How well do heated floors work?
An update on mine.

This whole kitchen renovation crap started almost a year ago when I decided to install a new floor in my kitchen. Just a floor. Nothing else. I was going to rip up my old ceramic floor and lay down some professional grade vinyl tile. 2 week job. Tops.

Then heated floors occurred to me. My house is a succession of add-ons starting with the original 1840 house, then the 1910 addition, then the 1940s addition, and finally the 1990s addition. Anything built past 1840 is crap.

The kitchen appears to have been built without any insulating properties at all. So while the older front of the house is always a comfortable temperature in the winter the kitchen is always 15 degrees below comfortable.

Over the years I’ve insulated the ceiling and some of the walls but nothing could be done about the floor. There’s no basement underneath the room and I had ceramic tiles.

NOW was my chance to do something about it.

I could install heated floors. HEATED FLOORS!

And  I did.  I chose Warmly Yours.  So began the continually escalating kitchen renovation.

The thing that made my heated floors so anti-climactic was the fact that I finished installing them in May, the exact time around here that things start to warm up.

So after installing them and posting about them, I could never really talk about how well they worked.

Enter the winter of the Polar Vortex. There couldn’t have been a more wintery winter to test these floors out.

The thing I like most about these heated floors is the fact that you can program them like you would your furnace. So they can be warm and toasty throughout the day and less warm while you’re in bed. In my case I have the kitchen floors go off at night, but keep the bathroom on because … well … everyone wants a nice warm floor at 4 in the morning when they have to get up to pee.

The thing that surprised me most, that I wasn’t expecting, was the fact that heated floors don’t only heat the floors, they heat the entire room. The heat radiates out and brings the entire temperature of the room up by several degrees.

I did an experiment in my bathroom to prove the point.  I put a thermometer to take the ambient temperature with the floors ON and then again took it with the floors OFF to see how big an effect having the floors on has on the temperature of the room.

Here are the results.

temps

 

Total cost of  Warmly Yours flooring for a small bathroom: $300

Cost to operate them:  For me it would be $40 a month to run the kitchen and bathroom 24 hours a day.  That’s $240 to run them from October – March if I never turn them off.   Obviously this would be cheaper if you only do them in your bathroom.  Warmly Yours has a handy calculator you can use to see how much it would cost you to run the floors.

Temperature increase of entire room during extreme Polar Vortex: 6 degrees fahrenheit, 4 degrees celsius.
Would I do it again? Recommend it? Tell others to rip up their floors so they can put these babies down? Yes. Yes I would. And do on a regular basis.


68 Comments

  1. Burt Silver says:

    This is a great article about heated floors! My wife is always complaining about the temperature in our kitchen, but I haven’t had a good way to increase the temperature in the winter. As I am going to redo the flooring anyways, I will have to look into heated floors. If, like you mentioned, they really do heat the whole room, they seem like they would be perfect!

  2. Alex Trodder says:

    I will admit, having a tile bathroom isn’t much fun with early winter mornings. Thanks for sharing your experience about putting radiant floor heating in your bathroom. Six degrees Fahrenheit can make a big difference on those mornings you don’t want to get up and start your day. I’ll have to look into what it would cost to install in my bathroom.

  3. Henna B says:

    We ended up getting this electric towel warmer: http://www.towelwarmersonline. The hydronic wasn’t going to work with our plumbing situation and the electric works great so it doesn’t matter anyways.

  4. Rondina Muncy says:

    I gave up on the polar vortex winter this week and sent a signed contract to a firm to have closed-cell foam put on the bottom of the floorboards. Notice that I said “floorboards,” because there are no sub-floors in this neighborhood. Winter comes and the frigid crawl-space air blows through the floors. Even with the entries covered in R-13 foam board, there is a breeze because it blows through the little spaces between the concrete perimeter and the floor-plate. What I don’t understand is how all these people lived here with the “ice rink effect” since the 20’s. Lot’s of rugs I suppose.

  5. Suzan says:

    My house was built about 115 years ago. The kitchen was added in the 50s (or so I have been told) and then was totally renovated just before I bought the house several years ago. There is no basement under the kitchen and it is the most RIDICULOUSLY cold room. (I heard that someone sold the house once just because they could not get the kitchen warm. Sadly, I heard this long after I purchased the house.) Right now I have a stand alone oil filled radiator turned on constantly since November and added a small Pelonis ceramic heater to just blow warm air over the floors to keep my feet from freezing. I am thinking heating the floors may be the only solution, however, the thought of ripping out all the kitchen cabinets is daunting at best.

    • Karen says:

      There’s no need to rip out the cabinets to lay the floor though. I didn’t. (until a few months later when I decided to redo my entire kitchen) You just need to rip up the floor. ~ karen!

  6. Karen, if your readers have additional questions about floor heating, they can find out more at WarmlyYours.com, and our customer service team would be happy to help them at (800) 875-5285.

  7. Sally says:

    My house is very much like yours age-wise. The original bit is the front at 1860 then additions in 1910, 1940 and 1990. Anything past 1860 is crap. Especially the 1990 sun room where, after replacing all the drafty windows and doors a few years ago, we installed a heated floor this past fall. Fantabulous. Best thing we’ve ever done. Big squares of warm terra cotta under our bare toes, while we watch the polar vortex rage around us. Now we are renovating our 1940 bathroom (last decorated some time in the 50’s). And guess what? Another heated floor. You bet. With the gas fire in the living room the furnace rarely comes on.
    Added bonus: Dog loves it.

