Radiant Garage Floor Heating (Important Things You Need to Know)
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Why do you need Radiant Garage Floor Heating?
Your home is warm and cozy, even when it is below freezing outside, thanks to the HVAC. But the HVAC does not extend to the garage. So the garage gets really cold during winters. Especially the concrete floor. How can you keep your garage heated? Is Radiant Garage Floor Heating any Good?
Radiant Garage Floor Heating is good for you and your garage because it
- Is cost effective, efficient and safe
- Distributes heat evenly across the garage
- Is invisible and non-intrusive
- Is quiet and noiseless
- Is virtually maintenance free
- Is suitable for all types of garage floors
- Can be automated using a thermostat
- Can be switched on or off using manual switch, programmable timer or even wifi
- Will make your garage floor safe by keeping it free from condensation and ice formation
- Will keep your garage warm to make it a more comfortable place to work, relax or have some fun with family & friends.
- Enhances the life of several parts of your car. Batteries, tires and the paint job last longer.
- Allows you to store gear which is sensitive to temperature fluctuations.
- Prolongs the life of the garage floor itself.
In this post I shall explain what Radiant Garage Floor Heating is, how it works and how you can install it. I will also briefly cover the other alternative ways of heating a garage and show you why Radiant Garage Floor Heating is among the better options.
Why is a Cold Garage Bad for You
A cold garage is not just inconvenient, it could actually be dangerous. During winter your car is covered with snow, rain or some form of moisture. After you have parked the car in the garage the snow will melt and form a water pool around the car on the garage floor.
In the early hours of the morning, when the floor is at its coldest, this water freezes. The thin slippery sheet of ice on the garage floor is a potential safety hazard.
A cold garage is not good for you, your car and many of the other items that you may store in the garage.
Of course you can not get any work done if your garage is extremely cold. It would just be too uncomfortable unless you dress up in full winter gear.
The life of your cars is also compromised. In extreme cold, car batteries and tires underperform. The life of the paint is reduced. A heated and climate controlled garage helps to enhance the life of your cars.
Extreme cold is also detrimental to the life and performance of many of the items that you typically store in the garage. Paints will gel and become unusable. Sporting equipment such as surfboards and golf clubs are made of polymers which can become brittle and develop cracks in extreme cold.
The garage floor itself is more likely to have surface pitting and crumbling due to condensation and temperature fluctuations.
What is Radiant Garage Floor Heating?
Radiant Heating is a technique of heating a surface, such as a floor or a wall by evenly embedding heating elements within the surface. The surface gets heated evenly and then radiates the heat to the surrounding space such as a room or a garage.
The heating element may be:
- Electrical Resistance Cables (Cheaper)
- Hot Water Pipes (Hydronic)
- Hot Air Pipes (Not Common)
Radiant Garage Floor Heating systems can be incorporated in the garage floor at either the build stage or even later.
Electrical Radiant Garage Floor Heating System
In the case of a new build, the electric resistance cable is a single piece of wire that is snaked around on the garage floor before the concrete is poured. The wire gets embedded in the concrete. The concrete can be covered, as usual either by epoxy paint or coating or vinyl tiles.
In the case of an existing garage floor, you can use electric radiant floor mats. The electric resistance cable is embedded within the thin mat. The mats come in different sizes. They can be laid out on the garage floor and be interconnected. Any standard garage floor covering such as vinyl garage floor tiles can be used on top.
Warmup Inc. is the North American arm of Warmup Plc. and based in Danbury, CT. Warmup Inc. is an active member of local and national building associations. With a field sales presence across North America, they actively support their partners in promoting and installing their heating products for comfort, primary heating and snow melting purposes.
Warmup has the highest quality products. All products are backed with industry-leading guarantees as a result of extensive testing and research.
The products are European compliant, CE marked and accredited by more independent 3rd party institutions. The product accreditations include BEAB, cUL, CSA, FIMKO, SEMKO and UL. It is a global company with sales in over 70 countries.
FULL DISCLOSURE: I am not an affiliate or have any financial benefit from Warmup Inc. The information provided here is only to help my readers so that they may make a better decision when it comes to their Radiant Garage Floor Heating requirements.
Hydronic Radiant Garage Floor Heating System
Typically a hydronic Radiant Garage Floor Heating system is incorporated in the garage floor concrete at the time of pouring the new floor. The main difference is that the electric resistance cable is replaced by PEX (cross-linked polyethylene) tubing.
