Our 338 feet of electric radiant heating wire arrived today. We’re using this system to warm the large concrete slab which our addition will sit on and since we’re planning to keep the concrete exposed (no carpet or flooring, just polished concrete) we’ll need a way to neutralize the sense of living on an ice block in the winter. This system will be directly in the slab.
So why go with electric radiant flooring vs. hydronic vs. the standard forced air system? Well, we still have our forced air furnace to heat the air around us, but without the floor being heated we would need to run the furnace at a much higher temperature to compensate for a cold floor.
We went with electric because hydronic requires a pretty comprehensive (read:expensive) installation and since we are only looking to heat the slab and we’re in a pretty moderate climate, we chose the cheaper electric radiant.
Had this radiant system been a primary heat source or if we lived further north, then hydronic would be preferable do to it’s great operating efficiency and ability to keep the floor warmer for longer.
Electric radiant systems aren’t very efficient. Ours, when operating at 100% requires 1.75 kilowatts of electricity; that’s a ton!! However, your electric furnace would require between 10-20 kilowatts. So w/ these numbers you should heat your home w/ this radiant floor, but that can’t work because the heat is really only felt while standing on the slab, so you must use your furnace as well. The idea is that the radiant system is used just enough to warm the concrete slab (running at maybe 75% output), then your furnace can keep your house at a lower air temperature (guessing maybe 65 degrees).
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To sum it up: this system will keep your feet warm and thus allow you to lower the overall temp of your house.
About the radiant cabling system:
I ordered the system from warmzone.com out of Utah, but it was sent from PA, and when I received it, I can see it was manufactured in Norway. Thought that was interesting.
The brand of the cable is Nexans and comes from this Norwegian cable manufacturer. www.nexans.no
The device is well packaged and comes w/ a thermostat. Instructions in 5 languages are also included.
Stay tuned for how this turns out.