Radiant Floor Heat Installation: 4 Tips

Taking the time to complete radiant floor heat installation will end those days of waking up to cold floors, especially in the bathroom where you're going to be barefoot part of the time. To get your radiant floor heat instillation underway, keep these 8 tips in mind.

Tip 1: Installation Plan

Start your radiant floor heat project with an installation plan to identify your traffic patterns and, therefore, where to install the heat cables. Remember to avoid any fixtures or air vents including toilets, kitchen islands, cabinets and tub and shower areas. The cables should not run underneath any of these fixtures and should clear them by at least 6 inches. After you have drawn a scale of your floor plan, send a copy to the cable contractor who will determine how much cable you will need and help you decide on the best layout. Also, the cable supplier will help you choose the best type of tile to use with the cables.

Tip 2: Install an Electric System

The workings of a floor heating system are fairly simple. Heat is generated underneath the floor, causing the heat to rise above the floor. The easiest way to accomplish this is to install an electric system. Electric systems are usually installed in bathrooms and kitchens. Before you do this, remember that the tile floor needs to come off, so if you are renovating your home and putting in new tile, this is the perfect time to do so. You will need 15 to 20 amp GFCI circuit for this system. Although you can do most of the work yourself, a professional electrician should be called to put in the electrical unit.

Tip 3: Lay Out the Radiant Heat Mat

Once you have the radiant heat mat, remember to never cut the wires that are in the mesh. The only wires that can be cut are the wires that are on the ends of the mat. These are the wires that are going to be connected to the thermostat. Place the cables closely together, especially in the walking areas, so that more heat is generated in the important areas of the room.

Tip 4: Test the System

After the cables are hooked up, test the wires with an ohms meter. This will help you to see if the cables are functioning properly. Be sure to disconnect the cables before testing them.

Once you have tested the cables, use a circuit check. The circuit check will let you know of any mistakes you have made with the wires. Attach the circuit check to the wires, and if you cut it or bend the wires more than you should have, the circuit checker will sound off an alarm.

Finally, you are now able to put the tile back in place. Remember to check with the cable staff for recommendations.