Find the Best Radiant Floor Heating
Compare Reviews for Top Radiant Floor Heating Companies
|InFloor||Read Author Review|
Infloor Heating Systems sells indoor and outdoor radiant heating products, including electric and hydronic underfloor heating systems. It has systems that are compatible with any type of subfloor and floor covering.
|Janes Radiant||Read Author Review|
Janes Radiant sells electric and hydronic heating systems. It has products that can go under tile, stone, hardwood, laminate, vinyl and carpet.
|Nuheat||Read Author Review|
Nuheat, a subsidiary of Pentair Thermal Management, offers electric underfloor heating systems for installation under stone, tiles, laminate and engineered wood. Its systems are sold by dealers throughout the United States.
|Orbit Radiant Heating||Read Author Review|
Orbit Radiant Heating sells electric radiant heating systems online and through distributors across the United States. Its systems can be installed with floor joists or concrete slabs and are compatible with most floor coverings.
|Radiantec||Read Author Review|
Radiatec sells hydronic underfloor heating systems online. It has in-joists and concrete slab systems that are compatible with most flooring options. It also has solar energy products to power radiant heating systems.
|SunTouch||Read Author Review|
SunTouch manufactures electric underfloor heating systems as well as systems for outdoor use. In-floor systems can be used in concrete slabs or wooden floor joists and are compatible with tile, stone and wood flooring.
|ThermoSoft||Read Author Review|
ThermoSoft manufactures and sells electric in-floor heating systems. These systems can go in floor joists or concrete slabs. They can go under ceramic, stone, laminate, wood, vinyl and carpet.
|Warmboard||Read Author Review|
Warmboard sells highly energy-efficient hydronic underfloor heating systems and outdoor radiant heat systems online. Its system can be installed as a subfloor and can go under most types of flooring.
|Warmly Yours||Read Author Review|
WarmlyYours sells electric underfloor heating systems and outdoor radiant heating systems. In-floor heating can be installed in floor joists or a concrete slab and can go under carpet, laminate and floating wood floors.
|WarmUp||Read Author Review|
Warmup Inc. sells electric underfloor heating systems and other radiant heating products. Their in-floor heating systems are compatible with laminate, carpet, vinyl and stone. The systems go over floor joists or concrete.
What is radiant heat?
Radiant heating systems provide direct heat to floor or walls. Then, the heat radiates out from those and warms your room. Radiators are one example of radiant heating. Underfloor radiant heating offers the same benefits without taking up wall space and requires less maintenance.
Radiant heating is an alternative to forced air heating—the kind of heat produced by an HVAC furnace. With forced air heating, hot air is blown through ductwork and vented into each room. Radiant heating is better for people with allergies because it doesn’t move dust and particles around your home and it’s more energy efficient.
How do heated floors work?
Heated floors work by using electric coils, hot water tubes or air vents to warm the surface of your floor. The heat from the floor then radiates up and into your room, creating a consistent source of heat.
How much do heated floors cost?
Depending on the type of system you choose and the size of the area you’re heating, a radiant floor heating system will cost between $4 and $9 per square foot, not including the cost of the floor covering. Many companies have online tools for calculating radiant floor heating costs per square foot for one of their systems, so visit a few manufacturers’ websites to get a ballpark estimate. When considering radiant floor heating costs, don’t forget to think about installation and energy costs.
- Installation costs: Many companies advertise the ease of installing one of their underfloor heating systems. If you install it yourself, you’ll save money. However, you may need to buy special tools, so don’t forget to factor those in when making your budget. If you look at the installation instructions and decide you’d rather have a professional do the work, you’ll pay $55 to $75 per hour.
- Energy costs: You’ll have to pay for the energy your system uses once it’s installed. However, underfloor heating could lower your overall energy bill if it keeps your rooms warm enough that you use your furnace less or set it to a lower temperature. These systems are usually highly energy-efficient, so you can keep your house warmer for less money. A few companies also install solar panels to power these systems.
Types of radiant floor heating
Electric floor heating
Electric radiant underfloor systems use electronic cables that run under the floor to give off heat. These wires are often sold on a pre-assembled mat, which makes it relatively easy to install. Electric systems are often used when you’re installing heating in an existing structure and want to create a floating floor, meaning you install the heating system on top of the subfloor.
Companies that offer electric radiant floor heating: Janes Radiant, ThermoSoft, WarmlyYours, Nuheat, Warmup, Orbit Radiant Heating and Infloor Heating Systems.
Hydronic radiant floor heating
Hydronic systems work by circulating warm water through in-floor heat tubing. You can use a boiler or a standard water heater to warm the water for these systems. Hot water radiant floor heating systems are ideal for use in areas where the price of electricity is very high and for homes built off the power grid.
Companies that offer water underfloor heating: Janes Radiant, WarmBoard, Radiatec and Infloor Heating Systems.
Air heated radiant floors
Air heated radiant floors circulate warm air through ductwork in concrete. However, these systems aren’t widely used for residential installation because they’re less efficient than electric and water heated floors. Air heated floors are sometimes used in commercial buildings. In some cases, solar energy is used to create heat, and the use of solar offsets the lost efficiency.
