The big question, “Is Electric Floor Heating Expensive to Run?” Electric floor heating can make bathrooms, kitchens, and living rooms much more comfortable to live in. Many often assume a big price tag that comes along with heated floors, but that is not always the case. Electric Floor Heating systems are normally very efficient and use as much as or less energy than other floor heating systems.
Most heated electrical floor systems are more effective than your average space heater. Electric floor heating systems heat emitted and power consumption is fitted to the rooms size for maximum efficiency. On average, electric floor heating systems use 12 watts per hour per square foot, this means a 50 sq. ft. bathroom could be heated at 600 watts an hour. While, if you had to choose a space heater they often come in 1000 and 1500 watt variants. Over heating the room, and using unnecessary electricity.
What Causes Running Cost to Vary?
Ultimately, there are a large number of factors to consider when calculating the cost for any heating system. Hopefully these factors explained will give you a better idea of how much electric radiant heat would cost you.
A crucial aspect you need to be considerate of is what price per kilowatt you’re paying for in your area. This can make a very noticeable difference as 100 sq. ft. of heating matts running 24 hrs a day would cost about $33 a month in North Dakota. Where the same square footage and usage time in Connecticut would cost around $75 a month. It is worth a call to your electric company to find out how much they charge per kilowatt in your area.
To find out your cities average price per kilowatt look at https://www.electricitylocal.com
Frequency of Use
In the example before both systems were used each 24 hours a day. Think about how often you would run your system. Just in the mornings? When you get home from work? Consistently in the winter months? This could potentially play a bigger role than the electricity price as running the system in Connecticut mentioned above for 4 hours in the morning would cost $16.32 monthly. Where running the same system for 4 hours in the morning and 6 hours after you get off work would cost $34.11 a month. You might be wondering “how will I run my system at precise increments each day?”. This is where thermostats come into play.
If you want your electric heating system for not only floor comfort, but to increase the temperature in the room as well room size plays an important role. The bigger the room the longer and hotter you will have to run the matts for the room to heat up, leading to bigger electricity consumption.
Floor Insulation / Underlayment
Installing the right insulation for your electric heating system can boost its efficiency! Insulation will prevent any heat that is generated from being lost into the subfloor below. Instead, the heat is pushed upward reaching your floors first and eventually passing on to the room above. Without insulation for your electric heating, you will be looking at longer heat up times and faster cool down times. In turn, forcing you to run your mats for longer, using more electricity.
A high quality underlayment with a high R-Value can serve as insulation. This way you don’t have to pass up on any of the benefits underlayment can provide, while still getting an insulating barrier. We prefer QuietWalk underlayment because it provides the basic underlayment qualities like moisture protection, compression support, and sound reduction. All while maintaining an R-Value of 0.58.
Finally, the type of floor you choose will affect the efficiency of your electric radiant heating system. Tile and stone make the best flooring to go over radiant heat. This is due to their exceptional conductivity. They tend to warm quickly, yet are also slow to cool. Vinyl makes the next best option because it warms rapidly, but also cools that way too. The floor coverings that will affect the heating systems negatively are hardwood and carpet. They are dense materials that have much slower heat up times, causing your efficiency to drop. Carpet in particular, will act as an insulator and trap the heat underneath.
Calculating the Electricity Expense of Your Heating
Most radiant heat manufacturers will have an energy cost calculator provided for their products. You will have to enter the square footage of heating you plan on installing, the cost per kilowatt-hour your electric company charges, and the amount of time per day you will run your system.
For our examples in this article we used MP Global’s QuietWarmth Calculator.
Please remember these pricing calculations are approximations for illustrative purposes only. With as many different factors there are for heating specific areas expect your heating costs to vary from ours. Make sure to do plenty of research before deciding on and installing heated flooring in your home!