If you’re embarking on a bathroom remodeling project in your Boston home, consider adding radiant heated flooring for additional comfort. Electric radiant heat is growing in popularity since it can take the chill off a cold bathroom floor in the morning and may save on energy costs.
How it Works: Radiant heat is an in-the-floor heating system that consists of one thin continuous cable heating element woven into a mat. The mat is installed under most flooring materials, including wood, tile, and stone. You cannot retrofit under-floor heat into existing floors, so it’s a good project to incorporate it as part of a whole bathroom renovation.
Installation: Home stores sell mats laced with heating cable in several standard sizes. A handy do-it-yourselfer can install them, although you may want an electrician to hook up the wiring. If you work with a professional Boston remodeling contractor, they can design the cable around any floor plan and can embed the mat in the mortar before laying tile. An electric floor system for a small or medium size bathroom usually uses about one to four amps.
Cost: Although heat under the floor sounds expensive and luxurious, it’s actually inexpensive to operate. The mats average 12 watts per square foot. A 30-square-foot mat would use roughly the same amount of power as an electric blanket. The bathroom floor will retain heat long after the heating element is switched off, so this kind of heat requires relatively little electricity. Heated floors can also get a room warmer than forced air. Depending on the size and features, a mat could cost only a few hundred dollars. Larger and customized systems run higher. The system may cost more initially, but it will save you on your Boston utility bill in the long run.
Convenience: Radiant heat can also be a space saver, replacing an intrusive radiator with a system that occupies no square footage. Many models also come with programmable thermostats. You can program the device to start heating before you wake up in the morning. Some models will even let you set your optimum temperature.