Energy Efficiency

Published on January 13th, 2009 | by Susan Kraemer

17

Plug-In Radiant Floor For Energy Efficient Heating

January 13th, 2009 by  

Visiting my Norwegian bachelor farmer relatives in the freezing midwest this winter, I longed for the nice warm radiant flooring we have back home in California. I wished there was a portable mini radiant floor that wimps like me could warm our feet on in these hardy houses.

[social_buttons]

Apparently, I’m not alone. Here it is: the portable radiant floor! (This is definitely going on somebody’s Christmas list for next year.)

Unlike a real radiant floor which circulates hot water through tubes coiled within a flooring medium with thermal mass to store and radiate the warmth, the RugBuddy™ utilizes a very thin element that is heated electrically. The tiny 1/16″ element is double-insulated with a full ground surround – this means that the entire core of the element is surrounded by tiny, multi-stranded wires. It is also connected to a GFCI protected plug or thermostat.

To set up your instant radiant flooring, pick a rug. I recommend a 6 X 9 foot one. (Their biggest unit, at about $350, is designed for this rug size, and you want it big.) First, lay down the non slip pad. Roll down the RugBuddy™ – tape down its sides and put your rug on top and plug it in. It uses only a couple lightbulbs-worth of electricity to really warm you from the feet up while leaving your head cooler. Speedheat, the manufacturer, invented radiant electric radiant flooring in 1985.

While not as energy efficient as real radiant flooring, it is far more fuel efficient than blowing hot air from the basement, through the house, out of the roof, which is how everybody in Minnesota heats their houses now. ( OK: just my relatives.)

Image from Flikr user satjiwan via creative commons demonstrates the installation of a real radiant floor.


Check out our new 93-page EV report, based on over 2,000 surveys collected from EV drivers in 49 of 50 US states, 26 European countries, and 9 Canadian provinces.

Tags: , , ,


About the Author

writes at CleanTechnica, CSP-Today and Renewable Energy World.  She has also been published at Wind Energy Update, Solar Plaza, Earthtechling PV-Insider , and GreenProphet, Ecoseed, NRDC OnEarth, MatterNetwork, Celsius, EnergyNow, and Scientific American. As a former serial entrepreneur in product design, Susan brings an innovator's perspective on inventing a carbon-constrained civilization: If necessity is the mother of invention, solving climate change is the mother of all necessities! As a lover of history and sci-fi, she enjoys chronicling the strange future we are creating in these interesting times.    Follow Susan on Twitter @dotcommodity.



  • stev

    i want one of those plugs hahahahahahaa

  • Uncle B

    My friend Ernie has hydrionic floor heating running off of his hot water tank! My next thought was,” Can solar-heated hot water tanks store daily heat for night-time use?”

  • Uncle B

    My friend Ernie has hydrionic floor heating running off of his hot water tank! My next thought was,” Can solar-heated hot water tanks store daily heat for night-time use?”

  • Electric heating is 100% efficient at converting electricity to heat, but if your electricity comes from coal you’re starting off with a maximum efficiency of about 30%. And since heat rises, heating your floors with an electric heater really isn’t any better than having forced air – the heat is still going to go out the upstairs ceiling if you haven’t properly insulated and weatherproofed.

    Where electric heating does save money – and where this radiant electric blanket will help – is in situations where it lets you heat only a small part of your house with electricity and keep other parts cool. My wife is constantly complaining of cold feet in winter. Having one of these that she could plug in while she sits at the dinner table or stands at the bathroom sink would allow us to lower the temperature of the house overall. Of course then she would have to carry it around with her, which is pretty inconvenient.

    I like the picture of slippers at the start of this post – that’s a much lower-tech, more environmentally solution.

  • Electric heating is 100% efficient at converting electricity to heat, but if your electricity comes from coal you’re starting off with a maximum efficiency of about 30%. And since heat rises, heating your floors with an electric heater really isn’t any better than having forced air – the heat is still going to go out the upstairs ceiling if you haven’t properly insulated and weatherproofed.

    Where electric heating does save money – and where this radiant electric blanket will help – is in situations where it lets you heat only a small part of your house with electricity and keep other parts cool. My wife is constantly complaining of cold feet in winter. Having one of these that she could plug in while she sits at the dinner table or stands at the bathroom sink would allow us to lower the temperature of the house overall. Of course then she would have to carry it around with her, which is pretty inconvenient.

    I like the picture of slippers at the start of this post – that’s a much lower-tech, more environmentally solution.

  • Electric radiant heat is now used in a variety of applications: from under rug warmers to under-desk heaters, one can now add radiant floor heat mats to any room in the house.

    Manufacturers haven’t stopped there: radiant heated towel warmers are also getting popular, as well as outdoor radiant floor heating for driveways or entryways. You can even find now outdoor heated mats that can be rolled out to create a pathway entirely free of ice or snow.

    Nicolas

    http://www.warmlyyours.com

  • Electric radiant heat is now used in a variety of applications: from under rug warmers to under-desk heaters, one can now add radiant floor heat mats to any room in the house.

    Manufacturers haven’t stopped there: radiant heated towel warmers are also getting popular, as well as outdoor radiant floor heating for driveways or entryways. You can even find now outdoor heated mats that can be rolled out to create a pathway entirely free of ice or snow.

    Nicolas

    http://www.warmlyyours.com

  • Electric heating is actually very efficient – technically speaking. Essentially 100% of the electrical energy is converted to heat energy. And having it on the floor where humans tend to roam will make it “feel warmer” in a home as opposed to forced hot air or the old cranky steam radiators. That said, electricity is usually an expensive way to heat a home (though recent surge of oil/gas prices probably made it close to parity to heating with those technologies). The only heating technologies that are more efficient that I’m aware of are those that produce more heat energy than the energy you put (paid to put) in. And, of course, that would be either solar air heaters or a solar water heating system that feeds a radiant floor heating system.

    Here is an example of some of the solar air heating systems commonly available: http://store.altenergystore.com/Solar-Air-Heaters/c469/

  • Electric heating is actually very efficient – technically speaking. Essentially 100% of the electrical energy is converted to heat energy. And having it on the floor where humans tend to roam will make it “feel warmer” in a home as opposed to forced hot air or the old cranky steam radiators. That said, electricity is usually an expensive way to heat a home (though recent surge of oil/gas prices probably made it close to parity to heating with those technologies). The only heating technologies that are more efficient that I’m aware of are those that produce more heat energy than the energy you put (paid to put) in. And, of course, that would be either solar air heaters or a solar water heating system that feeds a radiant floor heating system.

    Here is an example of some of the solar air heating systems commonly available: http://store.altenergystore.com/Solar-Air-Heaters/c469/

  • Daniel Jacobson

    How much electro magnetic pollution does rug buddy give off?

  • Daniel Jacobson

    How much electro magnetic pollution does rug buddy give off?

  • Bea

    How is this different from an electric blanket?

  • Bea

    How is this different from an electric blanket?

  • Scott_T

    I wouldnt say straight electric element heating is very efficient either. I imagine compared to a heat pump it doesnt do well at all.

  • Scott_T

    I wouldnt say straight electric element heating is very efficient either. I imagine compared to a heat pump it doesnt do well at all.

  • Steve

    Actually radiant floor heating is either electric or hydronic. They are both “real” as they both radiate heat. This would just be a portable electric version.

  • Steve

    Actually radiant floor heating is either electric or hydronic. They are both “real” as they both radiate heat. This would just be a portable electric version.

Back to Top ↑