Posted in: Homeowner tips

Is it time to add in-floor heating to your home?

Heated floors

Key insights:

  • The two main types of in-floor heating are water-based and electric; electric heating tends to cost less to install.
  • Underfloor heating evenly warms up your home with the potential to cut energy costs.
  • Whether you’re selling soon or staying put for the foreseeable future, in-floor heating is a desirable feature for many homeowners.

Mornings in Minnesota and western Wisconsin tend to be extra chilly. If you’re finding it hard to get out of your warm bed when your alarm sounds — or you’d simply prefer a more comfortable home all day long — you might consider in-floor heating.

Radiant floor heating is sure to cozy up your home throughout the winter, and keep you in brighter spirits as a result.

Types of radiant floor heating

As its name suggests, radiant floor heating creates warmth in the house from the floor up. Households with in-floor radiant heating likely run on one of two common systems:

  • Water-based radiant heating
  • Electric radiant heating

Water-based floor heating, sometimes referred to as hydronic heating, makes use of underfloor pipes which transfer hot water to create heat throughout the home. The hot water is typically warmed up by a boiler or water heater. Keep in mind, water-based heating may be used as a primary heating source for a home.

Electric floor heating, on the other hand, generates heat with underfloor wires. Here, electric cables are run through a grid or embedded in mats, which are then placed under the floor to create a supplemental heat source.

How much does a heated floor cost?

The cost associated with heated floors depends on the kind of underfloor heating installed. Here are some quick facts and figures to help you plan the potential cost of adding heated floors to your home.

The cost of water-based radiant heating

Due to its intricate pipe format, water-based radiant heating is usually installed during the build of a new construction home, and it may cost more to put in. On average, the installation of water-based heated floors costs $6 to $20 per square foot. When installed in an existing property, a water-based system may require that you update your water heater and pipe fittings, depending on the status of your current home.

The cost of electric radiant heating

The installation of electric radiant heating is estimated at approximately $8 to $15 per square foot. Unlike water-based radiant heating, this installation should be limited to just the cable installation and the new flooring, and would not involve updates to a water heater or other home systems.

In addition to the upfront cost of materials, remember that all in-floor heating systems should be installed by a professional.

What materials are compatible with in-floor heating?

In-floor heating can be installed under any flooring. Carpet, vinyl, wood, tile and stone (along with others) are all compatible with in-floor heating. However, tile and stone heat up significantly faster than other flooring, making these two the ideal counterparts to an in-floor heating system.

Be sure to note that no matter what kind of floor you heat, radiant heating may raise your floor levels. The height difference usually equates to no more than a half-inch and typically goes unnoticed. If you have low ceilings, however, it may be worth noting in advance.

Benefits of underfloor heating

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, heating and cooling account for about 51% of a household’s annual energy consumption. However, homeowners may save money with in-floor heating. In fact, radiant heating costs 25 to 50 percent less to run and maintain when compared to other home heating systems. So, if you’re looking to increase your winter energy efficiency — and decrease your winter energy bills — heated floors may be your best bet for consistent and efficient warmth.

Additional pros of heated floors include:

  • Better air quality
  • Easily programmable with a smart thermostat
  • Appealing to potential buyers
  • Low-maintenance
  • Long-lasting
  • Quiet, especially compared to forced-air

The (hot) future of your floors

Whether you’re looking into heated floors for your garage, bathroom or kitchen, in-floor heating is a smart investment for any Minnesota or western Wisconsin homeowner. Plus, these floors are bound to stand out as a luxury home feature if you decide to sell in the future.

Moving forward, reach out to Edina Realty or your agent for more homeowner and seller tips.

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