There are few things that can chill you in the winter months like the cold floor on your bare feet. If you have hardwood floors or tile floors, you know this feeling well and have probably considered installing heated floors in portions of your home. Electric heated floors a great way to heat specific areas of your floors, but have some major downfalls for large area heating.
When you look at your utility bill, even when natural gas prices are ridiculous, the most expensive portion of that utility bill is probably the electric portion. This is because you are charged more for electricity and it is used everyday, all the time where gas appliances are used intermittently throughout the day. This is one reason why you do not see many homes with electric baseboard heat as the primary heat source anymore. The expense is simply too great. However, for small areas like bathroom floors and specific pathway heating, this can be a great option.
The installation of electrically heated floors must be absolutely perfect as no wires can be severed or cut. This can be difficult to layout if you are dealing with a small space and you may need to add extra heating wire or wire pads (depending on the manufacturer) that need to be connected properly in order to function as a monolithic unit. Unfortunately, if you find that your floor is not working properly, it is too late as the floor is typically already covered at this point. This is why the installation needs to be perfect in order to get the desired effect.
Extra Precautionary Measures
One thing about electric heat is that is warms up really fast and this needs to be taken into affect with proper clearances from plumbing components. Toilets, for example need to have the heat wires a certain distance from waste vent (toilet drain) to ensure that the heat does not melt the wax seal for the toilet. If the heat melted the wax seal, the toilet would not be sealed and would leak every time it was used. Also copper supply lines can conduct electricity and electrocution could occur when using the sink. These examples may seem far fetched, but the warnings would not be on the box if someone had not done these things.
Electrically heated flooring can be great when properly installed and this article is not meant to deter one from buying and installing it. This is simply to educate you on proper and improper installation practices and cost efficiency as it relates to this type of product. Because this product is so temperamental, it is a wise decision to have it installed professionally so that you can be sure that the comfort you feel when you place your feet on the floor in the morning doesn’t end with a shock.