Installing Electrical Radiant Heat Floor Mats
How to Install an Electric Radiant Floor Heat System: Components of an Electric Radiant Floor Heat System, Electric Circuit Requirements for a Electric Radiant Floor Heat System, The Most Common Problems with Floor Heat Systems and How to Fix Them.
Guide to Electric Radiant Floor Heat Mat Installation and Repair
Electrical Question: I have a heated floor mat installed under ceramic tile, now after all is said and done the mat does not work.
- How can I find out if there is a break in the wire so I can remove a few tiles and fix?
- The customers electrician said the power is good coming from the thermostat.
Thanks for your help, Mike.
Background: Mike, a Contractor from Lorton Va.
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Mike.
How to Install an Electric Floor Heat System
Application: Wiring for a Electric Floor Radiant Heat System.
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools, electric drill, auger bits and extension cord.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience, ability to work with tools and install 120/220 volt electrical circuit wiring.
Precaution: Identify the main circuit of the panel, turn it OFF and Tag it with a Note before working with the wiring or installing the 120/220 volt wiring and circuit breaker. Working in electrical panels is not recommended for homeowners, non-experienced individuals or non-electricians due to the danger of arc flash and electric shock hazards.
Notice: Installing an additional 120/220 volt circuit for a floor heating system should be done according to local and national electrical codes with a permit and be inspected.
Radiant Floor Heat System
- There is nothing quite like a heated floor for bare feet on a cold morning, but the installation process is crucial so make sure it is done right for lasting enjoyment.
- The Components of an Electric Radiant Floor Heat System
- Template for Sizing and Ordering a Custom Heat Mat.
- Typically provided by the manufacturer or representative.
- Radiant Floor Heat Mat.
- Temperature Sensor.
- Resistance fault indicator.
- NOTE: This is essential during installation to help monitor for possible faults which could occur during installation of the floor heat mat.
- Dedicated electrical circuit power.
- GFCI circuit protection.
- Floor heat thermostat.
- Floor heat thermostat and programmable timer.
- A programmable thermostat will allow you to set the start and stop times of operation for an efficient system and nice warm floor on those cold mornings.
- Template for Sizing and Ordering a Custom Heat Mat.
- Electric Circuit Requirements for a Electric Radiant Floor Heat System
- The amount of electric power or circuit watts which will be required will depend on the size of the area that will be covered with the radiant floor heat mat.
- Examples of radiant floor heat dedicated circuits
- 120 volt 20 amp 220 volt 15 amps
- EFFICIENCY TIP: It is best to specify and install a 220 volt floor heat system because the electricity usage will be more efficient and the floor heat mat will heat up faster.
The Most Common Problems with Floor Heat Systems and How to Fix Them
- Finding out that the floor heat does not work after the installation is complete is bad news. I have installed a number of Easy Heat and NuHeat radiant heat mats.
- The installation is typically monitored by a electrical fault indicator or a resistance meter that is attached to the electrical wire leads coming from the floor heat mats leading up to the thermostat control junction box.
- A break in the electrical wire may be detected using an electrical circuit tracer.
- Once the area has been verified then repairs should be made according to the instructions for the specific brand that has been installed.
- This helps to identify any problem that may occur.
- In the case of this specific question from Mike, the resistance of the cables can be measured which will tell you if there is a problem.
- The resistance of your heated floor mat will depend on the size, and the manufacturer may provide the information specific to your installation.
- If there is a break or open, then I would contact the manufacturer who will recommended the proper method to repair their cables.
- For anyone considering installing an electrical radiant heated floor mat I would advise you to always use the fault indicator that is provided or understand how to take resistance checks to monitor the installation process.
- The fault indicators are available with most floor heat systems.
- The installation manual provided by the manufacturer will explain the details for your specific floor heat system.
- Also make sure that everyone working in the area understands that the floor heat mat can be damaged if special care and protection is not provided.
More about Electric Wiring for a Radiant Floor Heat Installation
Basic House Wiring Circuits
House Wiring Circuits and Circuit Breakers
- This article looks at common 120 volt and 240 volt house wiring circuits and the circuit breakers that are installed identifying the types and amperage sizes used in most homes.
- Electrical Panel Circuit Listing
Electrical Wire for the Home
- Complete listing of electrical wire types and parts used for home projects with electrical code information serves as selection guidelines.
- Home Wiring
- Basic Home Wiring Diagrams with Pictures
- This link is helpful for application Electrical Codes: Electrical Code Articles
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Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.