We recently visited a customer’s home in the suburbs of Chicago. The customer had called to express concern he had with cold spots in their floor. There were cold spots in different places throughout the room that the customer described as cold “stripes” on the floor.
WarmlyYours knows that 99.9% of the time, a floor heating system will either work or it won’t. There’s no in-between. If there are areas that feel colder or hotter than the rest of the floor, the only explanation is a defect in the function of the watts per square foot in that area of the floor.
The National Electric Code requires that the watt density per square foot should not exceed 15 watts per square foot. The more wires that are placed in a square foot, the hotter that square foot will be. Conversely, the fewer wires in that square foot, the cooler it will be. No wires in that square foot results in no heat in that area. Our mats use 2” or 3” spacing between the cables as they are attached to the fiberglass mesh. If the wires are placed closer together, that area will be warmer than the other evenly spaced areas in the floor. Yet, on the other hand, if the wires are spaced 5” apart, that spot will be much cooler than areas with correct wire spacing.
Often, the homeowner doesn’t realize that the heat from a radiant floor heating system only travels 1-1.5 inches laterally from the wire. This phenomenon is shown in the pictures below. This is why a small heating mat placed in the middle of a floor will not heat the entire floor surface in that room, it will only heat the area that it is directly under. These areas without cable are shown as blue areas in the pictures. The more blue the area, the cooler it is.
Here we can see where the panels were spaced too far apart. This results in “striping”. The blue area is much cooler than the heated area.
This photo on the right illustrates two issues:
- Cold (blue) areas directly in front of the vanity where a person normally stands.
- Dark red areas showing where the cable was placed too close together.
Here we can see an installation with obvious spacing issues.
The moral of the story is to follow the plan that WarmlyYours supplies. We have a team whose only job is to design installation plans for rooms. The experienced Engineers are knowledgeable and are experts at creating installation plans for evenly spaced, radiant heat throughout the room(s).
Thinking about heating your floors? Send us a plan and watch us work our magic, right under your toes.