Many people love the idea of having warm toes for their first morning bathroom visit. Electric radiant floor heat has become less expensive and easier to install in the last few years, and the popularity has increased for new construction and remodels. People who have radiant floor heat love the luxurious comfort, but learn quickly that while installation costs have gone down, this type of heat can be expensive to use.
How expensive is it to run exactly? Isaac Ostrom, a residential tile construction specialist, did the hard work of calculating this for us by comparing the cost of running a system for rooms of varying sizes and for varying durations. See his full YouTube breakdown, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4UTsgL_X2H8.
For a small, 73-square-foot room, the cost of leaving the floor system on for 24 hours is $2.64 a day, or $79 a month. That same system left on for only 4 hours costs $.45 a day, or $13 a month. This cost, of course, is in addition to the usual heating expenses you are accumulating for heating the bathroom on a daily basis.
These figures tell us that it’s very important to only use the electric floor heat for a limited amount of time each day. The easiest way to do this is to use a programmable thermostat. Many of these systems now come with a programmable thermostat, however, we find that there are a couple of problems with the base level units that typically come with a system: 1. They are hard to program; and 2. After a power outage, the thermostat resets itself back to being on 24/7. Then, because they are difficult to program, they do not get reprogrammed and are again left on 24/7, and the electric bill escalates.
If you can’t easily program your electric radiant floor heat thermostat, it may be worth upgrading to one that’s easier to program and that has a battery backup or a default setting of off, instead of on. Some newer thermostats can even be controlled with your smartphone – making it easier to manage and maintain the unit. New thermostats can be installed DIY, or an HVAC or ‘handy’ professional can do it for you.
Following this advice, you can still make use of electric radiant floor heating without breaking the bank. Use in moderation, understand the cost and energy impact, and pick the right thermostat system to give your home that extra bit of comfort.