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Electric Radiant Heat
Electric radiant heating systems are very cost-effective solutions for smaller spaces (1-5 rooms) because they are easy to install and have a very low start-up cost. An electric thermostat is all that is required and costs only about $100-$200. Another advantage of electric radiant floor heating over a warm-water system is the floor build up or height. Floor build up can be from as little as 2mm. The electric cables are usually installed onto an insulation board or directly onto the subfloor or padding (under carpet or laminate), then the floor covering is placed directly over the heating system or thinset.
Electric radiant floor heating also benefits from faster installation times, with a typical installation only taking half day to a day depending on size to install. Also warm up times are generally a lot quicker than "wet" systems because the cables are installed directly below the finished flooring making it a direct acting heat source rather than a storage heater.
Electric radiant heat used to be supplied as one long continuous length of cable with the consumer having to weave the cable up and down the floor at a pre-determined spacing and making a return loop to complete the circuit. The main problem with this was the installation time taking quite a while, and also the risk of hot and cold spots due to uneven cable spacing, cables spaced close together give off more heat, and visa versa.
Recent designs in electric radiant heat cables have a built in return meaning that you only have one end to connect instead of having to close the circuit by bringing each end of the cable back to the thermostat. These are excellent electric radiant heat cables and make the installation much quicker. With the introduction of the built in return came the “cable mat” these have revolutionized the electric radiant heat cables due to the simplicity of the installation.
Electric radiant heat cable mats have taken the hard work out of the install by having the radiant heating cable already pre-spaced on to a nylon mesh and all you have to do is simply start at your thermostat location and roll it out over the floor until it’s all used up. These save time and offer less risk of having hot and cold spots.
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