    • Karen says:

      It really is amazing how well the floors work to heat a whole room. I didn’t think there was anything that could heat my stupid cold kitchen. ~ karen!

  8. Debbie says:

    I grew up with heated flagstone floors in our hallway – it came with the house when we bought it. What a heavenly feeling on little bare feet.

    Amazingly, when hubby and I bought our first single home (after the apartment and after the duplex), it had a heated lower floor in the “basement”, which wasn’t really a basement. The lower level was below and above ground. There was carpet on it, so it warmed the carpet (don’t ask, it came that way – green and yellow shag). What was really fun was when that level flooded (the melting snow was too much for the French drains and the already soaked ground) and the rug became warm and squishy. Hubby wasn’t home and our landscaper/babysitter/very good friend came over, though all hubby heard when on the phone with me was, “Where are his clothes?” Friend was very wet and needed a change of clothes. It took a bit of explaining! It is now almost twenty years later and we are all still good friends. Our home now does not have heated floors. I’m glad you have them and can enjoy!

  9. Cindy@designlove says:

    I agree totally with you Karen! We too have a 130 yr old home, and it is cold. We put in heated floors last yr and the room is so much warmer. Makes a huge difference. We plan to do it again this spring in upstairs bathroom reno! Can’t wait!!!

    Cindy

  10. Barbie says:

    I SO wanted the heated floors when we built our house! It would have cost a fortune for us to do it! Also the hubs was worried about the wood floors if it ever sprang a leak. (He worries about stuff like that) When we build again…and we will….a MUCH smaller house it WILL have heated floors!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Barbie! Heated floors are very thin electrical wire now, as opposed to the other type that runs hot water. So … no leaks! ~ karen

  11. Jana says:

    Serendipity!

    It’s moments like this that make me warm & fuzzy inside as me and my man just purchased a 1950’s Casa with original wood floors in some areas, tile in others and one small patch of carpet that he cannot wait to rip up and lay new floors down into….

    However…. I’ve always coveted a home that had zero carpeting which was a selling point when we bought this one less than 1 month ago… Now having had lived in it for about 3.5 weeks the cold is killing me… Ha! some things you just have to experience to know as I refuse to take off my fur lined rubber boots alternating between them and my knee high Uggs…… touche!

    The topic of ‘heated flooring’ has come up only I haven’t known where to begin that search pre-demolition of the tile and lone carpeted room; until today and your post….

    You rock! :)

  12. KJ says:

    Good to hear an update. You may have already mentioned this: how much does it raise the level of the floor when “retrofitting” it?

    P.S. Have you seen this automated chicken coop door (with no electricity or battery)? Ingenious! http://hanburyhouse.com/no-battery-no-electricity-automatic-coop-door/

    • KJ, the heating elements in an electric floor heating system (for WarmlyYours products) are only 1/8″ thick, so the impact on floor height is minimal. If you have been looking around at other options, you will see that hydronic floor heating systems do raise the floors significantly to accommodate the equipment installed.

  13. Janelle says:

    Okay, scratch that – I decided to be (momentarily) less lazy and google it myself :) Slate tile it would seem, is wonderfully conductive and great for use with heated floor systems.

    • Kim from 3 peanuts says:

      I was wondering the same sort of thing…We have marble floors in our bathroom which I love but they are FREEZING in the winter (bathroom in built over a non heated garage) even though we’re in Texas. Good to know for next reno or house build.

  14. Janelle says:

    Hi, Karen! We are about to renovate a bathroom and we have a bunch of tiles left over from our front hall that I was thinking of putting in there. Trouble is, they are slate and SO COLD. And no, I don’t have the right to complain about cold slate tile floors as I sit in above-zero Vancouver Island temperatures, but I am anyway. My question is whether slate is too thick to be ‘warmed’ by this brilliant system. I had heated floors under ceramic tile in my last house, but slate is a bit thicker and, well…colder. Intuitively it seems that the heat wouldn’t have enough oomph to make slate tiles warm in winter.

  15. Debbie says:

    It sounds just wonderful. I have only been in one home that has had this kind of heat and it was so nice I wanted to sit on the floor. It gave the same nice feel that fire gives.

  16. Kathy Hartzell says:

    Yaktrax gal inspires me to give a shout out to hot water recirculating systems. I hated for years that my husband would guilt me out of waiting for the hot water to arrive to wash off the day’s grime from my face. Sometimes he would thoughtfully heat a washcloth in the microwave, or water on the woodstove. But a recent reno at the cabin got me thinking about how much water was wasted waiting for hot (even with our on-demand hot system!!) so I put in the EASIEST off the plumbing supply house shelf recirc system and no more water wasted and adding to the septic!!! I have the “call button” both in the master bath and one in the kitchen.

    It installs under a sink strategic to your houses’s plumbing and simply hard wires in to elec that you drop down from the existing bath outlet circuit and presto!!! The wait is dependent on size of the runs to heat the water. In my 1800 sf place it is 1.45 minutes. And minuscule energy used during the under two minutes. Even hubby washes his face now….at the cabin….we have to deal with the town house next!!

  17. Tanya H. says:

    Hope you had help lifting that tub!

    • Karen says:

      I had help carrying it out to pour the concrete, but when it came time to lay the tiles I didn’t have help to lift it. So … I used a car jack to raise it just enough to be able to slip tiles under it. ~ karen!

  18. Olga says:

    The anticipation to see finished kitchen is killing me. Hurry up already! lol

  19. Feral Turtle says:

    I am glad you are keeping warm!! Floor heat is the best. I bet your chickens would love a circuit in their floor too. lol

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