How To Turn On Radiant Floor Heating

Incorporating radiant floor heating into your house is one excellent move, especially if you are someone who wants warmed-up feet every time you walk around your home during winter. We can't stress enough how helpful the heated floor is -but how do you turn it on after it's installed? Good thing we have already thoroughly researched about turning on radiant floor heating.

There are two most used kinds of radiant floor heating; a water system and an electrical system. To switch on a water-heated floor, you should set the heater, electricity, and thermostat accordingly. On the other hand, switching on an electrical-heated floor, you must set the electricity and thermostat correctly.

If you plan to install radiant floor heating in your home, it would be best to know how it works and what type of heating floor suits your home. Doing so will also help you determine if installing one is worth it. Please keep reading for more details.

The floor heating system - How To Turn On Radiant Floor Heating

What Are The Types Of Radiant Floor Heating

As mentioned, the heated floor has two widely used types, and they are the following:

Electric Radiant Floor Heating

Electric floor heating system installation in new house. Worker align cement with roller

This type of heated floor obtains resistance from electricity to create heat with the help of the wires used to install it.

When installing an electrical-heated floor, you should follow the correct pattern, which is a winding pattern. This way, the heat will flow equally and adequately.

Note that there are two ways to install an electric radiant floor heating: to use adhesives or thin-set or no adhesives at all. But if you are to ask, it would be best to go with the latter. That approach will help you cut installation expenses but can still provide a warm floor.

How To Turn On Electric Radiant Floor Heating

Switching on an electric radiant floor heating is pretty straightforward. All you need to do is locate the electric panel to turn the breaker on. After that, set the thermostat to heating and increase the room temperature by three degrees Fahrenheit; four degrees will also do.

All you need to do in this radiant floor heating is to set the electricity and thermostat appropriately.

Hydronic Or Water Radiant Floor Heating

The floor heating system

The main things used for this heated floor are water and a heater or boiler. Hydronic floor heating or hot water heating is what you can call this type of radiant floor heating. The pipes made of plastic are where the heated water travels to disperse heat equally in the entire room floor. 

How To Turn On Water Radiant Floor Heating

To switch on a water radiant floor heating, you should go to the circuit box to switch on the heater and heater pump, then set the thermostat into heating and increase the room's temperature by three degrees Fahrenheit.

The key to setting up this type of radiant floor heating is to switch on and adjust the heater, thermostat, and electricity in a proper configuration. 

The thermostat display should indicate that it produces heat after switching the electricity on in either of the two radiant floor heating types. If you can notice, it displays two temperatures. One represents ambient room temperature, while the other indicates when to turn on the heater.

In addition, there will be a flame signal indicating heat is required. If you turn the temperature up until a click is audible, it will start to heat up. Alternatively, if you lower the temperature setpoint of the thermostat, it will refuse to heat.

Water Vs. Electric Radiant Floor Heating—Which Is Better?

These two radiant floor heaters are excellent to use if you wish your floor to provide warmth every winter or whenever you feel like it. However, they have distinctions in how they work and advantages over each other.

An electric-heated floor is much less expensive compared to a hydronic. And if you wish to install one, you can do it yourself since installing it is pretty straightforward. Additionally, note that you can incorporate it into any flooring you want, and it would be best to install it in a small-sized room.

Another edge of an electric radiant floor heating over hydronic or water is that you won't need to provide it with regular upkeep. It will still give you warmth and comfort even with no maintenance. 

On the other hand, a water radiant floor heating will need to have extra time to heat the floor. And it takes over 30 minutes to provide warmth. Well, that is because it is usually installed under expansive floors.

Although hydronic radiant floor heating is more costly than the former type, it can still reach a few decades if you provide adequate upkeep and use it correctly. The boiler and other necessary equipment contribute to higher initial outlay requirements.

Moreover, this type of heated floor is not best for DIYers. Although you can do DIY if you want to, keep in mind that installing it is a bit complicated, and you have to ensure you get the highest level of safety. So, if you wish to have this, it is highly advisable to hire an expert.

Hydronic and electric radiant floor heating are both excellent in providing floor heat. Choose the best for your home by considering the size of the area. If you are renovating only a room, it would be best to use electric radiant floor heating. Alternatively, a major house renovation or a new house construction will require water radiant floor heating. 

The only primary differentiating factors between the two heated floor types are their outlay, installation procedure, and the heating up time of the floor. 

Can Electric Radiant Floor Heating Pose Danger?

Since it is safe, you don't have to worry too much about electric radiant floor heating. However, you should also be aware that it has little to no chance of short-circuiting or overheating as long as the installation is performed correctly. Additionally, it would be best to check the reliability of the experts before hiring them for the project.

How Important Is A Radiant Floor Heating

underfloor heating in construction of new residential house

We cannot stress further how helpful radiant floor heating is during winter, especially in a region where coldness is superior.

During the winter season, it is inevitable in a home to have areas or room floors that are much colder or don't get enough warmth. Several factors affect a cold floor: the type of flooring, tile material, and unheated crawl space. 

The heat radiant floor heating can provide is just enough to cover almost the entire home. You probably know that using this as your only heat source is insufficient, especially if your house is considerably large. 

To be more familiar with this heating system, note that you can install it in areas such as the kitchen, bathroom, basement, and bedroom. 

How Much Heat Can A Radiant Floor Heating Provide

If your radiant heating system fits appropriately with a floor sensor, most thermostats will allow you to control it based on ambient or floor temperature. Although some heat is lost by conduction when the flooring heats up, the floor temperature will constantly be higher than the surrounding air.

The heat a radiant floor heating can provide can be up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the ideal temperature to set, where you can feel the most comfort, is between 80 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit, especially during the winter.

What Are The Types Of Flooring For A Radiant Floor Heating

Fortunately, since radiant floor heating is versatile, it is compatible with all types of flooring. And we will provide you below some samples of flooring to use with it:


Although you can install this flooring over radiant heat if you want to, it is not the best option. So, if you're looking for only a middle ground, laminate floors are fine.

Due to their slender construction, they efficiently dissipate heat. However, laminate flooring is vulnerable to high temperatures and moisture leakage from hydronic radiant heating.

Furthermore, you should keep laminate in any in-floor heating system below the factory's recommended temperature.

Hardwood Or Engineered Hardwood Flooring

Under floor heating system

If you want hardwood as your flooring to install over a radiant floor, you can proceed with it. However, you should know that the wood could buckle or gape if the temperature fluctuates too rapidly. But if you prefer a wooden floor for your house, it would be best to pick engineered hardwood.

The reason why an engineered hardwood is preferable to regular hardwood is that it is less likely to expand when exposed to humidity and temperature. In other words, it works better than the former.


Another flooring you can use over radiant heating is bamboo. However, before using one, it would be best to ask or check with the manufacturer if the material is compatible with radiant heat systems, especially since there are different types of bamboo flooring. You have to ensure that the material you will be using can resist or endure the pressure of the radiant heat. 

Tile Flooring

If you plan to cover your entire house with ceramic or porcelain tile, you have an excellent decision. Tile is the ideal flooring to incorporate with radiant floor heating. 

One great advantage of this type of flooring is that it is competently stable, making them undamaged even with constant temperature shifts. Plus, it is superior when it comes to heat conduction.

In Conclusion 

As you can notice in the discussion above, turning on radiant floor heating is pretty simple. All you need to do is follow the steps mentioned. Additionally, if you are only planning to install one, ensure that you incorporate the correct radiant floor type. As a key to remember, utilize electric radiant floor heating in small spaces and hydronic in a major renovation or new house construction.

We hope this post answers all your concerns about radiant floor heating. If you still have additional questions, please feel free to reach out in the comments. And if you wish to continue reading, you might want to check these related posts out!

How To Cool A House With Radiant Floor Heating

How Long Does Radiant Floor Heating Last?

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