Electric Radiant: Mat versus Cable?

Old 03-29-07, 06:03 PM
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Electric Radiant: Mat versus Cable?

I am in the process of finishing my basement and I would like to add electric radiant heat to a 6'X6' bathroom. The exposed area would be about 20 sq ft. The electrician who's doing some other electrical work in my basement said he would use radiant cables held in place with clips. I think his other work has been priced reasonably, but he quoted me $1,000 to intall a 20 amp 120V circuit, a GFCI breaker, a thermostat and to secure the radiant cables. I live in a suburb of New York City and the trades can be expensive, but I think this quote is a high, especially when I see that I can get a 19 sq ft Honeywell mat from HD delivered for about $260.

But I want to make sure I'm not missing something. Is the cable option more expensive and/or better than the mat? Are the thermostats and the GFCI breakers very expensive?

Old 03-30-07, 12:41 PM
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The clips and resistance wire is labor intensive. There may also be a minimum amount of wire that your electrician would be required (by his supplier) to purchase and if he doesn't normally do this kind of work then more likely as not he would charge you for the entire spool rather than just the amount used.

In its favor the clips and wire method can do a better job of covering odd-shaped area than will a pre-formed mat.

The pre-formed mats cannot just be cut to fit but must be laid intact. Often it will require more than one mat and some rather creative layout to get both the necessary coverage and not lay mat upon itself.

The 240 volt GFCI circuit breaker is costly when compared to a non-GFCI unit. I haven't priced one but I suspect that the big box store price (if they are even available there) would shoot a good sized hole in a $100. bill. 120 volt GFCI breakers run about $50. compared to less than $10. for a non-GFCI breaker. The same with the thermostat, these floor warmers do not use a "standard" line-voltage thermostat but instead a unit that often incorporates a sensing bulb embedded in the floor itself. Some of the thermostats include GFCI so if you have one of these you may not need the GFCI circuit breaker.
Old 03-30-07, 08:39 PM
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Might try http://www.warmlyyours.com have use them and they work out real good.

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