In-Floor Heating

In-floor heating gaining ground in condo market

Once seen as a luxury add-on, heated floors are becoming increasingly common
Monday, March 31, 2014
By Bill Condon

In-floor heating has become popular in the multi-family home market. Since 2004, there has been a significant increase in the number of condo units in North America being built with electrical radiant heating as a standard feature.

The reason for this growth is simple: in-floor heating, which was previously seen by many as a luxury add-on, has now been accepted as a common, efficient and simple heating solution for homes across Canada.

For condo buyers, there is a real likelihood that their new home will feature in-floor heat installed in the master bathrooms, living rooms, bedrooms, dens and entryways. And throughout 2014, the emerging trend of smart home technology within the real estate industry also means changes for in-floor heating.

Developers are keen to participate in making electrical radiant in-floor heating a staple in multi-family developments, and have responded positively to including it in their construction projects. In Vancouver, developers are setting the trend of in-floor heat by making it available to buyers at any price level and in any community.

Just 10 years ago, it would have been difficult to find heated floors outside of the downtown cores of Vancouver, Toronto or Calgary. And those few homes that did feature in-floor heating came with price tags as high as $1 million.

The trend towards in-floor heat as a common heating solution is a reaction to the more general trend of consumers looking for smaller and more affordable homes, but not wanting to sacrifice on high-end features and amenities.

With condo prices rising in all major metropolitan areas across Canada, developers are constantly searching for the right feature that will resonate with buyers without upsetting the rigid production schedules and budget restrictions that are necessary for a successful project. In-floor heat does exactly that.

In-floor heat is attractive to developers for several reasons. Certain floor heating mats can be pre-built to fit the room, and the resulting ease and speed of install is critically important in high-rise construction, as there are several rooms awaiting installation per project.

Some electrical radiant in-floor heating systems have the ability to emit 41 British thermal units per square foot, which makes them a viable primary heat source in place of a baseboard heater while creating more space and improving comfort.

Smart homes

Smart homes have become an important trend that the development industry is embracing. In the market, homeowners can find automated systems or platforms that control lighting, heating and security. Homeowners are requesting that technology in their homes to be wireless so that it can be controlled remotely and conveniently from their mobile phones.

Manufacturers of in-floor heating systems are recognizing this trend, and are creating advanced thermostats to meet these changing needs. The ability to control and monitor several heating systems with a web browser in order to increase energy efficiency is especially valuable in multi-family projects.

As homeowners are becoming more energy conscious, developers should provide practical solutions to help them keep utility bills down and energy outputs low. Now, thermostats connecting to heating systems such as heated floors have the ability to track energy use and provide comparative statistics for long durations of time, allowing homeowners to optimize their patterns of use and decrease energy outputs when necessary.

Bill Condon is business development manager for Nuheat Industries, a manufacturer of floor heating systems. He can be reached at [email protected]

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