Outdoor radiant heating
Many people in cold climates install radiant heating under their driveway and sidewalks to prevent snow and ice from building up on those surfaces. This guide focuses on indoor applications of radiant heating, but many companies discussed here also offer outdoor systems for installing heated driveways and heated sidewalks.
Companies that offer outdoor radiant heating systems: WarmlyYours, SunTouch, WarmUp, Orbit Radiant Heating and Infloor Heating Systems.
Tips for installing radiant floor heating
Radiant heat subfloor
The subfloor of your home is the material that is below what you walk on, like your carpet. It’s usually the same as the foundation, and it can be a concrete slab or a wood platform suspended over beams, called floor joists. Compatible systems exist for most types of subfloors, but you’ll need to check with the manufacturer to make sure the system you’re choosing will work with your subfloor before you make a purchase.
Radiant heating in concrete
When installing radiant heating in concrete during construction, you’ll install the heating system while the subfloor is being poured. If you have an existing structure with a concrete slab, you can install a floating floor or pour a new layer of concrete on top of your existing slab. Both of these concrete floor heating systems will raise the height of your floor and might cause problems with doors opening and closing.
In-joist radiant floor heating
You can install hydronic pipes between floor joists and under the subflooring platform during new construction or when remodeling an existing building. If you’re doing this in an existing structure, you’ll need access to the space under the building. If you don’t have a crawl space or any other type of access, you’ll have to tear the platform out and replace it.
Floating floor over radiant heat
You can install underfloor heating on top of either a concrete slab or a wood subfloor. You’ll usually need to install radiant flooring insulation between the subfloor and the radiant heating system. Then, your floor covering will go over the heating components, whether it’s electric or hydronic. All of these layers will add a few inches to height to the floor, meaning you’ll need to shave the bottom off of doors.
Retrofit radiant floor heating
If you’re installing radiant floor heating in existing home, the type of subflooring you have will limit your options. Not all radiant heating systems can be installed with all subfloors. Make sure the system you buy will work with the type of subfloor you have.
Installing heated floors under tile
When installing a radiant floor heating system under tile, perhaps if you want a heated bathroom floor, you’ll need a special thinset, or mortar, that is compatible with the subfloor heating system. Make sure to talk to the manufacturer about which mortar products are compatible with their systems.
Common questions about radiant floor heating
- What type of flooring is best for radiant heat?
- Underfloor heating can be installed under most types of floor coverings, including carpet, hardwood, laminate, tile, concrete and stone. However, not all heated floor options are compatible with all flooring types. Check with the in-floor heating manufacturer before you buy a floor covering. Each of the floor types listed below offer certain benefits for underfloor heating.
- Heated tile floors: Many home improvement sites claim that stone or ceramic tile conduct the most heat, so you notice the biggest difference with these types of floors. Because tile often feels cold to your feet, heated tile floors are especially nice.
- Heated wood floors: For rooms where you don’t want tile, wood floors are a good alternative. Wood doesn’t conduct heat quite as well, but the trade-off may be worth it for the appearance. Because wood can shrink and expand, you need to place the flooring in the heated room and run the heated floor for a few days so that the wood can acclimate to the temperature before you install it.
- Heated laminate flooring: Laminate flooring might be a less expensive option than tile or wood, and it also conducts heat relatively well. Carefully review the laminate and radiant heating system before you buy them to make sure they're compatible with each other. As with installing wood, you need to acclimate the flooring to the temperature of the room before installing it.
- Heated carpet floors: If you want heated carpet floors, you need to ask about the carpet’s tog when you buy it. Tog refers to how well a textile material retains heat and serves as an insulator. The higher the tog number, the more insulating the material is. To prevent the carpet from blocking out the heat (because it’s insulating your room), you can’t choose a carpet with too high a tog. Generally, you shouldn’t install carpet with a tog over 2.5 if you have in-floor heating.
- Heated concrete floors: You can install underfloor heating in concrete slabs to have a heated concrete floor. Most people still cover the concrete slab with a floor covering, but you could also stain and seal your concrete floor for a more industrial look. Talk to the manufacturer of the heating system and the manufacturer of the stain or sealant to make sure the products are compatible. This option provides similar results as heating a stone or tile floor.
- Is radiant floor heating efficient?
- Yes! Unlike forced-air heating that requires ducts that leak energy and stir up dust and allergens, radiant floor heating is very energy efficient. When installed correctly, radiant floor heating is even more efficient when paired with a heat-conducting floor covering like ceramic tile.
Energy-efficient underfloor heating adds enough heat to your house that you can turn down your furnace. If you do that and your floors are more efficient than your furnace, you’ll use less energy and save money on heating costs. Here are some specific ways that in-floor heating makes it easier to set your furnace to a lower temperature.
- Eliminate cold spots: Underfloor heating makes your home more comfortable. It heats rooms evenly, so there will be fewer hot and cold spots based on where air vents are located.
