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Best Radiant Floor Heating

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Underfloor heating warms up your floors and makes your whole house warmer. It can also reduce your energy consumption. Use our guide to research the best radiant floor heating company for you. You have many options when installing underfloor radiant heating. Keep reading to learn about different types of underfloor systems and the companies that sell them.

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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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    Author reviews about radiant floor heating

    Janes Radiant

    Janes Radiant sells underfloor heating systems to contractors and consumers. The company has electric and hydronic heating systems. It has been in the radiant heating business since 1986 and has sold directly to consumers for DIY installation since 2010.

    • Heating options: Janes Radiant sells electric and hydronic in-floor heating systems. The website has detailed descriptions and downloadable brochures for each system.
    • Free tech support: Janes Radiant supports you during the installation process. Each system comes with easy to understand manuals, and they offer free technical support if you run into any problems during the installation process.
    • Gallery: The website has pictures of the installation process in multiple types of structures. These pictures can give you a good idea of what the process will entail if you choose to install radiant heating in your building.
    • Request quote: You can request a quote by visiting Janes Radiant’s website. Enter your phone number and email, and a customer service representative will contact you with an estimate.
    • Informational website: The Janes Radiant website is very informational. If you’re just starting to research underfloor heating, the information on the site will give you a better understanding of its benefits and how it works.

    ThermoSoft sells electric in-floor heating systems for use under most types of floors. Although it sells to contractors, Thermosoft also offers direct-to-consumer pricing to save DIYers money. The company started in 1996 and is based in Vernon Hills, Illinois. Thermosoft products are available online.

    • Systems by floor type: The company’s website lists their heating systems according to the type of floor they should go under (carpet, ceramic, etc.). This makes it easy to figure out which systems will work with your floor covering.
    • Owner’s manuals: The company’s website has downloadable owner’s manuals for all its products. These can be useful for learning more about a particular system before you purchase it and help you decide if you’re comfortable installing the system yourself.
    • Contractor program: ThermoSoft has a program specifically for contractors. If you’re a contractor, sign up to get client referrals, discounts on large orders, promotional materials and more. Visit the website for more details.
    • Free shipping: All orders over $99 ship to the contiguous United States for free. The company offers discounted shipping rates to Alaska, Hawaii and Canada.
    • American manufacturing: ThermoSoft makes all its systems at its manufacturing facility in Illinois.
    Warmly Yours

    WarmlyYours sells a variety of radiant heating products, including underfloor heating, and has been in business since 1998. The company offers electric heating systems to go under all types of floors as well as outside surfaces. It’s based in Lake Zurich, Illinois and has offices around the world. You can find products online and from distributors.

    • Instant quote: The WarmlyYours website has an instant quote tool. Enter the square footage of your room, and the site shows you an estimate of how much the materials will cost.
    • Availability: WarmlyYours sells products directly to consumers online. The company also sells through dealers across the United States. You can choose whether you’re more comfortable buying directly from the company or from a local business.
    • Warranty: Each WarmlyYours underfloor heating system comes with a 10- to 25-year warranty, depending on the product you choose. Visit the website to see the full terms and conditions for each product’s warranty.
    • Installation support: When you contact the company for a detailed quote, a customer service representative will send you an installation guide for your project. The company also offers free, 24/7 support to help with any installation problems.
    • Discounts: Visit the Sales and Promotions section of the website to see if you’d be eligible for any discounts. It has regular sales and seasonal promotions. Members of the military and veterans get a 15 percent discount.

    Warmboard offers hydronic underfloor heating systems. It has roots going back to the mid-1990s and became an independent company in 2002. The founder hoped to create a better heating system than the forced-air central heating units in the majority of homes.

    • Warmboard-S: WarmBoard-S is used for new construction. The panels for this product are thick enough to be used as the subflooring for the structure. This feature means you won’t need to spend money on both a subfloor and a radiant heating system.
    • Warmboard-R: Warmboard-R can be installed in existing structures. It’s thin enough to be installed on top of your existing subfloor and is compatible with most types of flooring.
    • Modular design: Warmboard flooring fits together in a modular pattern. As you install the pieces, you automatically create the layout for the heating tubes. This design makes installation easier.
    • Environmentally friendly: WarmBoard uses environmentally-friendly practices in its manufacturing. For example, the company follows the Oregon Forest Practices Act when harvesting wood for WarmBoard-S.
    • Aluminum coating: Both Warmboard-S and Warmboard-R panels have an aluminum coating that makes them highly conductive. This feature helps transfer heat to the whole floor, making the panels more energy efficient than some other underfloor heating systems.

    SunTouch sells indoor and outdoor radiant heating systems, including electric underfloor heating systems, through retail partners across the United States. SunTouch is a subsidiary of Watts Water Technology, and its U.S. headquarters are in Springfield, Missouri.

    • Product recommendations: The SunTouch website can offer immediate recommendations on which product will be best for your project and space. Simply visit the website and answer a few basic questions about your space and preferences to see which product will be best and how much it costs.
    • Comparison chart: SunTouch’s website has a comparison chart that makes it easy to see the differences between its products.
    • Installation support: The SunTouch website includes owner’s manuals and installation guides for all its products. The site also has a thorough FAQ section, and you can contact customer service representatives by phone for installation questions.
    • Warranties: All SunTouch products come with a warranty. These are transferable if you sell your home. The length of coverage varies by product. Visit the website to see the warranty details for individual products.
    • SunStat Connect: SunTouch’s SunStat Connect thermostat is Wi-Fi enabled. You can control the system with your phone using an app that is available for iPhone and Android devices. It has a three-year warranty.

