It’s a chilly, dark morning, and though you know you need to start your day, you’re finding it painfully difficult to leave the warmth and comfort of your bed, knowing that all that awaits you is a cold, dark house. But if you have radiant floor heating in your bathroom, the start to your day might be slightly easier. Instead of more cold shocks on your feet, radiant floor heating can help you ease into your morning. Leaving your bed might not be so hard.
Learn the pros and cons of radiant floor heating.
Why Use Radiant Heat?
Heat rises. That’s a fact. And none of us are spending our time near the top of our rooms, so it isn’t as important to heat the unused space near the ceilings. As opposed to forced-air heating, radiant floor heating slowly drifts up through a room over time, keeping your space more evenly heated — and keeping you more comfortable. One of the problems, though, is that radiant floor heating doesn’t come cheap. Choosing to install it throughout your home might be out of the budget for you all at once. But smaller spaces can be worth it.
How Much Does It Cost to Install Heated Floors in a Bathroom?
The bathroom is an ideal place for radiant floor heating. Materials that are common in floor bathrooms, like stone and tile, are cold on feet (especially in the morning!), and most homeowners would love for them to feel warmer. Plus, the space is small, so your budget is more likely to be able to handle the cost of radiant floors in this space.
And while radiant floor heating isn’t inexpensive, it is getting more and more affordable as time goes on. Reports that the average cost for installing radiant floor heating in a 100-square-foot bathroom is $600, with the cost ranging from $5 to $8 per square foot.
Is Radiant Floor Heating Cost-Effective?
While radiant floor heating is pricey to install, it is often a cost-effective solution in the long run. Underfloor heating rarely requires maintenance, and if you choose radiant floor heating with a solid warranty, you don’t have to worry about expensive repairs. Just like with forced air, you can program your thermostat so the heat is on only at certain times while maintaining a suitable temperature, thereby reducing expensive heating costs.
But different from forced air, radiant heat systems run more economically. They retain heat better, heat more thoroughly, and waste less energy getting the room warm. Because radiant floor heating keeps the heat down near the floor — where you’re living and moving — you feel more comfortable. And less heat is being lost in the top half of the rooms. You can actually keep your heat set even lower, possibly 6 to 8 degrees lower, and still feel comfortable.
Of course, your savings depend on where you live, what sort of winters you experience, the insulation in your home, and more. But the states that radiant floor heating can give you an average of a 10-30% energy savings. Sometimes, that number can go up to 60%. If you’re installing radiant floor heating only in your bathroom, you of course won’t see such high energy savings as if you were installing it throughout your whole house, but you can expect a savings nonetheless.
Do Heated Floors Heat the Room?
Heated floors do more than just heat the floor. In most cases, they do a great job at heating the whole room. Forced air overheats the perimeter of the room, relying on air circulation to warm the entire room. But you always have to contend with the pesky fact that heat rises, so circulation isn’t always even. Heated floors, on the other hand, begin at the ground, allowing the entire room to become warm.
There are several factors that affect the performance of radiant floor heat.
• If you live in a cold climate, you need a more air-tight room so that the radiant heat can operate efficiently.
• In a room that isn’t properly insulated, radiant floor heating won’t do as good a job.
• If the room is over a cement slab, heated floors won’t do their job as well, because the cement will absorb the heat instead.
• Some flooring choices, like carpet, don’t work as well with heated floors, and the heating system won’t be able to heat the room as well.
What Types of Radiant Heat Are Available?
You’ll find two options for radiant floor heating in bathrooms.
Electric radiant heating systems rely on electrical currents that are applied to a heating element. This heating element is made of coils that run underneath the floors. You’ll need an electrician for this process. This type of floor heating is the most common and it is relatively affordable to use once installed. However, the installation process can be more pricey than the alternative.
Hydronic floor heating using conduction, convection, and radiation using a liquid. It is installed in tubes. Like electric radiant heating, it’s installed under your flooring. You need a boiler system to conduct and heat the water in the tubes, so this system works well for homes that already have boiler systems. Operating costs are cheaper than electric radiant heating systems, but if you don’t already have a boiler system, installation is expensive.
Are Heated Floors Energy Efficient?
In most cases, heated floors are quite energy efficient when you consider the alternative of forced-air heating. In forced-air heating, energy is lost through the ducts, but with heated floors, no energy is lost. Plus, heat distribution is more even with heated floors. And because it rises from the floors, it helps you feel warmer sooner, preventing the need to turn up the thermostat.
Because forced air isn’t efficient at circulating heat, it often needs to run longer just to circulate the air until the temperature gets to a comfortable level. With radiant floor heating, you can run your heat at a lower temperature but still feel just as comfortable.
Radiant floor heating throughout a home is ideal for smaller homes with lower roofs, especially. If you have a large home with big rooms, radiant floor heating isn’t always the best energy-efficient choice, but it does work well in conjunction with forced air in larger spaces. This is why the bathroom is such a good place for radiant floor heating. It’s small, so radiant floor heating makes a big impact while using less energy.
Are Heated Bathroom Floors Worth It?
If you’re remodeling your bathroom, or even just replacing your floors, radiant heating is definitely worth considering. Yes, you’ll end up paying more for your floors, but the energy savings, comfort level, and resale value will be worth it in the end. Because the bathroom is not large in square footage, this is the perfect place to splurge a little on your flooring. And if you’ll already have your floors pulled up for your remodel, you’ll save money in the labor cost when you choose to install radiant floor heating at the same time as your remodel.
New Life Bath and Kitchen can help you select beautiful new flooring for your bathroom, and install radiant floor heating at the same time, giving you the ultimate in comfort and luxury.