01:18PM | 03/22/14
I've got a hundred year-old home with a beautiful 3 year-old stone kitchen floor that's too cold for bare feet all winter. Forced air from the 9'-8" tall ceilings is fine for A/C, but poor for heating. A home energy auditor suggested electric radiant heating retrofit from the basement; there's about 100 sf of flooring to heat so hydronic would be overkill. I've found three or four electric products designed for retrofitting from below and want to know whether people find them satisfactory (reliable, effective, and not too sensitive to install without breakage).

1. SunTouch mats are sold via the big hardware chain stores, at least online. They come in several standard lengths and staple to the joists 2 inches below the subfloor, with insulation beneath. Seems like it would be trickier to install given plumbing and other subfloor obstacles.

2. EasyWire by Heavenly Heat is a continuous resistance wire similar to the ones in SunTouch mats, but is taped directly to the bottom of the subfloor in switchback layouts (i.e. no mat). Seems more adaptable than SunTouch mats, but installation manuals make me think it might be similarly tricky to install without damaging?

3. StepJoists by ElectroPlastics mats are a plastic film that is cut to length and stapled to the underside of the subfloor, and wired up by the installer, then insulated beneath. Cutting to length seems more adaptable to working around subfloor obstacles.

4. FloorHeat is a WarmZone product that may be the same product as StepJoists, certainly very similar in installation and benefits.

5. Zmesh by Heatizone Systems is a continuous metal mesh that folds and twists, wrapping right under joists, to make a continuous heating surface across several joist bays, with power applied at the ends. Also seems quite adaptable to obstacles, and wiring would be simpler.


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