    Radiatec manufactures and sells hydronic underfloor heating systems. The company prides itself on helping consumers understand and afford radiant heating, so it sells directly to consumers online. Radiantec has been in business since 1979 and is based in Lyndonville, Vermont.

    • Pre-assembled packages: Radiatec offers pre-assembled pieces, called Installation Packages, to make it easier to install a complete radiant heating system yourself.
    • Installation assistance: Radiantec helps DIYers by giving all customers installation instructions, brochures and other necessary information. Technicians also offer help over the phone during normal business hours.
    • Water heaters: Radiatec recommends that you use a regular water heater, the same one that provides hot water to your home, instead of a boiler to heat the water for your underfloor system. You can save a significant amount of money by using their design with a water heater.
    • Solar power: Radiatec also sells solar heating systems. You can use these to power your radiant underfloor heating. This option is energy efficient, and you may qualify for tax credits by installing solar energy.
    • Pricing: Radiatec gives interested customers free estimates. If you’re not ready to talk to someone for a quote yet, use the information on its website to get a rough estimate of how much an underfloor system will cost. All the company’s prices are listed online.

    Nuheat sells electric underfloor heating system through dealers throughout the United States. These systems can be installed under laminate and engineered wood floors as well as stone and tile. Nuheat was acquired by Pentair Thermal Management in 2015. Pentair has been in business since 1960 and is headquartered in Houston.

    • Wi-Fi Thermostat: Nuheat’s Signature thermostat connects to your Wi-Fi, so you can control your radiant heating system when you’re not home. It can also connect to a Nest thermostat to work as part of your smart home.
    • Warranty: All the materials that go under your floor come with a 25-year warranty and all the company’s thermostats have a three-year warranty. Visit the company’s website to see a full list of warranty terms and conditions.
    • Operating cost calculator: If you’re worried about how much it will cost to run an in-floor heating system, visit the Nuheat website. It features a calculator to help you estimate the daily cost. Just enter the number of square feet your system will cover, the price of electricity in your area and the number of hours you’ll use the system each day.
    • Installation help: Nuheat’s website has installation videos and guides, as well as owner’s manuals for all its products. These resources can help you decide if you’re comfortable installing a radiant heating system on your own.
    • Installers: If you decide you’d rather have a professional install your in-floor heating system, you can find a recommended installer on the Nuheat website.

    Warmup Inc. manufactures a variety of radiant heating products, including electric underfloor heating systems, and sells them through retail partners around the world. The company’s in-floor heating products can be installed under most types of flooring. Warmup Inc. is the North American division of Warmup PLC, which is headquartered in London.

    • Product finder: The Warmup website has a tool to select the best heating system for you automatically. Simply enter the type of room where you want to install radiant heating, the type of subfloor in that room and the type of flooring you plan to install over it.
    • Warmupedia: Warmup dedicates a section of its site to teaching you about underfloor heating installation. This section, called Warmupedia, includes videos, installation guides, troubleshooting tips and more.
    • 4iE Thermostat: Warmup’s 4iE Thermostat connects to your Wi-Fi so you can control the underfloor heating temperature when you’re away from home. You can program the system to turn off automatically if your phone leaves your house. The thermostat also controls the maximum temperature to prevent damage to your flooring.
    • Warranty: All Warmup products come with a warranty that guarantees the product will be free from manufacturing and materials defects. See the product pages on the company’s website for detail about the length of each product’s warranty coverage.
    • Blog: The Warmup blog includes a wide variety of informative articles to help you learn about underfloor heating. Visit the blog to learn about installation, costs, energy efficiency and more.
    Orbit Radiant Heating

    Orbit Radiant Heating sells electric radiant heating systems for indoor and outdoor spaces. It offers underfloor heating systems from Nexans and Tech Series. It’s based in Perkasie, Pennsylvania and sells products online and through distributors.

    • Pricing: Orbit Radiant Heating sells products online. This means you can go to the website and see what all the components for a system would cost.
    • Installation help: You can find installation instructions for all the radiant heating products the company sells on its website. Use these manuals to decide whether you’re comfortable installing a system on your own.
    • Request quote: Visit the company’s website to request someone contact you with a quote. You enter the square foot area of the space where you’ll be installing radiant heating and other basic information, and a customer service representative will contact you with an estimate.
    • Fast shipping: Orbit Radiant Heating keeps a large inventory so it can ship orders quickly. Standard orders can ship the same day, and custom orders can ship within two days.
    • Distributor program: Orbit Radiant Heating sells products online and through distributors. Retailers in its distributor’s program receive a 15 percent discount. The discount may enable them to offer products to local customers at a lower price.

    Infloor Heating Systems sells electric and hydronic underfloor heating systems as well as radiant heating products for outdoor spaces. The company has been in business since 1989 and is headquartered in Buena Vista, Colorado. Infloor products are sold by distributors across the country.

    • Options: Infloor offers several options for underfloor heating, especially if you’re looking for hydronic systems. It sells systems that you can install over several different types of subfloors and under many different floor coverings.
    • Solar heating: Infloor sells solar power options to heat the water for hydronic systems. The company has two options, one for customers whose homes get a lot of sunlight and one for those living in colder, less sunny climates.
    • Project Showcase: Visit the Project Showcase section of Infloor’s website to see homes where the company’s systems have been installed. The pictures in this section can give you a good idea of how these systems would work in your space, including how boilers and solar panels might look.
    • Warranties: Infloor’s tubing for hydronic systems comes with a 25-year warranty, and the wire for electric systems has a 30-year warranty. Contact the company for additional information about the protection these warranties provide.
    • Installation guides: You can download installation guides and specification sheets for all Infloor’s products on their website. These guides, along with the available informational brochures, can help you determine whether you are comfortable installing a particular system.

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