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Old 11-16-2008, 11:24 AM   #1
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Electric Radiant heat on Concrete


I am looking for a way to heat our new bathroom in the basement. Electric Radiant under the tile sure sounds appealing but I am afraid that the concrete will act as a heat sink instead of a thermal mass. I only have a flooring area of about 3'x5' that I would want to have heated. Or would a person be better off using a radiant wall unit?

Thanks in advance.

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Old 11-18-2008, 07:00 PM   #2
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Electric Radiant heat on Concrete


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Originally Posted by hayduke.klr07 View Post
I am looking for a way to heat our new bathroom in the basement. Electric Radiant under the tile sure sounds appealing but I am afraid that the concrete will act as a heat sink instead of a thermal mass. I only have a flooring area of about 3'x5' that I would want to have heated. Or would a person be better off using a radiant wall unit?

Thanks in advance.
I'm wanting to do the same a you... the heated floor mat companies I've looked at recommend 1/4" cork between the concrete floor and the heat mat.

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Old 11-18-2008, 08:31 PM   #3
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Electric Radiant heat on Concrete


I looked at something similar before I tiled my basement floor. I ended up going with a basic 500w baseboard heater with a wall stat.

The tile never seems that cold, but it's all a matter of personal preference.
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Old 11-18-2008, 10:41 PM   #4
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Electric Radiant heat on Concrete


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I looked at something similar before I tiled my basement floor. I ended up going with a basic 500w baseboard heater with a wall stat.

The tile never seems that cold, but it's all a matter of personal preference.
Interesting... what were your reasons for going with the wall unit instead of the floor mat. The 4'x6' heat mat I looked at draws 280 watts - I assume that's at full throttle. Since the basement bath wouldn't be used much I'd like to be able to come in, turn on the heat, and have it putting out a decent amount of heat by the time a person got out of the shower.

I'm betting the wall unit will put out heat much faster than the mat.
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Old 11-18-2008, 11:24 PM   #5
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Electric Radiant heat on Concrete


I've done electric heat on slabs before, it worked perfectly.
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Old 11-19-2008, 01:01 AM   #6
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Electric Radiant heat on Concrete


In my previous house (about 7 years ago) I did a 3x5 mesh mat on top of a concrete floor in a basement bathroom. I then added some thinset that you pour in and it levels off the floor which also covered up most of the mesh mat. Then I tiled right over that with thinset mortor and 1/4 inch tile. The mat was hooked into a thermostat on the wall which had a temp sensor that I placed on the floor under the tile. The wall stat was programmable so I could program it to turn on right before I used the bathroom in the morning and turn off after I was done. The floor heated up nicely in a 5 to 10 minutes. It was a nice bonus to be able to say I had a heated tile floor in the house when I sold last year. I used a product called http://www.warmlyyours.com/
I'm sure there are several companies to choose from nowdays.

Good Luck!
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Old 11-19-2008, 11:36 AM   #7
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Electric Radiant heat on Concrete


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Originally Posted by hayduke.klr07 View Post
I am looking for a way to heat our new bathroom in the basement. Electric Radiant under the tile sure sounds appealing but I am afraid that the concrete will act as a heat sink instead of a thermal mass. I only have a flooring area of about 3'x5' that I would want to have heated. Or would a person be better off using a radiant wall unit?

Thanks in advance.
I recently had a NuHeat mat installed in my kitchen. One thing you should consider is that NuHeat (and others, I'll bet) say that the electric mat should not be the main source of heat in the room.
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Old 11-19-2008, 12:39 PM   #8
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Electric Radiant heat on Concrete


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I recently had a NuHeat mat installed in my kitchen. One thing you should consider is that NuHeat (and others, I'll bet) say that the electric mat should not be the main source of heat in the room.
I remember looking at NuHeat too, all those years ago. What Lew says is correct it is not recommended as being the only heat source for the room. In my situation the 5x12 bathroom was in the center of the house (no outside walls) and I did not have any vents coming in. As it turned out because of the small size of the room and its location I didn't need another heat source.
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Old 11-20-2008, 09:37 AM   #9
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Electric Radiant heat on Concrete


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I've done electric heat on slabs before, it worked perfectly.

Did you put cork or other insulator between the concrete and the mat? Are you in the north or south? Im in the Chiago area and winters that get to zero degrees, or lower, are the norm.
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Old 11-20-2008, 10:10 AM   #10
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Electric Radiant heat on Concrete


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Did you put cork or other insulator between the concrete and the mat? Are you in the north or south? Im in the Chiago area and winters that get to zero degrees, or lower, are the norm.
No Cork, I'm in MN and it worked fine.
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Old 11-24-2008, 08:31 PM   #11
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Electric Radiant heat on Concrete


dg speaks the truth. If you wish to use an electric radiant heating system as primary, you most certainly can use use it as a main source if you complete a heat loss calculation first. In simple terms, if the space is losing much less heat then you are generating, it's primary.

The heat loss calc will also tell you if you need the insulator below the heat to be sure it will function as primary. However, if all you want is a floor warming system, they all, low voltage or line voltage mats will work fine as long as there's no water in contact with the slab from below.

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