on installing new flooring anyway, it may be more cost-effective to coordinate the installation of the radiant floor heating system with the installation of the new flooring.

This can ensure that the heating system is properly integrated and that the flooring material is compatible with the heating system.

The Benefits Of Extending Radiant Floor Heating To The Driveway

Extending radiant floor heating to the driveway can have several benefits. One of the biggest benefits is the ability to prevent snow and ice buildup, which can be a safety hazard. By extending the radiant heating system onto the driveway, the snow and ice will melt quickly, allowing for safe and easy access to your garage.

Another benefit of extending the heating system to the driveway is that it can help preserve the life of your driveway. The constant freeze-thaw cycle can cause damage to your driveway over time, leading to cracks and other issues. By keeping the driveway warm and free of ice, you can reduce the impact of this cycle on the surface of the driveway, helping to extend its lifespan.

If you live in a region that experiences frequent snowfall or cold temperatures, extending your radiant floor heating system to the driveway can be a wise investment. It not only makes your garage and driveway more comfortable to use, but it can also add value to your home.

The Importance Of Proper Sealing And Insulation For An Efficient System

Proper sealing and insulation are crucial for an efficient radiant floor heating system in a garage or workshop. Without proper sealing and insulation, heat can escape from the system and be wasted, resulting in higher energy bills and a less comfortable environment.

One important aspect of sealing is to ensure that the space beneath the flooring is properly sealed. This can be done by installing a vapor barrier, which prevents moisture from seeping into the flooring and damaging the heating system. In addition, the space should be properly insulated to prevent heat loss. This can be achieved by installing insulation beneath the vapor barrier and around the perimeter of the garage or workshop.

Another important consideration for efficient heating is the use of a high-quality insulation material. The type of insulation used will depend on the specific needs of the garage or workshop, as well as the climate in the area. Fiberglass and foam board insulation are two popular options that provide excellent thermal insulation and are easy to install.

Installation of Electric Radiant Floor Heating in Your Garage

Preparing the Barn Floor

Before installing the radiant floor heating system, it’s important to properly prepare the barn floor. This involves installing foam insulation on the bottom and sidewalls of the barn to prevent heat loss. Next, the sand must be leveled using a stake and pipe system to ensure an even surface.

A giant rake made from a street board can be used to level the sand further, and a flat 2×4 can be used to ensure it is completely flat. Finally, foam board should be cut and taped to fill any gaps or seams in the insulation.

Installing the Radiant Floor Heating System

Once the floor is properly prepared, it’s time to install the radiant floor heating system. This involves determining the spacing and layout of the PEX tubing, which is the piping used to circulate hot water or electricity to heat the floor. The tubing must then be connected to the manifold, which distributes the hot water or electricity, and to the power source.

Before pouring the concrete, it’s important to perform a pressure test to ensure there are no leaks in the system. The concrete should be poured in sections, and fiberglass additive can be added for added strength. Finally, the concrete should be finished by both floating and troweling it.

Additional Considerations

There are several additional considerations to keep in mind when installing a radiant floor heating system. Proper spacing and layout of the PEX tubing is crucial for efficient heating. It’s also important to calculate the heat loss of the barn or workshop to determine the size of the system needed.

Compatibility with other heating systems should also be considered. The cost of installation and return on investment should also be weighed against other heating options. Finally, safety considerations, such as ensuring proper ventilation, should also be taken into account.

Testing and Performance

Once the installation of the radiant floor heating system is complete, it is important to test the system to ensure it is working correctly. This process involves hooking up the system to the power source and manifold, and performing a pressure test to check for any leaks. The pressure test is done by pressurizing the system with air or water and checking for any drop in pressure over a certain period of time.

After the pressure test is successful, the system can be filled with water or glycol, depending on the type of system installed. It is important to monitor the system’s performance and efficiency regularly to ensure it is operating at maximum efficiency. This includes monitoring the temperature of the water or glycol in the system, as well as the temperature of the floor surface.

If there are any issues with the system’s performance or efficiency, troubleshooting may be necessary. Common issues include leaks in the PEX tubing, improper spacing or layout of the tubing, or problems with the power source or manifold. It is important to address these issues promptly to prevent any further damage to the system.

Regular maintenance and cleaning of the system is also important to ensure its longevity and efficiency. This includes flushing the system regularly to remove any buildup or debris, and checking the PEX tubing for any signs of wear or damage.

