By: Brian Schutt
It’s early on a cold morning, you climb out of bed, and make your way to the bathroom. As you confidently step onto the tile floor of the bathroom, you barely remember last winter, hopping from rug to rug to avoid the cold tile. No doubt, radiant floor heating systems can make your life more comfortable. And with all the options available today, there is an affordable solution to every application.
The application above, the heated bathroom tile, is a popular choice. Also common are heated kitchen floors, heated basement floors, heated floors for the entire house, and heated sidewalks and driveways for shovel-free snow removal. Each application will have its price, equipment, and fuel choice (electric vs gas).
Sounds good…. so how do I get one and how much do they cost?
Depending on the application, heated floors can be a DIY project, or require the help of trained professionals. If you’re remodeling your bathroom, confidently doing all your own electrical and flooring work, placing electric mats or cables under the floor will be no problem for you. I’ve used Suntouch materials from a local hardware store to do just that. If that’s not you, your general contractor on the project should have a good solution for you. Typically, the flooring contractor will install them before the floor, then the electrician will connect them to your electrical service panel. The cost of these can vary depending on the floor’s size and electrical requirements. We recently did a mid-size bathroom for right at about $2,500.
For larger spaces, the preferred method is hydronic. Hydronic systems use a gas-fired boiler or similar appliance to generate hot water. The hot water is piped under the floor, sidewalk, or driveway to warm the surfaces. These installations require the expertise of a trained professional, usually someone in HVAC with good experience installing hydronic systems. Coordination will need to take place between the HVAC technicians and the flooring, concrete, or asphalt provider to make the installation work right. Again, the size of the space will affect the price. We installed a system in a rather large basement recently for about $16,000. The last snowmelt system I did was a long driveway, turn around, and sidewalk. It was about $40,000, but that included resurfacing the driveway and sidewalk, so if it needs it anyway, or you putting in a new one, you can save that cost.
Radiant floors are an extremely comfortable way to heat your entire house. New systems use renewable geothermal energy to create hot water and cold water. These systems can provide all the heat for your home via a hydronic radiant system, under any type of flooring. They can also create cold water for your air conditioning needs in the summer. Special air handlers are installed with a duct system to deliver cool air to all the rooms in your home. It’s the most comfortable, efficient, reliable, clean, and quiet system on the market. Installation prices vary greatly, but with geothermal systems, you can get a 30% tax credit on the entire system until 2016.
I love working with radiant floor heating systems because I know my customer is going to love having them. If you’d like to find out more about them, feel free to reach out to me and we can start the conversation.
– Brad Odom, Senior Design Technician