Heated Bathroom Flooring Systems

Heated Bathroom Flooring Systems

Heated Bathroom Floors

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The installation of a below surface heated flooring system can be a great way to increase the comfort and function of your bathroom. Available for a number of materials, different types of flooring will have varying levels of effectiveness at transmitting the generated warmth to the rest of the space. However when installed properly, these thermal systems have the potential to eliminate cold toes, while also heating the room in a more energy efficient manner.

Electrical Heated Flooring

This is the most common type of thermal flooring system, involving the use of non corrosive transmitters such as coils or wires which are heated directly. These are most often installed directly beneath the bathroom floor, and are tied into the building’s main electrical panel with a thermostat used to monitor and control temperature.

The advantage of electric based thermal systems is that they are relatively inexpensive and simple when compared to other options. They can also be set to activate or rest according to specific times in order to increase energy efficiency. However they only have the ability to add heat to the environment, and lack any cooling capabilities. There is also some concern about the heavy electromagnetic fields that these products can generate.

Hydronic Heated Flooring

In this system hollow pipes are installed beneath a flooring installation. A solution of water mixed with antifreeze is then pumped through the tubes in a closed loop that is connected to the building’s boiler. By heating or cooling this liquid it is then possible to effect a change in the above surface and room temperature.

Hydronic systems are dynamic solutions that can take advantage of the plumbing already located in a bathroom. By allowing you to heat and cool your surfaces they give you functional options for both Summer and Winter. The drawback is that they can be complicated and expensive to install, requiring the labor of skilled tradespeople.

Heated Bathroom Flooring Concerns

The bathroom is a moist, humid environment, which means that you have to be very careful when dealing with any electrical system that is installed in this space. With radiant below surface heating, all wiring and tubes should be completely waterproof, and insulated. That is most often done by coating components in an impervious polyurethane layer. In addition all wires need to be grounded from end to end.

More Bathroom Flooring Information

Electromagnetic Fields

With electric heated bathroom floors you may have a potential problem with the emission of heavy Electromagnetic Fields (EMF’s). All electrical appliances generate these to some extent, but sitting on a single wire, electric heated bathroom floor can expose you to 20-40 times more than the average 1mG you get from regular appliances. That level of radiation can have distressing medical consequences.

Note: The REET Radiant Electric Emissions Test is used to determine the strength of the EMF being generated by an element at any given time.

While it is not possible to cost effectively block EMF emissions that are generated by radiant below surface heating systems, there is a process called Active Shielding that lets you cancel them out. This is done by installing an extra wire into the structure, running parallel to the original, and positioned in such a way that the waves emitted by the second wire oppose and eliminate those given off by the first. This can significantly reduce exposure to Electromagnetic Fields.

Heated Flooring Energy Efficiency

Radiant below surface heated bathroom flooring can help improve the energy efficiency of your home in a few different ways. When your feet touch the ground they feel the warmth directly through conduction, which helps to warm your body. The heat also rises up through the air via convection, keeping the entire space comfortable. Finally, the existence of a heated floor can help to prevent the up to 50% of body heat loss that is experienced when interacting with most surfaces.


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