ˇThickness of the cold-lead wires that connect the heating rolls to the thermostat: You want the thinnest cold-lead wires available (1/8" thick), so you can easily cover them with thinset cement like the heat resistance wire. If the cold-lead wires are thicker you will need to chisel a grove in the cement slab, or use a circular saw to cut a groove in the plywood sub-floor or backer board to maintain the floor level flat.
ˇ Length of the cold-lead wires: You want cold lead wires that are long enough to connect to the thermostat without additional cut-&-turns of the roll to bring the roll closer to the thermostat.
ˇVendor Technical Support Look for a vendor who will design an installation layout customized to your own floor plan. Understand that the heat will not extend very much laterally through conduction. In most cases the heat will extend 1.5" away from the wires but not more.
Therefore it is important to lay the heating mat 1" or 2" under the toe-kick space to make sure you don't end-up standing with hot heels and cold toes in front of your vanity.
Attention to details and precision in your customized design layout will save you time and cost during the installation.
How to make a successful electric installation ?
Make sure you have a good ohm meter and continuity checker. Check the ohm resistance at least three times: before you start, after you laid the heating element in thinset cement, and after you installed the tile or stone over the heating elements. There is no need to fire-up the system with 110 volts to make sure you have a working installation.
A proper ohm reading will confirm that you have no break in the cable, and the continuity check will assure you that there is no short passing through the insulation that separates the core wire and the ground shield. Any DIY who can install ceramic tile can install a floor heating system and bring the cold lead wires behind the thermostat. However to install a timer and thermostat and connect them to the floor heating you need to hire an experienced electrician.
Once properly installed these floor heating systems are a marvelous part of our daily comfort. They are totally silent. They do not circulate hot air that carries bacteria and toxins. They have no moving parts and require no maintenance. Whether you plan a new bathroom, a kitchen, a sunroom addition or a basement conversion, floor heating is the sensible solution for comfort and energy savings. They can be installed under tile, stone, vinyl, carpet, hardwood and laminate floors.
Our thanks to Georges F. Selvais for this article.
Mr. Selvais is General Manager of WarmlyYours.com. He was educated at Harvard and traveled extensively in Europe where he has investigated the floor warming industry extensively before starting WarmlyYours.com in the USA.
You can check out his site at WarmlyYours.com
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