How to Install a Hydronic Garage Floor

Installing a radiant floor heating system can be a time-consuming process, but the exact timeline depends on a number of factors such as the size of the garage or workshop, the type of system being installed, and the level of experience of the installer.

Generally speaking, a typical garage or workshop installation may take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks.

Here are the steps to follow:

  • Choose a Hydronic System: Select a hydronic system that is compatible with your garage floor. There are several types of hydronic systems available on the market, including in-floor tubing, subfloor panels, and modular panels.
  • Plan the Layout: Plan the layout of the hydronic system, taking into account the size and shape of the garage. Determine the location of the manifold, which is the central control unit for the system, and the location of the pump, which circulates the hot water through the tubing.
  • Install Insulation: Insulate the garage floor to prevent heat loss. This is an important step, as it can significantly impact the efficiency of the hydronic system. Use foam insulation or insulation boards to insulate the floor.
  • Install Vapor Barrier: Install a vapor barrier over the insulation to prevent moisture from seeping into the concrete slab. The vapor barrier is typically made from plastic sheeting or other moisture-resistant materials.
  • Install Tubing: Install the tubing according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The tubing is typically made from cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) and is designed to withstand high temperatures and pressure. The tubing should be spaced at a consistent distance to ensure even heat distribution.
  • Connect the Tubing to the Manifold: Connect the tubing to the manifold, which controls the flow of hot water through the tubing. Use a specialized tool to crimp the PEX tubing onto the manifold.
  • Connect the Manifold to the Pump: Connect the manifold to the pump, which circulates the hot water through the tubing. The pump should be located near the water heater to ensure efficient heat transfer.
  • Perform a Pressure Test: Perform a pressure test to ensure that the hydronic system is properly installed and does not leak. This involves filling the system with water and pressurizing it to the recommended level.
  • Pour the Concrete: Once the hydronic system is installed and tested, pour the concrete over the tubing. The concrete should be at least 2 inches thick to ensure proper heat transfer.
  • Finish the Concrete: Finish the concrete by smoothing it out with a trowel or float. Allow the concrete to cure for at least 28 days before using the garage.

How to Maintain and Troubleshoot a Garage Radiant Floor Heating System

The lifespan of heated floors in a garage can vary depending on the quality of installation, usage, and maintenance.

On average, a properly installed and maintained garage heated floor system can last anywhere from 15 to 25 years. However, some systems have been known to last even longer.

Factors that can affect the lifespan of a heated floor system in a garage include the quality of the materials used, the type of installation method employed, and the amount of wear and tear the system receives over time.

Here are some steps you can take to maintain and troubleshoot your garage radiant floor heating system:

  1. Regular Cleaning: Keep the surface of your garage floor clean and free of debris to prevent dirt and grime from accumulating and interfering with the system. This is especially important if you store vehicles, boats, bicycles, or other equipment in your garage.
  2. Check the Thermostat: Make sure the thermostat is functioning properly and set to the desired temperature. If you notice any issues with the thermostat, such as inaccurate temperature readings, consider replacing it.
  3. Inspect the Manifold: Check the manifold and make sure there are no leaks or damage. If you notice any issues, contact a professional for repairs.
  4. Monitor System Performance: Keep an eye on the performance of your radiant floor heating system. If you notice any changes in temperature or reduced heating efficiency, it may be a sign of a problem that needs to be addressed.
  5. Address Issues Promptly: If you do notice any issues with your radiant floor heating system, it’s important to address them promptly to avoid further damage and costly repairs. Consider contacting a professional for help with troubleshooting and repairs.

Cost Considerations of Operating a Garage Radiant Floor Heating System

Initial Installation Costs: The cost of installing a garage radiant floor heating system can vary greatly depending on the size of the garage, the type of system being installed, and the complexity of the installation.

Generally, the cost of the system will be higher if the garage floor is being retrofitted for radiant heating, as opposed to installing the system during new construction. However, the investment can pay off in the long run with lower energy bills and increased comfort in the garage or workshop.

Energy Consumption: The cost of operating a garage radiant floor heating system is primarily based on energy consumption.

The type of system, as well as the size of the garage, will determine how much energy is required to heat the space. The more energy-efficient the system is, the lower the operating costs will be. Additionally, factors such as the climate and insulation of the garage will also impact energy consumption.

Thermostat Usage: Proper use of the thermostat can also impact energy costs. It’s important to program the thermostat to lower the temperature when the garage or workshop is not in use, or to use a smart thermostat that can automatically adjust based on occupancy.

