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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Long Island
    Posts
    1

    Question Radiant floor heat in remodeled bathroom

    We are having our 1957 5' x 10' bathroom gutted and remodeled. Right now we have baseboard heat. I would like to get radiant floor heat since it is a small bath but our contractor is advising against it.

    His options are a ceiling heater (yuck), toe kick heater (noisy), or keep the baseboard (ugly & old fashion). He said the radiant floor heat takes a long time to heat up and you have to keep it on all the time. We live in NY (with the highest electric rates in the country), so I don't want to be getting a big electric bill. Would appreciate everyone's opinion. I see where everyone is putting it in a lot their rooms in their houses, so it must be popular. Thanks for any help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    The Great White North
    Posts
    4,045

    Default Re: Radiant floor heat in remodeled bathroom

    Quote Originally Posted by kolega7 View Post
    We are having our 1957 5' x 10' bathroom gutted and remodeled. Right now we have baseboard heat. I would like to get radiant floor heat since it is a small bath but our contractor is advising against it.

    His options are a ceiling heater (yuck), toe kick heater (noisy), or keep the baseboard (ugly & old fashion). He said the radiant floor heat takes a long time to heat up and you have to keep it on all the time. We live in NY (with the highest electric rates in the country), so I don't want to be getting a big electric bill. Would appreciate everyone's opinion. I see where everyone is putting it in a lot their rooms in their houses, so it must be popular. Thanks for any help!
    The electric in-floor radiant heat will be more efficient than electric baseboard since they will heat a large rading area. However , they are electric , so you will be expecting some increase in your electric bill.
    They are generally used in retro fit applications as a supplement heat source rather than a main heat source. Not to say they can't be used a the main heat source but you will need to ensure a well insulated space ( if any walls / ceiling are exterior ).

    The thing to remember with any type of radiant heat is they have a slow recovery time --- meaning it's takes longer for them to come up to temperature since the system heats the floor first , then objects , and subsequently the air.
    Unless your space is well insulated you may find on those bitter cold winter mornings there is still a bit of chill in the air while you are in the shower.

    Also, there is a temperature sensor located in the floor which is actually the sensor for the thermostat --- unlike a regular air based thermostat -- so the in-floor heat will not necessarily be on all the time but may be on & off frequently.

    To be honest many folks put in the electric in-floor heat systems as a luxury supplement heat -- but it does feel good stepping onto a warm tiled bathroom floor on those cold bitter winter mornings.

    I assume you currently have hot water baseboard heat. Have you considered decorative wall mount heat panels instaed ?
    "" an ounce of perception -- a pound of obscure "
    - Rush

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    175

    Default Re: Radiant floor heat in remodeled bathroom

    To add to what canuk stated, try the site below entitled "a little floor warming please" by noted hydronic engineer John Siegenthaler; I think your heating service person expressed doubt simply because he has little or no experience with these systems.

    Dedicated bathroom radiant floor heating on a separate zone is VERY WIDELY done in the heating industry----we'e talking here about a very small area that would have its own thermostat, which is an ideal application for HW heating systems.

    Try some more heating technicians in your area, & try to find one who is familiar with hydronic heating zone applications; my feeling is that if you already have hydronic heating in place, it's a great opportunity to take advantage of a HW radiant system for the bathroom.

    To access the article, enter "A little floor warming please" in the Search Box at the PM site below; also Google "hydronic radiant floor zones for bathrooms" to access additional sites that discuss bathroom floor heat.

    The downside to a bathroom hydronic radiant install is that 1) it's a lot easier & less expensive if the installer has access to the underside bathroom joists & sub-floor so that the PEX or copper tubing can be easily installed; since you state you have the bathroom floor gutted, this should not be a problem; 2) a 3-way mixing valve ($150) and zone valve/thermostat ($150) usually has to be installed so that the normal 180 degree boiler water can be mixed w/cold water to maintain an approx 100 degree radiant hot water in the underfloor zone---this will prevent excessive hot water temps from cooking the bathroom floor.

    On the other hand, type in "the plain vanilla system" also at the PM site Search Box to view a system that operates at the normal 180 degree HW temperature, & thus saves a lot of $$$ on components that are not needed; this is based on the idea that pink insulation is used to cover the high-temp 180 degree heating pipes so they don't cook the finished flooring.

    In any event, you have to put the new bath heat piping on its own separate zone with its own T-stat, so that you have control of the amount of heat you can send to the bathroom floor; a separate zone is rather easily done by installing a Taco zone valve next to the boiler, & a t-stat in the bathroom; an additional pump/circulator is not needed because the modification uses the pump already on the boiler.

    http://pmmag.com
    Last edited by Dobbs; 03-31-2012 at 07:58 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    203

    Smile Re: Radiant floor heat in remodeled bathroom

    Quote Originally Posted by kolega7 View Post
    He said the radiant floor heat takes a long time to heat up and you have to keep it on all the time.
    Find another electrician. I added radiant floor heat to my house which is the same age and size of bathroom as yours. There is a thermostat that controls it, just like your house heating thermostat. You tell it what temp it should be and you cal turn it on/off anytime that you want. It was relatively easy to install. Ours is not on all that often so no real increase in electric bill. I love it so much I am going to install one in the kitchen next, as well as the master bath upstairs. Use a search engine for "suntouch floor heat" and they have videos and all the info you'll need. First you'll need to find a better contractor. Most people can install it by themselves. You might not even need to run new wiring to the box. The first one I installed I did just to be safe, but the one I'm installing upstairs will not need wiring, it just depends on how big your floor is and they have calculators on the sun touch site for that. Enjoy.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: Radiant floor heat in remodeled bathroom

    We needed to cover our worn out and stained terrazzo floors. We decided to go with radiant floor heating under hardwood and tile. Maybe your contractor isn't experienced with floor heating. I found some handy facts and good info on how to calculate sizing on a job like that here: http://www.heattechproducts.com/sizing

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