Are you tired of getting cold feet and looking for a better way to heat your home? You're replacing your floors and found a bit more wiggle room in the budget. The idea of your bare feet meeting cold tile or wood in the morning isn't so appealing, and you're considering the idea of installing heated floors. There is a lot of information to examine when entertaining the idea of heated flooring, also known as radiant floor heating. Considering the floor in a kitchen or bathroom might be exposed to moisture, your common sense tells you there might be some danger involved. We've researched for you and gotten an answer, as well as some helpful facts to inform your decision.
Heated floors are not dangerous if the proper precautions are taken. In fact, heated flooring advancements have made leaps and bounds in recent years, and keeping the flooring warm underfoot is quite the luxury. The risk of electric shock is virtually non-existent. Keep some information in mind when shopping for flooring and hiring a contractor to install radiant heat flooring.
- Ensure the equipment used has undergone the necessary R&D.
- Proper installation is a must.
- If you're worried about EMF emission, make sure the company from whom you are purchasing your flooring has the REET stamp of approval.
Not sure what some of these terms imply and want to learn more about heated floors? Continue reading as each point is expanded upon and educates about radiant floor heating.
Ensure the Equipment Used Has Undergone the Necessary R&D
Radiant floor heating is created by running cables or tubes under your flooring, heated by electricity or hydronics. Manufacturers producing the equipment naturally go above and beyond in R&D (research and development) to ensure their products are safe for you, the consumer. Although they all strive for excellence, before purchasing, be sure the manufacturer has tested all equipment with up to 5000 volts of electricity. The cables used to transmit heat are surrounded by a sheath, which will redirect any leakage away from the floor, eliminating the risk of electric shock in the event a leak should occur. Additionally, since the cables are buried under your floor, any spills that happen atop it will not create a risk.
Proper Installation Is A Must
Especially when creating a hydronic system for heated flooring, proper installation is a must. Ensure the contractor you're using is insured and offers some warranty on their work. In the case of hydronic radiant floor heating, leaks are the primary symptom when not installed correctly. Although the failsafe mentioned in the last section will keep potential electrocution at bay, the danger here lies in what it could do to your wallet. Leaks left unchecked can be catastrophic. Improper installation could also lead to air in the tubing, creating noise and corrosion over time.
Worried About EMF Transmission?
Any electronic using alternating current produces an electromagnetic field (EMF). Over the last several years, more and more research has gone into how EMF can affect our bodies. Some have suggested prolonged exposure can lead to certain types of cancer. You've heard to not stand in front of your microwave for too long, so does heated flooring pose risk? The results are mixed.
With so many factors involved, there have been no definitive conclusions on whether or not EMF affects your health. However, if you prefer a low-risk factor, ensure you purchase equipment that has undergone the Radiant Electric Emissions Test (REET). Many companies will boast they have low emissions of EMF, but only those with the REET approval have undergone testing by a third party.
Are Heated Floors Bad For You?
Heated floors aren't any more "bad" for you than any other electric appliance. In the past, there have been worries about overheating, but most manufacturers have a maximum temperature setting of about 40 degrees celsius (just over 100 degrees Fahrenheit) or lower. This measurement is only slightly over the normal body temperature.
Radiant floor heating is better for people with allergies! Traditional heating systems warm the air by moving it, causing dust particles and allergens to circulate throughout your home. Because heating the floor warms our bodies instead of the surrounding area, home air quality can improve significantly. With less humidity in the air, the chances or mold and mildew are lowered, which are other sources of illness in the home.
Are Heated Floors Worth It?
Heated flooring, especially if you would like all the floors in your home to be heated, can be pricey. Hydronics are the most expensive, and also the best at heating the whole house and the least expensive to run once installed. Although installation costs are high, expect your energy bills to drop. It takes a lot more power to run a traditional HVAC system, and regular heating can leave cold spots and inconsistent room temperature. With heated floors, expect a much more even temperature everywhere the heating is installed.
What it boils down to is whether or not you have the funds to get the installation done correctly. If you have the budget, especially if you have allergies, heated floors are absolutely worth it.
Should Underfloor Heating Be Left On All The Time?
If your intention to heat your entire home with heated flooring, you should leave the heating on all the time during the colder months. Leaving it on increases the efficiency of radiant heat flooring. Constantly switching it on and off creates longer warm-up times, effectively increasing your energy bill. Leaving the floors at a consistent temperature maintains the air quality and comfort of your home.
What Could Go Wrong With Underfloor Heating?
The main thing that could go wrong with heated flooring is a fault in the wiring or a leak from the tubing if using hydronics. A small leak gone unchecked could cause substantial damage under the floors of your home. You might worry about the underfloor tubing in a hydronic system freezing or bursting during the winter; however, the system is set up so that the piping cannot go below a specific temperature.
A fault in the wiring would cause a section of your floor to have to be lifted for repair, which could be costly and frustrating. Additionally, the heating sensor or thermostat could malfunction, which is a much simpler fix than issues with the cables or tubing themselves. Proper maintenance and testing can prevent many of the most common problems.
How Often Should Underfloor Heating Be Serviced?
Radiant floor heating is designed to go for many years without needing to be serviced. Although it is easy to forget about maintenance on your heated flooring, it is essential to perform a few routine checks yourself. It's recommended to run your heated flooring for at least half an hour each month, even during the summer. Monthly test-runs prevent surprises when you need the heat during colder months. Keeping a consistent running schedule for the system also ensures no stuck valves or pumps. If no problems arise, it is safe to call in a professional every few years to have the pressure checked to ensure even heating throughout your home and guarantee all the other moving parts are operating correctly.
Overall, heated floors are not dangerous. The benefits of radiant floor heating far outweigh any risks involved, especially with those risks being on par with any traditional HVAC system. Treat yourself to better air quality and warm toes this winter!