Heated Floor for Bathroom?


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Old 05-11-15, 11:28 AM
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Heated Floor for Bathroom?

We're remodeling our bathroom, including a new porcelain tile floor. I'm thinking of installing a heating element under the new tile, but I'm not sure it's worth the cost and headache. Thoughts? Here's the details:

- The bathroom isn't huge - I only need about 45sqft of heated floor.

- I already have a dedicated circuit for a total of 3 GFI outlets in 3 bathrooms. 1 of those outlets (the main floor half-bath) will never be used for an appliance. I suppose it's possible we could have 2 or 3 hair dryers/curling irons running in the other two bathrooms at the same time. I was hoping to just use that circuit for the heated floor. Running a dedicated circuit (from basement to second floor, opposite ends of house) for just the heated floor would be costly. But the floor alone could draw 400 to 500 watts when running. I don't think tying in to whatever circuit feeds the bathroom lights is advisable, right?

- The bathroom is on the second floor above a heated area, and the floor never really gets freezing! Thus, while I guess it would be neat to have a toasty-warm floor, we'd mainly be doing this for resale value. Not sure paying $500-750 (or more, if we need a circuit) is worth it.

- If I only want to have the floor heated in the morning when we wake up, I'm assuming we would need to buy a programmable thermostat ($120+)?

Let me know what you think. Thanks.

Oh, and here's the products we're considering:

http://www.menards.com/main/electric...367-c-6330.htm This is cheaper because it doesn't come with the wire pre-arranged on a mat, so it would probably take a bit more labor to lay it out.

http://www.menards.com/main/electric...400-c-6331.htm Here is the more expensive pre-arranged mat version.

Oh, and apparently I would either need to find a thermostat that is non-GFI, or get rid of the bathroom GFI outlet, since I can't have both on the same circuit. All the programmable thermostats I've seen are GFI, but it wouldn't be hard to swap out the bathroom outlet for a non-GFI. I'd just have to remember that the GFI for the outlets is in the thermostat control...
 

Last edited by mirak; 05-11-15 at 11:53 AM.
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Old 05-11-15, 02:38 PM
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The Question is, what will this provide that a couple of bath mats won't. You will have mats in the bathroom anyway. It is just to warm the tile, which you don't walk on directly and in a small bath to boot. Don't forget to add the cost of spacers and fasteners as well as self leveling compound with appropriate primers (could easily run a couple hundred). It may be a plus, but certainly not a deal breaker when it comes time to sell. I doubt that prospective buyers are going to say, love the house, too bad the bathroom did not have heated floors.

I have quoted heated mats on many bath remodels. Yet, never have they moved forward on them. It is pricy and no one ever could justify it more than a novelty and not something worth investing in.
 
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Old 05-11-15, 02:52 PM
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It may be a novelty but I happen to think that it's a great idea.***If there were 2 houses the same except for the heated floor, I would buy the house with the heated floor.
 
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Old 05-11-15, 02:53 PM
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While I've painted numerous houses that had floor heat in the bath rms, the only real hands on experience I've had with them was a customer that wanted me to bid a repaint. My previous stop was a cold and muddy job site so I removed my boots on the porch before entering her house. When we got to the bath rm the heated floor felt so nice on my cold feet I didn't want to leave

I agree with Z, I don't believe it will affect the sale price any but if you expected to stay in the house for awhile and wanted the warm floor - go for it! Look at it as a luxury to enjoy, not an investment.
 
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Old 05-11-15, 08:10 PM
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Yeah, I acknowledge that this is pretty unnecessary - the floors don't ever get that cold and we will have mats on the floor anyway...

BUT - this is the kind of luxury that could set our home apart down the road even if we don't personally use it much, and I think we can do it relatively inexpensively while we're putting the new floor in.

I picked up this wire kit tonight: http://www.menards.com/main/electric...367-c-6330.htm

And I'll be ordering this programmable thermostat (which is supposed to be better and cheaper than the Warm Tiles one): AUBE TH115-AF-120S - 7-Day Programmable Line Volt Thermostat for Electric (ambient) Heating and Floor Heating - Programmable Household Thermostats - Amazon.com

It's non-GFI, so it should play nice with the GFI outlet on the circuit.

So far, that's about $250. Now I'll have a talk with the contractor about how much extra it will be in material/labor to install. I could probably do this myself - it looks like fun - but the contractor is putting in the floor and I don't want to get in his way.
 
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Old 05-11-15, 09:20 PM
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Well, never a dull moment when you buy a pre-existing home. I did some investigation tonight into the electrical in preparation for installing the heating system.

Even though the builders installed a dedicated circuit for the bathroom outlets, they went cheap and only used 14 gauge wire on a 15amp breaker. So, one hair dryer at 1875w maxes out that circuit. And there's three bathroom outlets (one each in three different bathrooms) on that circuit. What a ridiculous - and cheap - oversight. Can't put the heated floor on that circuit if it will run at the same time my wife is using the hair dryer, which is likely.

Good news is that the lighting in the master bath - while also 14 gauge / 15 amp - is on a very small circuit. Only the vanity lights, exhaust fan, and 4 receptacles in the master bathroom. So even if I've got a few lamps plugged in, a big TV, and the vanity lights and exhaust fan on, they'd pull less than 1000w combined (way less if I switch out bulbs to led). Leaves plenty of capacity for a 500w heated floor.
 
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Old 05-12-15, 04:13 AM
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Why can't a 12 gauge, 20 Amp circuit be run now? It can't be that hard.
 
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Old 05-12-15, 04:25 AM
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I'm not an electrician but I thought the floor heat strips were supposed to have their own dedicated circuit. Like Pulpo, I'd be wanting to run a new 20 amp circuit.
 
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Old 05-12-15, 05:12 AM
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I don't think it matters how "you" plan on using it, you must plan on what ever scenario down the road. So figure maximum usage with curling irons, cloths irons, chargers, regular light bulbs, etc. I would want anything that involved heating coils to have a dedicated line all to itself.

Let us know the contractors game plan on installation. What procedures and materials does he plan to use?
 
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Old 05-12-15, 08:30 AM
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My breaker box is located two stories below the master bathroom, on the opposite side of the house, and the basement is completely finished. Running a new wire through all that finished space would be plenty hard, pricey, and require more than a few new holes in the walls.

Code does not require a dedicated circuit. And if I had to plan on "maximum usage" I'm sure I could devise a scenario to max out every one of my circuits!

This particular circuit has:
- 4 receptacles in the master bedroom
- 2 vanity lights
- 1 closet light
- 1 bathroom exhaust fan

So let's say I plug in a big honkin' TV (which I currently am - a 34" tube HDTV drawing 280w!), a couple lamps with high wattage incandescents, and a bedside alarm clock into the receptacles - I'm up to about 500w.

The vanity lights, closet light, and exhaust costs me another 400w tops (again, assuming I stick with incandescents which are going extinct for much more efficient LEDs).

Heating element maxes out at about 500w (assuming I've really got it cranked up).

So now I'm up to 1400w.

The only way I could overload the circuit is if I decided to plug in a vacuum on top of everything else. Since I'll only be running the heated floor in the early morning (programmable thermostat), I doubt my wife would appreciate me vacuuming while watching the Today Show with all the lights on at 7am, but I suppose it's technically possible! Still, if I was engineering to those power demands then I'd need to rewire the entire house onto 20amp circuits.
 
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Old 05-12-15, 09:37 AM
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I already have a dedicated circuit for a total of 3 GFI outlets in 3 bathrooms. 1 of those outlets (the main floor half-bath) will never be used for an appliance.
If the code required dedicated GFCI 20 amp bathroom receptacle circuit is used in more then one bath or half bath nothing else can be on the circuit, not even lights. By code the bathroom receptacle circuit can not* by code be used for the heat.

*Assumes heaters are hard wired not plug in based on description.

Since this has morphed in to an electrical issue I'm moving it to the electrical forum.
 
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Old 05-12-15, 09:51 AM
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I think I explained a couple of times in my posts below that the bathroom receptacle is on a dedicated circuit, and I'm not adding the heating element to that circuit.

I'm adding the heating element to a seperate circuit which powers the bathroom lights and a few receptacles in the master bedroom. It doesn't violate code, and it won't max out the circuit under anything close to resembling normal use.
 
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Old 05-12-15, 11:45 AM
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Hm we rent a flat with heated floors in bathroom and kitchen and this is great. We like trying out new solutions for houses and luckily we haven't had problems with them since moving in. Out new idea are trench heaters in living rooms and I hope they'll prove to be good choice during the winter. I know it is not something for the bathroom but just saying that taking risks sometimes is worth it
 
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Old 05-12-15, 11:45 AM
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I'm adding the heating element to a seperate circuit which powers the bathroom lights and a few receptacles in the master bedroom. It doesn't violate code, and it won't max out the circuit under anything close to resembling normal use.
Sorry I misread your post. You are correct.
 
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Old 05-12-15, 02:26 PM
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I put the heating cables under the tile in my bathroom, with a cork underlayment thermal break between the slab and the mortar bed with the cables embedded. Huge improvement in the comfort of the bathroom to have 80 degree tiles at 5:00am vs. 55 degree tiles. Granted I am in a colder climate than you so the difference might not be as significant, but if you're on the fence, I really recommend it as something you'll enjoy.
 
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Old 05-12-15, 07:09 PM
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Even though the builders installed a dedicated circuit for the bathroom outlets, they went cheap and only used 14 gauge wire on a 15amp breaker.
That is a code violation, it should have been a 20A circuit.

This particular circuit has:
- 4 receptacles in the master bedroom
- 2 vanity lights
- 1 closet light
- 1 bathroom exhaust fan
You might be able to use this circuit for the floor heat.
 
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Old 05-12-15, 07:43 PM
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I would insist on the 20 amp circuit.
 
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Old 05-13-15, 03:35 AM
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That is a code violation, it should have been a 20A circuit.
CJ can you explain that? I used to paint for a builder that used 15 amp circuits [14 gauge wire] almost exclusively and supposedly the inspectors were fairly strict. Not saying you are wrong, just trying to understand/learn.
 
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Old 05-13-15, 04:09 AM
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Mark, it depends upon which code cycle was in effect at the time of the house construction. I don't know when the 20 ampere circuit was made mandatory but I'm pretty sure it was after 1987 as that was when my house was built and I have 15 ampere circuits in the bathrooms. In fact, my two bathrooms, the receptacle on my back porch and the receptacle in the garage were ALL on the same 15 ampere circuit with the GFCI protection provided by a GFCI receptacle in the garage.

I found this out when I used a tester on the front bathroom receptacle and tripped the GFCI. I had to look for over an hour before finding the GFCI receptacle in the garage that a previous owner had attached a 6-way extender, covering the test and reset buttons. Soon after I replaced the individual bathroom receptacles with GFCI receptacles and wired the back one from the LINE terminals of the one in the front bathroom. I eliminated the GFCI receptacle from this circuit in the garage and ran three new receptacle circuits (all GFCI protected) in the garage.

Some day I may re-wire the bathroom receptacles to 20 amperes but since I do not use them for anything more than the charger stands for electric toothbrushes that day may not come for years. The receptacle on the back porch, which I rarely use, I have already run a new circuit 2/3 of the way and completing it is just not a priority.
 
 

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