The PEX Tubes are attached to a hot water heater, a pump that circulates the water, and a thermostat. The hot water in the hydronic Radiant Garage Floor Heating system is kept separate from any other hot water system in the house e.g. bathroom, kitchen etc.
A layer of insulation should always be placed under the concrete slab to ensure you are not losing the heat to the cold ground below.
What are Other Ways to Heat a Garage in the Winter?
Of course Radiant Garage Floor Heating is not the only way to heat your garage in the winter. There are other options.
Most of them are even cheaper. But that does not mean they are better.
So here is a list of the other options that you have:
Infrared (IR) Garage Heater
The Infrared Heater can be mounted on the garage ceiling or wall and can run on electricity or natural gas. It heats up the garage by radiation. There is no forced air circulation. It is also, as a result, very quiet.
The infrared heater is a great option if you are looking at just heating up a limited area such as your workbench or reading nook in the garage. You can be comfortable without wasting a ton on energy costs. If you go for a portable infrared heater then you could use it in your covered patio attached to the garage, too!
Briza Infrared Patio Heater – Electric Patio Heater – Outdoor Heater – Indoor/Outdoor Heater – Wall Heater – Garage Heater – Portable Heater – 1500W – use with Stand – Mount to Ceiling/Wall from Amazon is portable, so you could mount it on the ceiling or wall of your garage, but can also move it to the covered patio if you feel like entertaining a couple of friends.
In addition it can also be mounted on a special tripod stand, making it truly versatile. It comes with a host of safety features including a programmable timer.
Keep in mind that 1500W will not heat up the entire garage. As per the thumb rule 1500W will heat up around 150 square feet. That is enough for personal comfort!
Natural Gas Model
Dyna-Glo 22,000 BTU Natural Gas Overhead Infrared Garage Heater, Grey available at Amazon. It delivers 22,000 BTU and can heat up a 550 square feet garage. The dimensions are 9 x 29 x 14.4 inches. A multi-position ceiling mount and an adjustable thermostat is included. No electricity is required as it runs on natural gas.
Forced Air Garage Heater
The forced air garage heater works by blowing hot air into the garage through a vent installed close to the garage ceiling. They can be electric or run on natural gas or propane.
They are pretty noisy and will blow dust all over the garage. So not the best way to heat a garage if you are into woodworking and creating loads of sawdust.
I do not recommend this type of heater for your garage, but if you must, you can check out Fahrenheat Ceiling-Mount 5000 Watt Electric Heater, Model FUH5-4
Mini-Split Air Conditioner
If your home is in a climatic zone which sees reasonably hot summers as well as fairly cold winters, then you need both cooling and heating. Your best bet in that case is to go for a mini-split air conditioner which has a triple function of cooling, heating and humidifying.
- 18000 BTU Mini Split Ductless Air Conditioner from Air-Con Int.
- It is a high efficiency air conditioner, heater and dehumidifier all in one.
- Built with pro-grade materials for a long life.
- WIFI ready with optional additional remote.
Combustion Space Heaters
Combustion Space Heaters heat up a garage by burning kerosene or propane. The advantage of using such a heater is that they can be operated even during a power outage. They are not only cheaper than electric garage heaters but also heat up the garage pretty fast.
On the downside, it is extremely noisy and you have to deal with the unpleasant odor too. It also adds moisture to the garage atmosphere increasing risk of rusting of certain tools and furniture.
Is Radiant Garage Floor Heating Expensive”
Radiant Garage Floor Heating is certainly an expensive proposition. The initial costs are high compared to the other options. Having said that, if you are building a new garage the best time to install Radiant Garage Floor Heating is when the concrete slab is about to be poured.
The In-Slab Cable from Warmup Inc. is designed for use within a concrete floor construction. The budgetary price is $ 4.67 per square foot. Even assuming $ 5.00 per square foot, it will cost $ 2500 for a 500 square foot garage.
Even though the initial cost is high, Radiant Garage Floor Heating systems come with a warranty of around 30 years. So from a long term perspective they may be worth it!
What about Garage Insulation?
Irrespective of the Garage Heating System you choose you must install insulation in your garage. Insulation is a passive way of reducing your energy bills.
Passive because it does not have any running costs. The only cost is the initial installation cost. And more often than not it is not too high.
When it comes to insulating a garage you have to start with garage door insulation. Find out more by reading my post An Easy Guide To The Best Garage Door Insulation.
Next in line is insulating the garage walls. Sometimes this is ignored, but of course this is critical. