Installation Tips to Make Sure Your Radiant Electric Heating Mats Are As Safe As Possible

If you have a cold bathroom or living room floor that makes your feet feel icy in the winter, then you may want to think about investing in a secondary heating system that complements the one you already have. An electric underfloor heating system or radiant floor variety is a good option. The heating system can reduce your energy usage for heating by an average of 10% to 20%, and the system will assist with the reduction in overall heat loss. If you want the safest radiant floor-heating system, then read through the tips below.

Invest in a Cork Underlayment

Before the radiant floor-heating mats are rolled out and attached to the floor, it is wise to add an underlayment material. An underlayment is a subfloor that adds support, cushioning, and a level surface for the floor installed on top. When a radiant floor-heating system is installed, the underlayment provides some extra functions. It provides a surface where staples can be used to adhere the electric mats and creates a vapor barrier so that water does not sit close to the electrical wiring.

Fortunately, radiant floor-heating systems are formed out of heating wires that have several different layers of material. The layers consist of the heating element, the detection wire, and a heat-resistant coating. The coating is typically made out of PVC and will keep the wiring safe from water. However, any kinks or bends in the PVC may weaken the outer coating. Water may then be able to seep in through the PVC to the wire and cause a short in the system. The entire mat may then stop working, and the wiring may be able to start a fire in the future. This means an impenetrable surface under the wiring is vital in retaining a safe heating system.

To prevent moisture from coming near the wiring that makes up the radiant heating system, secure an underlayment that is resistant to moisture. Cork is the best material to use. Cork has a cellulose structure with tightly woven cells that are watertight. This means the cork cannot absorb water or rot if water builds underneath the cork. Both natural and synthetic cork can be used as underlayment, and the material is typically thinner and between one-eighth and one-quarter of an inch. The material can be glued, stapled, and nailed in place, so it can be used in situations where the radiant heating is installed underneath wood, carpet, and tile flooring materials.

Use the Correct Wiring Product

Radiant floor-heating systems can be placed underneath tile, hardwood, and carpeting. However, you cannot use the same type of heating mats on all types of floor. If you do, then too much pressure may be placed on the wires. This can cause a break and a fire risk. If you intend on placing the heating mats underneath tiles, then you can use a more open wiring system with heat cables running through plastic or PVC mesh. Tile adhesive can be spread right over the wires, and the tiles can be secured over the top.

If you have a wooden floor or a carpeted one, then you will need to purchase heating cable mats that are encased or covered with a thin insulating material. This helps to keep the wires from sitting directly against flammable surfaces. The covering will be made from a layer of PVC or aluminum. Also, the mats will be lower heat varieties that warm more gradually than ones installed under tiling. This helps to reduce burning and heating concerns. 

You can further reduce fire concerns and friction issues that can cause wire breaks by installing a fire-resistant carpeting pad underneath the carpeting and over the heating mats. 

Talk to a company such as Feldman Brothers Electrical Supply Co for more information.