Radiant Heat Driveways: Energy-efficient, Safe, Saving you Time and Hard Labour
Say goodbye to winter shoveling by installing a radiant electric heater into your driveway. This electric snow melting system will mean that hard manual labour after each heavy snowfall is a thing of the past.
You can also install radiant heat cables into stairways, walkways, passages and other places that can become dangerously slippery during the cold winter months. So you can say goodbye to scattering salt and other eco-unfriendly chemicals too! You can even heat install radiant heat technology into your roof to prevent accumulated snow build up and help to prevent shingle damage and leaks inside your home.
Eco-friendly technological advances
Heated, indoor underfloor systems were invented by the Romans but the technology has advanced leaps and bounds since those early days.
Today’s electric radiant heat systems are pretty much maintenance free and will provide many years of snow-free drive ways, walkways, stairs, roofs and other locations where they are installed.
Electric radiant heating systems work by means of heavy duty, weather resistant cables which are embedded within the surface material and provide 30-50 watts of heating per square foot. The system is activated by an automatic sensor which can detect when temperatures are dropping and switches on the heat. Similarly, the heating elements are switched off by a thermostat which detects when the heating is no longer required. Once turned on, the heat quickly radiates across the surface area so that any snowfall or ice melts and drains away without accumulating.
How much does it cost?
Electric radiant heat systems are very efficient and cost effective since you will no longer have to pay anyone to shovel the snow or plough your drive way. Also, think of all the time and energy you will save by NOT having to use a snow blower!
You will also find that your concrete or asphalt driveway will last longer, crack less and maintain its appearance better when you no longer have to use salt or other harsh snow and ice-melting chemicals – which can be a substantial savings over replacing the surface every few years. And radiant heat driveways are a very attractive feature when you decide to sell your property.
An additional advantage is that radiant heat drives and walkways are very environmentally friendly since you will no longer need to use salt or potassium chloride to melt your snow and ice. Both of these are highly toxic to plants, damaging leaves and other growing parts, and leaving your lawn and garden an eyesore in early spring.
When should I install my radiant heat driveway?
The line-voltage heating cables can easily be installed into pre-existing driveways, roofs, staircases and other structures. Or, if you plan to resurface your driveway or replace your roof, you can plan to install them at the same time. The best time of year for installing radiant heat cables is in the summer or early fall before the colder weather sets in.
With the advent of extremely harsh and extended winters in recent years and with the implications of global warming being that this trend will continue in the foreseeable future, electrical radiant heat driveways, walkways, stairs and other structures are becoming increasingly popular in both private residences as well as hospitals, libraries, schools, and other buildings much frequented by the public.
The small cost of heating your driveway compares more than favorably with the cost of paying someone to shovel, snow-blow or plow away the snow and is more than compensated for by the time and labour saved and the convenience of always being able to drive and walk safely out of your residence no matter the extremes of the weather.
You can also install radiant heated floors within individual rooms inside your home, such as in the bathroom, at a very reasonable cost. Imagine the joy of getting out of your shower and stepping on to a cozily warm surface instead of that cold hard tile. Contact our customer service team at www.heavenly-heating.com to find out more and arrange a free quotation.
All you need to know about installing heated floors in your bathroom
There’s nothing quite so soothing as waking up in the morning to a heated bathroom floor.
Just imagine stepping out of your tub or shower on to that lovely warm, comforting surface…. Or feeling that gentle heat permeating through to your bones as you brush your teeth and watch the snow fall outside the window….Heated bathroom floors have been around since Roman times although the technology has changed a little bit since then!
These days, heated bathroom floors tend to be one of two systems, either:
- electric radiant heat which uses electric heating elements to provide the warmth, or
- hydronic heating systems in which hot water is distributed through a network of tubes beneath the floor surface.
If you’re renovating your whole house or building a new home and plan to have heated floors throughout, then the hydronic heating system makes the most sense. It is easy to install during the construction process and can easily be interconnected to warm several rooms on the same system.
If, however, you are renovating only your bathroom then it is far easier and more economically viable to make use of the electric radiant heat system.
How electric radiant floors are installed
Your electrician and tile setter will have to work together to install your heated bathroom floor. The heating cables that lay beneath the surface have to be interlaced with mesh mats and fixed in place with thin set mortar on top of which porcelain, ceramic or natural stone tiles are placed. The cables themselves are so thin that the floor’s height remains the same as in areas that are not heated.
