Installing Electric Radiant In-floor Heating Systems
Installing radiant in-floor electric heat is a great energy saving DIY project that goes hand-in-hand with installing a new bathroom floor. Although it can be used with any type of flooring, it works most efficiently with ceramic tile or stone because of their heat conductivity properties. With radiant in-floor, heating energy isnt wasted heating the air, which amounts to an energy savings of 15 to 20 percent. In-floor heating produces heat evenly across the whole floor and heats from the feet up and when your feet are warm, the rest of you feel warm too. Because f this you can set the radiant in-floor heating systems thermostat several degrees lower than your other thermostats. In-floor radiant electric heating systems can cost you as little as $0.13 a day to operate.
Before starting, you will want to contact your local building codes and enforcement department. Some city and towns may require you to pull a permit for this project while others may not. If you are required to pull a permit, ask about the required inspection. In most cases, there will be an inspection of the electrical connections before the final flooring is installed. Many areas require radiant in-floor heating to be on a dedicated circuit, so be sure to ask about that when you speak to an enforcement officer. In all cases, the system will have to be GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) protected by installing a GFCI breaker in your circuit breaker panel box. If you feel comfortable with your DIY electrician skills you can do all the wiring yourself. If you arent comfortable with your skills, you will want to hire a professional electrician to do the final hookup.
Most municipalities will allow a homeowner to do almost everything that a licensed electrician does as long as the homeowner is the one that reside in the home and it doesnt incorporate premises that the homeowner rents to others. The homeowner, in most areas will have to pull the same permit as a licensed electrician and meet the same inspection requirements but the homeowner can still do it all him/herself if he/she has the skills.
The average DIYer will already have all the tools that he or she will need to install electric in-floor radiant heating systems. Ordering the material is made simple by the fact that everything that you will need except for the GFCI breaker, Romex cable, and in-wall box for the thermostat comes in one kit.
The first decision that you have to make is whether to buy a free wire kit or a matted wire kit? I strongly recommend the matted wire kits because they are the easiest to install. Simply calculate the area of your bathroom floor and order a kit to cover that area or a slightly larger area.
The second choice you have to make is whether to but a 110-volt or a 220-volt system. For a tiny bathroom, a 110-volt system will work fine and will be easier and less costly to wire but if you intend to do a larger area, a 220-volt system will be more cost effective.
Each manufacturer supplies detailed installation instructions with their kits and you should follow those instructions when doing the actual installation but if you want to get a heads up on whats involved download these PDF manual. For a 110-volt system manual go here
http://www.warmup.com/pdf/USDWM-120V-Installation-Manual.pdf. For a 220-volt manual go here http://www.warmup.com/pdf/USDWM-240V-Installation-Manual.pdf. Im not going to give any instructions on the actual installation here because these two free instruction manuals cover that in detail.