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Checking Compatibility for Electric Radiant Heating

Checking Compatibility for Electric Radiant Heating

You're considering electric floor heating for your indoor residential, commercial or industrial building application.

Measure the total surface area coverage for your heated floor, and have some idea on why you’re installing it -- for surface comfort or radiant room heating.

Before planning your project, you want to check whether your building is compatible with electric floor heating. Here are three steps you can take before considering it.

Check Distribution Breaker Panel

Make sure to inspect the number of slots in your electrical panel

Check your electrical panel

Keep in mind, you’ve got to have empty or available poles (i.e. slots) for circuit breakers at your electrical distribution panel. Residential panels in North America may be limited to either 100A or 200A depending on the age of the home. In commercial buildings, there is greater flexibility in the breaker panel size.
Always check with your engineer and/or licensed electrical contractor to confirm your specifications. Below are a few examples to give you a sense of the number of poles for circuit breakers you might need. Remember, the room might be split into multiple zones powered by separate circuits to expand surface coverage.
  • A single pole 120V (L1-N) and 20A circuit breaker may be used to power a maximum of 180 sq. ft. at 15A and 10W per sq. ft. for comfort heating.
  • A double pole 240V (L1-L2) and 20A circuit breaker may be used to power a maximum of 180 sq. ft. at 15A and 20W per sq. ft. for room heating.
  • A double pole 120/240V (L1-N-L2) and 30A circuit breaker may be used to power a maximum of 300 sq. ft. at 25A, or two zones of 150 sq. ft. at 12.5A each, and 10W per sq. ft. for comfort heating.
Check outlets for electric heating
How many outlets are connected to a dedicated circuit at the breaker panel?

Check the available wiring

Fixed electric heating systems must be permanently wired to a dedicated circuit. That means you can’t extend wiring from a plug or outlet typically used for cord-connected appliances.

You may already have more than one circuit in the area where you plan to install your electric floor heating system. For example, existing electric baseboard heaters in the area may already be wired to a dedicated circuit for you to take advantage. Check with a licensed electrical contractor to confirm whether a change of electrical wiring or additional wiring is necessary.

 Can I install radiant heating under my floor

Work with a flooring contractor to make sure your existing floor is level and in good condition.

Check if your floor is compatible

Not all electric floor heating systems are compatible with every floor finish or covering. For example, when placing electric heating equipment above a wood or concrete subfloor, nailed down floors are strictly prohibited. You may want to consider embedded (i.e. in floor) heating systems instead.

Pay attention to the thermal conductivity of the floor type when choosing the best flooring to go with your floor heating. Thermal conductivity means how well the flooring material transfers heat from the heater to the surface of the floor. The better, the more efficient heating system you will have.

Finally, make sure that the condition of your existing wood or concrete subfloor is level, and does not exhibit any buckling or cracking in need of repair. Consult your flooring contractor beforehand to ensure the quality of installation.


Need help checking your compatibility? Fill out this form and send us a few pictures. 


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