Natural stone, ceramic and porcelain are very good conductors of heat and are impermeable to water which is why they make excellent materials for use on your heated bathroom floor. They also retain heat for a very long time, so will continue to warm your bathroom even when the power supply is turned off.
Wood is not so good for use on heated bathroom floors because it is a poor conductor of electricity and will take longer to heat up, cool down and dissipate heat evenly.
How to set the temperature
Your heated bathroom floor is controlled by an electronic thermostat and can be turned on manually or, better yet, automatically. Programme your floor to switch on say 30 minutes before you plan to get up and take your shower so that the bathroom is beautifully warmed ready for your early morning shower!
Are electrically heated floors safe?
You’re right in thinking that electricity and water make a fatal mix – but rest assured that electric radiant heat floors are always installed with a 20-amp dedicated GFCI protected circuit that cuts out instantly and automatically at the first hint of moisture. In addition, all radiant heat floors contain a cut-out thermostat and other features that stop them from overheating so you will never burn your feet!
Once installed, electrically heated bathroom floors can actually save you money since you can limit your heating to only the bathroom area and set your other rooms at a slightly lower ambient temperature. In addition, stone, porcelain and ceramic tile retain heat so even after your system switches off your floor will continue to radiate warmth for some time to come.
Even the cost of installation is now much more reasonable compared with, for example, a few years ago when heated bathroom floors were accessible only to the very wealthy.
Nowadays in a 100 square foot bathroom you can expect to spend from $900-$1,500 installing a heated floor.And heated bathroom floors are a very attractive feature when it comes to reselling your property! All in all, an electric radiant heat floor can add immensely to the enjoyment and value of your property and you’ll probably find that once you have one, you’ll wonder however you survived those cold mornings and evenings without it!
How to Get Rid of Roof Ice Dams for Good
Ice dams that build up on your roof in winter can be the source of a great deal of costly damage due to lifted shingles, perforated roof membranes, soggy insulation that needs to be replaced – to say nothing of the dangers to you and your family if you should be hit by an icicle or dislodged packed snow that suddenly drops from your eaves.
Ice dams are caused by a combination of different factors, including:
- Snowfall accumulation on your roof.
- Warmer roof temperatures higher up than lower down due to inside heat escaping through the attic and warming higher sections (where roof temperature will probably be above 32°C) but lower sections remaining far cooler (ie, less than 32°C).
- The average temperature outside is 32°C or lower.
An ice dam will build up when warm air from the attic causes accumulated snow on your roof to slowly melt and trickle down to the cooler roof sections near roof edges and gutters where the water then freezes into the non-melted snow and so builds up to create a dam.
As more snow falls, your chances of getting an ice dam increase due to snow’s insulating properties which protect the roof from the outside cold temperatures and make it absorb more easily the warmth from inside your attic, meaning that you get more snow melt to add to your ice dam!
As days go by and the process repeats itself the dam will get bigger as snowmelt backs up higher on the roof and eventually the water may find an escape in tiny cracks and fissures behind tiles and shingles until finally it could even seep inside your walls and ceilings. If it reaches this stage then you truly have problems on your hands and plenty of expensive major roof and interior renovation work ahead.
Fortunately Heavenly Heating Inc. of Vaughan, Toronto has an easy solution at hand that doesn’t involve dangerous excursions up on to your slippery roof, or using scrapers and sharp instruments to remove the ice blockage (and perhaps damage your roof in the process) or the use of noxious chemicals that could possibly have negative effects on the environment or even the health of you and your family.
Instead, Heavenly Heating Inc. will drape their de-icing cables on the bottom section of your roof towards the end of Fall, in a similar manner to the way you hang your Christmas garlands, with the lowest part of the loop dipping down into the edge of your gutter. When it snows, automatic sensors click the electric de-icing cables on and you can watch as the snow starts to melt and drips right away down, along the gutter and through your down spout where it can drain away and so do no damage to your roof. The system automatically shuts itself off once the snow has gone, so you don’t use energy unnecessarily.
The great benefits of de-icing cables are:
- They can be configured to fit any roof – either we at Heavenly Heating Inc. can install them for you or you can do-it-yourself (but remember to take all the proper safety precautions).
