Radiant heating uses a warm surface to transfer heat to individuals and into a space rather than moving heated air. Although the air is warmed, the majority of the heat travels through the air and warms other surfaces, similar to a light shining on a wall. This natural heat transfer is both comfortable and energy efficient. Using electricity directly to heat a radiant "panel" is becoming popular.
1. Floor warming; eliminate those cold bathroom or entry floors, warm up cold tile or chilly wood floors.
2. Space heating; as the primary heating system for a room, house or commercial building.
3. Spot (zone) heating; apply heating to specific areas with individual control.
4. Snow and ice melting
1. Floors; electric elements are embedded or applied to the floor beneath the floor covering.
2. Walls; manufactured finished panels are mounted to the wall in variety of sizes and shapes including towel warmers.
3. Ceilings; electric elements are embedded in the ceiling or manufactured panels are mounted to or hung from the surface of the ceiling.
4. Sidewalks and Driveways; electric elements are embedded in or under concrete or asphalt.
1. Room thermostat; a wall mounted thermostat controls room temperature when the system is used for space heating. Each room can have its own thermostat. The thermostat may have programmable features if desired.
2. Floor sensing thermostat; when only floor warming is desired, a wall thermostat is used to control the floor surface temperature.
3. Unit thermostat; some wall units come with the thermostat mounted right on the panel.
4. Snow and Ice sensors; sensors measure outdoor temperature and the presence of moisture such as snow or ice.
Installation is usually done by an electrician or qualified heating contractor, particularly the final hookup.
Concrete; electric elements are embedded in or below the concrete depending on the application and desired outcome.
Subfloor; electric elements are embedded in a mud bed, poured gypsum underlayment or thinset material. Various electric products require different thicknesses of material ranging from 1/8" to 1/2".
Under floor; electric elements are applied to the underside of the subfloor in the joist space.
Surface mount - manufactured panels are mounted to the wall.
Surface mount; pre-manufactured panels are attached to the surface of the ceiling.
Suspended; panels may be suspended from the ceiling in various ways. They are also made to fit into a t-bar suspended tile ceiling.
Embedded; electric elements are either mounted behind the ceiling gypsum board, sandwiched between gypsum board or may be mounted to the gypsum board and plastered over.
4. Snow Melting;
Electric elements are embedded in or under concrete or asphalt. Sidewalks or driveways can also be grooved to accept the elements and then filled in.
While a building contractor or owner can often set the heating elements or panels in place, a qualified electrician should do the actual electrical hookup.
1. Voltage Requirements;
Low voltage; some systems operate on 24 volts using a transformer to reduce the line voltage.
Line voltage; most systems operate on 120 or 240 volts and require a separate circuit breaker.
Watt Density for Floors; the standard watt density for residential floor heating is 8-12 watts per square foot (27-40 BTUs/sq ft). Consider the power of 10 square feet of heated floor is equal to approximately a single 100-watt light bulb.
Watt Density for Ceilings; ceiling radiant systems typically run warmer surface temperatures than floors and the installed wattage ranges from approximately 15 watts per square foot of panel area for embedded or concealed systems to a range of 50 to 125 watts per square foot for visible, insulated ceiling panels.
Zone Advantage; multiple zone thermostats allow for reducing utility bills by turning down thermostats in unused areas.
Off Peak Rates; systems that use the concrete and ground beneath the building for heat storage can take advantage of lower utility rates on off peak times.
Prices; system costs vary over a wide range depending on the application, location and use. Check with local contractors or the manufacturers for estimates.
1. High Limit Sensors;
Floor systems generally have a temperature limiting control. Floor surface temperatures seldom exceed 90°F and are typically only a few degrees above room temperature.
2. Ground Fault Protection;
Electric systems are designed with UL listed ground fault protection to ensure there is no danger of electric shock.
Products are tested and UL (Underwriters Laboratories), UL-Canada ETL, CSA (Canadian Standards Assoc.) or similar testing laboratory listed.
The following are manufacturers of electric radiant products and a key to indicate what types of products they carry.
(L) line voltage
(lv) low voltage
(C) heating cable
(M) heating mats or mesh
(F) heating film
(SM) surface mount ceiling panels
(SC) suspended ceiling panels
(EC) embedded ceiling elements
(WP) wall panels
(CH) cove heaters
(TS) embedded in thinset
(CGM) embedded in concrete, gypsum or mudbed
(UW) applied to the underside of wood
(FW) under floating laminate wood
(UC) under carpet
(SN) snow melting
RPA MEMBER SUPPLIERS
Calorique (EC, L, CF, FW, CGN,SN)
2380 Cranberry Hwy, West Wareham, MA 02576
Danfoss, Inc. - Electric Floor Heating Div. NA (C, M, TS, CGM, UW, FW, UC, SN)
6711 Mississauga Road, Suite 410, Mississauga, ON, Canada L5N 2W3
DK Heating Systems Inc. (L, C, FW, M, TS, CGM, UC)
587 North Edgewood Ave., Wood Dale, IL 60191
Delta-Therm Corporation (L, C, M, TS, CGM, FW, SN)
P.O. Box 345, Wauconda, IL 60084
Electro Plastics, Inc. (, l, M, WP, TS, CGM, UW, UC)
4406 St. Vincent Ave., St. Louis, MO 63119-3429
314 781-2121 or 877 STEP TEC
Heatizon (L, l, C, M, TS, CGM, UW, UC, SN)
4403 South 500 West, Murray, UT 84123
MP Global Products (L, M, UW)
PO Box 2283, Norfolk, NE 69702
Tyco Thermal Controls (L, M, TS)
307 Constitution Drive, Menlo Park, CA 94025
Watts Radiant Inc. (L, C, M, TS, CGM, SN)
4500 East Progress Place, Springfield, MO 65803