- Heat rooms with vaulted ceilings: Although high, vaulted ceilings look beautiful, they can make your heating bill quite high since all the heat rises to the ceiling. Floor warming systems add more heat to the bottom part of the room, which means you’ll feel warmer in rooms with high ceilings without turning up the furnace to heat the entire space.
- Reduce temperature shifts: Because underfloor heating gives off constant heat, you’re less likely to notice a sudden shift in temperature when your furnace kicks off, and, therefore, you’re less likely to turn your furnace back on.
- Use radiant floor insulation: When installing your in-floor heating, you may want to install a layer of radiant floor insulation. This insulation is placed below the hot water tubing or electric coils and the ground, and it helps direct heat back up towards the floor. Depending on the manufacturer you choose, this product may be included in your system. Always follow the manufacturer's installation guidelines.
- Is underfloor heating safe?
- Yes, underfloor heating is very safe. It is safer than other types of radiant heat because underfloor heating doesn’t have exposed surfaces that get hot and might burn children or pets. It may also be safer than forced-air heating for people with severe allergies because it won’t stir up dust or other air particles that could cause an allergy attack. That said, here are some precautions you can take to ensure the safety of your system.
- Use approved flooring: Many laminates and hardwood flooring products specify whether or not they’re suitable for use over underfloor heating. To ensure underfloor heating safety, look for a product that is specifically labeled as approved for use with radiant heating.
- Install a good thermostat: You control the temperature of the floor with modern underfloor heating systems with a thermostat. Many thermostats can connect to your Wi-Fi so that you can control the system with another internet-connected device. These heated floor thermostats may also be able to limit how hot your floor gets, which is good if the floor covering you choose has a lower maximum heat.
- Have your boiler checked: If you have a hydronic system, make sure the pressure remains at a safe level. If it’s a gas boiler, have a plumber check the valves and pipes for gas leaks.
- Use a GFCI breaker: If you install an electric system, make sure it’s connected to a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) breaker. These breakers will trip the circuit if something isn’t right, which can prevent electrical shock. It’s a good idea to have a licensed electrician install these components.
- Don’t place heavy furniture on it: Some manufacturers recommend that you avoid putting heavy or flat-bottomed furniture on heated floors. If you’re concerned about whether your furniture will cause problems, contact the in-floor heating manufacturer before making a purchase.
- Can heated floors heat a house?
- Yes, some people use an underfloor heating system to heat their house, but most people simply use it to supplement the heat from their furnace. Before investing in underfloor heating, make sure you understand its capabilities.
- Radiant floor systems have a limited heat output: Most underfloor heating systems can keep the floor as warm as 85 degrees. You can set the temperature to whatever feels most comfortable to you, but it can take a few days for the floor to reach your desired temperature.
- Flooring has a maximum heat allowance: Many approved flooring types specify whether you should keep the radiant heat from getting over a specific temperature. If you want to heat your whole house using only underfloor heating, choose a flooring type with high maximum heat.
- Can I install a radiant floor heating system myself?
- Yes, many companies sell DIY radiant floor heating systems directly to consumers. Some say these systems are easy to install, but electrical or plumbing knowledge will help make the job go more smoothly. Installing in-floor heating takes about the same amount of time as installing your floor covering, so you could install a heated bathroom floor over a long weekend. For a bigger project, or to get it done more quickly, consider contacting a professional.
Check with your city to learn if you’re required to get a permit to do the work yourself. You might have to have it inspected by a plumber or an electrician, depending on which type of heated floor system you choose. If you want to do DIY in-floor heating, check to see what kind of installation support the company offers.
- Choose a company with phone support: It’s standard for manufacturers to offer installation support over the phone. Check to see what hours the support hotline is open. If you’ll be doing the installation in the evening or on weekends, make sure phone support is available during those hours.
- Look for installation videos: Watching radiant floors be installed can help you understand how to do it. Some companies, have installation videos online so you can see exactly how the process should go.
- Is radiant floor heating worth it?
- Radiant floor heating can add comfort, luxury and resale value to your home and help you use energy more efficiently, which lowers your utility costs. It is expensive to install ($4 to $8 per square foot) and may not be a good idea to put in rooms with certain types of surfaces. Bathrooms, where tile is common, are popular places to put in radiant floor heating, especially if you’re considering a broader bathroom remodel.
- Do heated floors use a lot of electricity?
- How much electricity heated floors use depends on the type of radiant floor heating system, the amount of insulation above the heating system, the total square footage being heated, your local utility rates and daily usage habits. The cost to heat a 100-square-foot master bathroom eight hours per day using radiant floor heating will likely cost you less than $1 per day at current electricity prices. Over the long term, using heated floors costs less than using heated air.
- Can you install radiant heat under existing wood floors?
- Yes, radiant heating can be installed under existing wood floors in certain cases. Laminated wood flooring is preferable over solid wood, which has a higher possibility of cracking and shrinking. Speak with an installer to find out if retrofitting your existing wood floors with radiant heat is possible.
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Information in this guide is general in nature and is intended for informational purposes only; it is not legal, health, investment or tax advice. ConsumerAffairs.com makes no representation as to the accuracy of the information provided and assumes no liability for any damages or loss arising from its use.