How Efficient Is Electric Radiant Floor Heat? How Much Energy Does It Use?

Electric radiant floor heating systems are generally very efficient and use as much or less energy than other heating systems.

Most electric floor heating systems use 12 watts per hour per square foot, meaning a 100-square-foot room would use 1200 watts in total every hour, or 300 watts LESS than the average space heater. A floor heating system would not only cost less to run in this scenario, but it would also heat the room evenly. The space heater, on the other hand, would make one side of the room hotter than the other.

You can easily estimate the power required to heat a particular room by following these steps:

  1. Calculate the square footage of the heated area in your space. You can get an estimate of this by multiplying the square footage of the whole room by 0.9.
    • Example: 100 sq ft  x 0.9 = 90 sq ft
  2. Next, multiply the heated area by 12 since most systems use 12 watts per square foot.
    • Example: 90 sq ft  x 12 watts per sq ft  =  1080 watts
  3. Now divide the total number of watts by 1000 to get the number of kilowatts the system will use per hour. (Kilowatts are the unit of measurement that electric companies charge by.)
    • Example: 1080 watts  ÷  1000 = 1.08 kilowatts
  4. Finally, multiply the number of kilowatts used per hour by how much the electric company charges per kilowatt in your area. The average cost per kilowatt-hour in the U.S. is $0.12, but it may be more or less in your area.
    • Example: 1.08 kilowatts  x  $0.12 = $0.13 per hour

In this example, a 90-square-foot system would cost $0.13 per hour to run. But remember: floor heating systems do not need to run 24 hours a day in order to keep a floor warm.

The best way to manage the energy use of your heated floor is with a programmable thermostat. These thermostats can be programmed to heat the floor only at the times of day that the system will be in use, and they learn to compensate for the heat-up time of your specific room. Better yet, WiFi thermostats will allow you to control the temperature wherever you are. So invest in a programmable or a WiFi thermostat for energy and cost savings in the long run.

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