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.
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.