Heated floors in Calgary are an incredible luxury, but how long can you expect them to last and is in-floor heating worth it?
How Long Does In Floor Heating Last?
A radiant floor heating system is made of specialized materials that are highly durable. With care and preventative maintenance, radiant systems can last a very long time. Compared to traditional heating systems (like forced air furnaces), the lifespan of radiant heating is considerably longer; it can easily double or triple (if you are lucky!) the 10-25 year life expectancy of forced air heating systems.
However, the mechanical parts can fail and will need replacement to keep the heating elements working correctly. The two leading types of floor heating systems use vastly different methods to heat a space. These systems are electric floor heating and hydronic floor heating.
Electric In Floor Heating
Although many electric radiant heat systems in Calgary come with a 25-year warranty, the lifespan is typically much longer. For example, electric underfloor heating, which supplies heat through cables or mats, can last upwards of 30-40 years.
Hydronic In Floor Heating
A hydronic heating system provides heat via special flexible “PEX” tubes beneath your flooring. This plastic tubing can last between 30-50 years. However, since water must be heated and travel through the system, a boiler and a pump are also required. You can expect a boiler to last 15-20 years, but a pump may fail after ten years.
When Should I Replace My In Floor Heating?
The last thing anyone wants is to find their in floor heating system has stopped working. It’s important to recognize the signs of a declining floor heating system so that you can share them with a professional because repairing or replacing your in floor heating system is not a DIY project. If you address issues early, you can prevent more serious problems from happening.
Common radiant heat system challenges include:
Age of System
Heated floors start to show their age over time. Maybe you inherited a radiant floor heating system when you purchased your Calgary area home? If so, you probably don’t know its exact age. But, if you believe installation occurred 20+ years ago, you may start to notice some issues.
Although durable, the heating cable in an electric system can become faulty. This could be due to corrosion or something as simple as cracked tiles. In addition, hydronic systems are known to experience airlock problems and zone valve or pump failure. If you are considering a renovation or face excessive repairs, replacing an old heating system might be the best option—the cost per square foot is surprisingly reasonable.
Frequent Electrical Issues
Are you experiencing regular electrical issues with your electric floor heating system? Malfunctioning thermostats are a common reason in floor radiant heating systems stop working. (Thankfully, replacing these units is quick and easy, so your radiant system will soon fill your whole room with warm air again!) On the other hand, corrosion and fraying can also occur and cause shorts or breaks. For any suspected electrical issues with your electric radiant heat system, always contact a licensed electrician to investigate.
Increased Energy Bill
You probably installed a radiant floor system expecting to see your energy bills decline. If you aren’t enjoying energy savings each month, a smart thermostat can lower your heating bills. A programmable thermostat significantly reduce your costs and help you get the most out of this modern heating solution. Start heating your floor only when you want it heated vs all day, every day!
Also, be sure to use the best flooring material to avoid heat loss. Solid wood flooring is not ideal because it absorbs and holds heat. Floor coverings, like rugs, do the same. Use materials like engineered wood, tile or stone instead. These energy efficient floor surfaces warm up quickly and allow the heat to rise.
Defective Heat Mat
Radiant floor heating systems should distribute heat evenly and provide a warm, comfortable environment. However, if your floor is taking longer to heat up initially, doesn’t reach your desired temperature, has stopped providing heat to certain areas, or has ceased working entirely, your floor mat might be defective. A professional can determine if an isolated area can be repaired or if the entire heat mat needs to be replaced.
Although a fairly rare occurrence, the piping used in a hydronic system can become damaged. Corrosion may be the cause, but remodelling is more often the culprit. Unfortunately, broken pipes lead to bigger problems. Depending on the extent of the damage, all flooring and the radiant heat system may need to be replaced.
Should I Get In Floor Heating Maintenance?
To save electricity and preserve your in floor heating system, avoid setting the temperature too high and maintain it properly. Ideally, a service professional with expertise in radiant floor heat should perform a thorough inspection. Annual maintenance will ensure your system is energy efficient and in good working order. (Be sure to check your warranty, this service may be a requirement!)
Radiant In Floor Heating System Installation in Calgary
Certified technicians at Sun Solar and Electrical professionally install Nuheat in floor heating systems throughout Calgary. So whether you’re building a new home or embarking on a renovation project, we’re here to help. Contact us today—we’d be happy to discuss the estimated installation cost and share details about our total care warranty!