What’s worse than getting out of a nice, cozy bed on a chilly morning? Stepping onto your freezing bathroom floor on the way to the shower. Brrr. Heated bathroom floors can eliminate one pesky problem — and help you rise and shine a bit more easily! While certainly luxurious, are they worth the investment? What should you know before installing heated bathroom floors?
Typically, a special membrane is laid down over the sub-floor and electric heating cables are run across this membrane, and tile is laid over the top. At ACo, we frequently use the Schluter DITRA-HEATTM system. Their uncoupling membrane is specifically designed so you can customize the layout of the DITRA-HEAT-E-HK cables. This allows you to have radiant floor heating exactly where you want it. Adding the Schluter touchscreen programmable thermostat lets you control not just the temperature, but also set a schedule and track your floor’s power consumption.
Cost, of course, depends on many factors such as your area and the specific manufacturer/installation service you use. It can depend on the specific products you choose, and for larger areas, the cost per square foot can sometimes be more economical than for smaller spaces.
However, say you have a 50 square foot full bathroom: you don’t want to install radiant heating materials around your baseboards or permanent fixtures (e.g. your tub/shower, toilet), so you’ll only be covering about 35 square feet. This helps keep costs down.
Installation is easiest, and least expensive, when you are building or remodeling. To install heating in existing bathroom floors, you must first remove that surface. Demolition adds to your total cost.
Thankfully, the cost for heated bathroom floors has decreased significantly over the past several years, making it an affordable option.
Initial expenses are one thing: what about ongoing costs and energy efficiency? According to the US Department of Energy, heated flooring is more efficient (25% – 35%) than forced-air and ductwork systems. You don’t suffer the loss through ducts that can drain heat from your home — and money from your wallet.
Radiator systems need to be heated to between 149 – 167 degrees so they can effectively warm a room. A heated floor only needs to be about 84 degrees. It requires less energy and can help you keep your energy bills in line.
If you heat your bathroom floor for about four hours each day (you probably need much less, but we’ll over-estimate!) and pay the national average $0.12/kilowatt hour for electricity, your cost is about $0.11 a day. You’ll tack on $3.30 to your monthly utility bill and $40.15 over the course of the year. Not bad for toasty feet!
Also, if your floor’s thermal mass (the ability of a material to absorb and store heat energy) is significant, it will store heat for eight to ten hours without using any more electricity. You can enjoy this “passive” heat, which can help warm up other areas of your home as well. This means that your primary heating system doesn’t have to work as hard.
Radiant heated floors should last a lifetime and require little to no maintenance. When installed by a professional as an entire system, your installation may be eligible for lifetime warranty coverage. Schluter, for example provides system warranties, lifetime warranties, and product warranties.
They’re comfortable and cost-effective, but heated floors offer other benefits. If you or anyone in your household suffers from allergies, for instance, they can help you breathe easier. Unlike HVAC systems, which warm and circulate allergens and particles through the air, radiant flooring heats the surface, not the air, and transfers it to you.
Again, because heated floors do not heat the air directly, they can help you maintain a proper level of humidity. This reduces allergy flare ups and ensures your house is much more comfortable for everyone.
Choosing heated floors is one more way you can love where you live. Contact us and ask our team how you can get started!
by Katie Mientka