Menu Close

Floor warming and primary heating with STEP Warmfloor

Underfloor electric radiant heat products are great for floor warming, but offers products that can heat not only the floor, but your whole home.

STEP Warmfloor, carpet basement

Underfloor electric radiant heat products are great for floor warming, but offers products that can heat not only the floor, but your whole home.

Floor warming is basically taking the cold chill away from the room while relying on the primary heating system to heat the entire room. Ninety percent of the radiant floor heating systems that designs are specifically for floor warming. Often though, the amount of heat energy installed into the floor is enough to properly heat the entire room throughout the winter. We design STEP Warmfloor systems for bathrooms and kitchens, but much more often we design systems for the coldest area of the home—the basement family room. I often hear stories from homeowners complaining that they don’t occupy the basement level in their home due to lack of comfort. can help you make this change.

Many of us have experienced “cold basement syndrome” where the home is heated with a primary heat source—most often a gas forced air heating system. The main level of the home is adequate at best in providing comfort to the occupants. However, when you check the temperature of the basement, it is not uncommon to see a temperature drop of 5-15 degrees. These situations are best suited for the energy efficient STEP Warmfloor heating system which provides both floor warming and comfort. Often the added electric energy cost to heat the space will be offset by the lower consumption of the gas forced air heating system. The homeowner may shut down the heat registers in the basement that force the heat to the upper levels of the home.

Utilizing underfloor STEP Warmfloor electric radiant heating as a primary heating system can be accomplished very easily. It can be installed as a retrofit into an existing home or at the time of new construction. The most important step is to calculate a heat loss, which a sales representative will do for you. This calculation takes into account the volume of the home in cubic feet and more importantly the location of the home with respect to heating degree days (HDD) as well as the respective insulation levels (R values) for the attic and walls. Once this vital information is obtained and heat loss is determined, will design a STEP Warmfloor system to meet the heating needs of the house or room.

I often come across websites that say you need to have an electric radiant floor heating system capable of producing 12 watts per square foot or more to provide primary heating. Really? I call this “Tim the Tool Man Taylor Syndrome.” (I dated myself with that statement.) If 12 watts per square foot are not enough, then crank up more power! Many people don’t understand that some of the cable heating systems produce output temperatures of 120-130 degrees Fahrenheit. Wow! It’s a good thing we have a floor covering over the top of them. Hotter is not better, it only leads to wasted energy.

Let’s look at a STEP Warmfloor system that designed for a new home built in Minneapolis, Minn. The heat loss calculation called for 7,300 watts to heat the main floor. But, using the 12 watts per square foot that some so-called experts say you need to heat a home with, you would need approximately 11,880 watts to heat the same square footage with an electric radiant cable system. That is a whopping 39 percent more energy on your electric bill than what is really needed. I did not even factor in the fact that STEP Warmfloor is self-regulating and will draw less energy as it warms up and operates at a low temperature. Why put more energy into a home than what is needed? It just costs more to install and operate the system.

Another concept that many people don’t understand is that heat always goes to cold. The higher the temperature we have on the floor the more heat is lost to the rooms or ground below. We always recommend covering the concrete basement floor with insulation such as a quarter-inch cork underlayment before installing our STEP Warmfloor system. Insulating the concrete will improve the radiant heating performance and lower energy consumption.

The advantages of a primary heating system utilizing the STEP Warmfloor product are energy efficiency and reliability. I forgot to mention no maintenance. Hmmm…sounds like an idea for my next blog!

To learn more about our radiant heating product, call (800) 785-8738 or visit