This can significantly reduce energy consumption and lower costs.

System Maintenance: Regular maintenance of the radiant floor heating system is important to ensure optimal performance and efficiency.

A poorly maintained system can result in higher energy consumption and increased costs. Simple maintenance tasks such as cleaning the system and changing the air filters can go a long way in reducing energy costs.

Insulation and Weatherization: Proper insulation and weatherization can help prevent heat loss and reduce energy consumption. Sealing air leaks and adding insulation to walls, ceilings, and garage doors can help keep the warm air inside the garage or workshop, reducing the amount of energy needed to maintain a comfortable temperature.

Return on Investment: While the initial installation cost of a garage radiant floor heating system may be high, the long-term energy savings and increased comfort can provide a significant return on investment. It’s important to consider the long-term benefits when determining the cost-effectiveness of the system.

Pros and Cons of Garage Radiant heater

Provides comfortable, even heat throughout the garage or workshopInitial installation cost can be higher than other heating options
Energy efficient, reducing heating costs over timeMay require professional installation
Low maintenance and long-lasting, with little to no maintenance requiredMay take longer to heat up than other systems
Can be installed under any type of flooring, including concrete and tileCannot be used as the sole heat source in extremely cold climates
Does not take up any wall or floor space, allowing for maximum use of the garage or workshopRequires proper insulation and vapor barriers to prevent heat loss
Eliminates cold spots and drafts, providing a more comfortable environmentMay not be as effective for heating larger spaces or high-ceilinged rooms
Can be zoned to provide heat only where it's needed, potentially saving even more on energy costsCan be more difficult to repair if a problem arises
Compatible with a variety of energy sources, including solar, geothermal, and natural gasMay not provide the same level of heat as traditional heating systems
Can be used to melt snow and ice on the garage floor, preventing slips and falls and protecting vehiclesRequires a separate system to cool the garage or workshop during hot weather

Upgrade Your Garage or Workshop With Radiant Heating

Radiant floor heating can provide numerous benefits for upgrading a garage or workshop. One major advantage is increased comfort, as the system radiates heat evenly throughout the space, creating a more consistent temperature. This can be especially important for vehicle storage or workshop areas where occupants may spend extended periods of time.

Another benefit is increased value, as radiant floor heating is seen as a desirable feature for homebuyers and can increase the resale value of the property. Additionally, the system is a low-profile heating option that won’t interfere with garage space or affect the aesthetic appeal of the room.

Garage and Workshop-Specific Considerations

The first thing to consider when maintaining your garage or workshop is to check for any damage caused by vehicle or equipment traffic.

A workspace that has been subjected to heavy traffic can often develop cracks, potholes, or other forms of damage that can pose a significant safety risk.

It’s important to check the flooring, walls, and ceilings of your workspace regularly to ensure that they are structurally sound.

Inspecting the Heating System After Any Work is Done on the Garage or Workshop

Another essential consideration when maintaining your garage or workshop is to inspect the heating system after any work is done on the workspace.

Whether you’re replacing a part on a car or performing a DIY project, there’s a chance that your heating system may have been impacted.

It’s important to inspect your heating system regularly to ensure that it’s working efficiently and effectively.

Ensuring the System is Properly Insulated to Prevent Heat Loss

A well-insulated garage or workshop is essential to maintaining a comfortable working environment.

Without proper insulation, you’ll be losing heat through the walls and ceiling of your workspace, leading to increased energy bills and a less comfortable working environment.

Make sure your workspace is properly insulated to prevent heat loss, and consider upgrading your insulation if necessary.

Regularly Cleaning the Floor and Surrounding Area to Prevent Dust and Debris Buildup

One of the most critical considerations when maintaining your garage or workshop is to regularly clean the floor and surrounding area to prevent dust and debris buildup.

The accumulation of dust and debris can lead to unsafe working conditions, causing slips, trips, and falls.

Regular cleaning can also help to prevent the buildup of harmful chemicals, fluids, and other hazardous materials that can pose a significant health risk.

Testing the System’s Performance and Efficiency After Any Changes or Upgrades are Made to the Garage or Workshop

Finally, it’s essential to test the performance and efficiency of your garage or workshop after any changes or upgrades are made.

Whether you’ve installed a new piece of equipment or made changes to your heating or insulation system, it’s crucial to ensure that everything is working as it should.

Testing can help to identify any issues early on, preventing further damage and ensuring the continued safety of your workspace.