Toasty toes: Radiant Floor Heating Warms Tiles from Below
Northern Virginia Daily
by Sally Voth, Daily Staff Writer
28 September, 2007
There’s nothing like a hot bubble bath on a frigid winter’s night. And, nothing snaps you back to reality faster than stepping out of the tub and onto a cold tile floor. These days, fewer people are experiencing the discomfort of cold feet. That’s thanks to floors being warmed with radiant heat.
A room at the Old Waterstreet Inn, at 217 W. Boscawen St. in Winchester, with heated tile floors in the bathroom, is especially popular in winter, innkeeper Jeannie Faith said.
“In Norway, they would never put a tile floor down without radiant heat,” she said.
“All the power that goes in, goes back to the transformer and makes it pretty much a loop.”
About 12 to 15 volts are put out per square foot. Putting in radiant heat is popular in remodeling jobs, Bench said. The company also uses it for de-icing and snow melting in roofs and driveways. The Tuff Cable goes in driveways and ZMesh under asphalt roof shingles.
“We have systems for small bathrooms 110 square feet and less,” Bench said. “We also have systems for as big as you want to go. Some people put it in their entire house for their primary heat source. Some people supplement their heat source with it. A lot of it’s new construction as well. It’s starting to get really popular.
“It’s economical to run, depending on what your kilowatt hour rate is. [It] usually cuts down on utilities, especially if it’s supplementing the heat source.”
The larger the area of the house being heated with radiant heat, the cheaper the square-foot price, he said. For instance, a 110 square-foot bathroom might cost $10 to $12 per square-foot, compared to $8 per square-foot for larger areas.
A different style of radiant floor heat, hydronic radiant heat, is used by Whittington Construction Co. in Front Royal. Water is used either from the home’s hot water heater or a separate boiler system, Steve Whittington said. It runs through tubing in the flooring.
This latest home has piping that’s already integrated into the subfloor when the panels are bought. It is known as warmboard, Whittington said.
There are several benefits to radiant floor heat, he said.
“When you get up in the morning, if you have hardwood floors, or if they’re [a] noncarpet surface, these are really more comfortable, and really, it’s more even heat,” Whittington said. “Radiant heat heats up the whole mass, and it radiates from that point to heat the entire mass up. With forced-air heating, you have hot spots and cold spots.”
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