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Radiant Floor Heat

We are putting in a walk-in shower in our master bath on the 2nd floor. Do you think Radiant floor heat or electric floor heat is better or more efficient under tile in bathroom? Why? Can either type of floor heat be used under shower floor?
Thank You.

Re: Radiant Floor Heat

You would have to consider a number of factors before determinig what is best for your particular installation.

Do you have hydronic heat now for the rest of the house? If so, is it baseboard/radiator or radiant? Do you live in a very cold section of the country?
Is your electric rate closer to 14 cents/kwh or 6 cents/kwh?
Do you have underfloor joist access to the bathroom floor?

If you already have hydronic heat & underfloor joist access, the installation cost for hydronic radiant may be attractive enough to go with hydronic; if you have HW baseboard; a separate staple-up floor joist radiant zone can be installed with a 3-way mixing valve & t-stat to heat just the bathroom/shower area.

Electric radiant, however, otherwise has a lot of advantages, as the sites below point out.

The sites have a long discussion on the pros & cons of each system.

There is better temp control of elec. the system can be completely controlled within an hour or less by a thermostat; radiant tends to have a slower response of several hours, thus more fuel is burned, as the bathroom radiant zone must be kept on constantly.

If the radiant floor is going to be installed solely in the bathroom, the installation & operating costs for electric radiant will probably be lower; either system can be installed under the shower stall as well.

If you don't have hot water heat now & want HW radiant, $5k to $8k would have to be spent to put in a boiler to have HW radiant, wheras electric radiant could be installed for ~$600 as a thin pad with a T-stat under the new floor.

Be it a hydronic or electric installation, both systems are installed as a separate bathroom zone with its own t-stat.

Best bet would to consult the Yellow Pages for specialists who install radiant floor systems; check under "Heating Contractors" to get several estimates for BOTH systems, keeping in mind the equipment you have now & your local electricity rates; the contractor should be able to give you some accurate numbers as to how much each system will cost to install, & how much it will cost to run on an annual basis.

For further info on this topic, Google "radiant floor heat electric hydronic" (do not use the quotation marks).


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