Q: I love warm floors on a cold morning, so when we remodeled our kitchen we had an electric radiant heating grid installed under the new tile. It's great when it heats up, but takes almost 30 minutes. What's wrong?

— Helen, Westbrook, CT

A: Richard Trethewey replies: Your floor is fine, but your expectations may need a little fine-tuning. Radiant floors of any type, whether electric or hydronic, aren't like forced-air heating systems — turning up the thermostat doesn't produce instant heat. Before a floor can radiate heat, its mass has to heat up, and that takes time, particularly when the surface is covered with tile. Some people put their floor's thermostat on a timer so the surface will be warm before they get up in the morning, The problem is that whenever the timer turns the thermostat off, the floor unloads its heat energy, which then takes a while to reload. My recommendation: Set the thermostat to 66 degrees or 67 degrees and don't mess with it until spring. Who wants to walk over a cold floor in the middle of the night anyway?
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