Electric Floor Heating Systems Electric Floor Heating Systems
Courtesy of WarmlyYours
Electric floor heating is an affordable luxury that is now gaining popularity among homeowners. Including floor heating in bathroom, kitchen or family room remodels has been spurred on by the relatively recent introduction of easy-to-install electric systems. Manufacturers, such as WarmlyYours, EasyHeat, and Delta-Therm among others, have developed electric applications that are well suited for even the most novice DIYer.
The method of installing an electric floor heating system is similar to that of a floor covering installation and is performed using many of the same tools. With a little care, and careful observance of the following instructions, a first time installer should have little difficulty completing their floor heating project. However, installation of the floor heating thermostat and final electrical hook should be performed by a licensed electrician.
STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS
STEP 1: GATHER TOGETHER REQUIRED INSTALLATION TOOLS
The following materials will be used during system installation and should be gathered prior to starting your floor heating project:
- Ohm Meter
- Utility Scissors and Knife
- Duct Tape, Hot Glue Gun or Staple Gun (for holding the system in place)
- Broad Tip Marker and Tape Measure
- 1/4" or 3/8" Square Notched Trowel
- Latex Modified Thinset Cement
STEP 2: ROUGH IN ELECTRICAL WORK
A dedicated circuit is recommended for your floor heating system. This recommendation is in accordance with the National Electrical Code (NEC). Local codes may differ, so always consult with a qualified electrician first.
When installing the floor heating thermostat, install a 4" square 2 1/8" deep electrical box with a single mud ring. Electrical boxes are typically placed 4' to 5' off the floor. For electric floor heating installations that require a floor sensor, the installer should include two pieces of 1/2" conduit from the electrical box to the base of the wall (see diagram).
STEP 3: TEST POSITION YOUR SYSTEM ON THE SUBFLOOR BEFORE INSTALLING
Test position and fit your floor warming system on the subfloor to determine where you would like to have the floor warmed for your personal comfort.
For ready reference during final installation, use a permanent marker to indicate where you would like to position your system on the subfloor, as well as any planned cuts or turns on both the subfloor and the system itself.
STEP 4: CHECK SYSTEM OHM READING PRIOR TO INSTALLING
Before installing your floor heating system, you will want to check the Ohm resistance between the two power conductor wires to make sure that no breaks or shorts have occurred that could affect your system's performance. Follow manufacturer’s recommendations regarding the proper variance and the frequency of Ohm readings.
STEP 5: SECURE SYSTEM TO SUBFLOOR
- On the clean and prepared subfloor, position your system exactly like it is to be installed. Run the power leads back to the power supply without crossing over the heating element.
- Complete any necessary cuts and turns to fit the electric floor heating system into place. Only the system's mesh backing should be cut. Never cut the heating element.
- If you are installing a thermostat or control that includes a floor sensor, place the sensor head under the fiberglass mesh and center it between the heating elements. Once positioned, hold the sensor in place with a bit of hot glue, duct tape to prevent it from moving during the installation.
- Once the system and power leads are in place, affix each to the subfloor using hot glue or duct tape.
Note: Hot glue will not harm the heating element or power leads and may be used to hold them in place. If using a staple gun, apply staples to the fiberglass mesh backing only. Never staple near or through the heating element or power leads.
STEP 6: COVER THE SYSTEM IN THINSET CEMENT
You are now ready to apply a thin, skim-coat layer of latex modified thinset cement over your floor heating system. Before applying thinset cement over your system, attach the circuit check installation tool* to the two (2) power lead wires as shown to ensure trouble-free installations. Make sure that the tool is properly attached to the power leads. An alarm will sound should your system's heating element or power leads be nicked or cut during the installation process allowing for immediate identification and repair.
*Note: Not all electric floor heating manufacturers provide a circuit check tool.
Using the flat edge of your trowel, carefully apply a thin skim-coat of thinset cement over the floor heating system and allow it to dry. Be careful not to nick the heating element or power leads with the trowel.
Once the thinset has thoroughly dried, you will be ready to install your floor covering. We recommend a 1/4" or 3/8” notched trowel to ensure sufficient coverage of thinset for the application of your tile or stone floor.
STEP 7: ELECTRICAL POWER HOOKUP
Use a licensed and qualified electrician, familiar with local electrical codes, to perform your system's final electrical hook up.
STEP 8: WAITING PERIOD BEFORE SYSTEM OPERATION
Before operating your new electric floor heating system, you must wait until the thinset cement has fully cured to the manufacturer’s specifications (usually 2 to 14 days).
Now, you are ready to experience the radiant warmth and comfort of your new warm floors!