- They can be installed as an integral part of new construction or retrofitted to already existing roofs.
- No more damage to shingles, gutters, eaves troughs, membranes or other parts of your roof due to build-up of ice.
- No more injuries from snow slides or falling icicles breaking free of the eaves.
- No more expensive visits from professional snow and ice removal workmen.
- No need to scrape or shovel roof ice and snow in an attempt to prevent build-up.
- No need to use ice-dissolving chemicals that could discolour your shingles, corrode your roof membrane and shorten the durability of other roof parts, as well as polluting the environment and killing your plants and grass.
Six Reasons Why Under-Floor Heating Is More Efficient Than Baseboard Heating
Ground-up heat distribution direct into room so no lost energy
With underfloor heating all the heat energy dissipates uniformly through convection from ground level up directly into the air of the room itself so no heat is lost through the wall or floor ducts. According to the US Department of Energy, up to 40% of your energy bills is spent on heat lost from ducts. This can happen in one of two ways: either leaking through cracks between the duct joints or through convection heat as the warm air circulating through the ducts heats the colder surrounding air in your walls, attic or basement. And if these spaces aren’t well insulated this means you are losing a lot of heat to these areas. With underfloor heating you don’t have to worry about any of this as the floor directly ‘absorbs’ the heat and then passes this straight on into your room.
Heat radiates up evenly so no cold spots
With underfloor heating you will feel the warmth in the lower half of your rooms first – meaning you can walk around bare foot or just wearing socks even in the depths of winter and feel warm and comfortable. Think about it. Warm air duct heating systems and radiators tend to create hot spots in a room as the heat is concentrated to one or two points and has to dissipate by itself – leading to uneven warmth. You only have to go to the furthest point away from your radiator or duct to see how the temperature drops from one side of the room to the other. This won’t happen with underfloor radiant heating. The heating tubes are evenly arranged underneath the floor so wherever you walk you are going to feel a gentle warmth under foot – which in itself can make you feel instantly less chilled - especially at moments when, for example, you step out of the shower, or walk in from outside and slip off your snow boots.
Lower thermostat settings
You can set your thermostat to a lower overall temperature because you only need to be concerned about heating the lower half of the room to a comfortable temperature. As the heat rises it will cool to some extent but you will be snug and cozy close to the original source of the heat (ie, your whole floor!). Our extremities are the first body parts to feel chilled but if your feet are warm and snug then the chances are that the rest of your body will feel comfortable too.
Underfloor radiant heat plus insulation means lower energy bills
Underfloor radiant heating combined with good insulation is the most effective combination for slashing your energy bills and reducing your green footprint. The most efficient system of all is to install an underfloor hydronic radiant heating into new construction or when you are making major renovations. With a hydronic system, the heating comes from hot water passing through an organized maze of tubes embedded just below the floor surface, and the same water then circulates on to be used for household purposes. In essence you are replacing your old fashioned hot water tank with underfloor hot water tubing distributed throughout your house! The other alternative is to install electrical underfloor radiant heating in which special electrical cables replace the underfloor hot water piping and this type of system often makes more sense if you just want to install underfloor radiant heat into just one room (perhaps just your bathroom or kitchen?)
Choose your source of energy
You can choose the most economical and practical source or sources of energy for your location – solar, wind, gas, wood, oil or even propane gas to power your underfloor heating system. Really, doesn’t it make sense both economically and environmentally to harness the power of the sun to heat your indoors too? There are numerous possibilities and combinations here – our underfloor radiant heating experts at Heavenly Heating Inc. can help you to decide which source of energy would be best for you.
Reduced Medical Bills!
It may sound strange but you could well find that you spend less on medical bills once you install underfloor radiant heating. Many people with allergies suffer enormously from warm air duct systems which tend to recirculate dust, bacteria, mold spores and other contaminants through the air throughout the entire home or office. With an underfloor radiant heating system there is no circulating air to cause problems, just a gently rising invisible layer of soothing warmth to enwrap your entire body keeping you pleasantly comfortable from your feet right up to the top of your head.
For further information about radiant underfloor heating please feel free to contact our expert technicians who will be delighted to share their knowledge with you.
Telephone 1-877-52-FLOOR Or contact us online with all your questions or for a QUICK QUOTE.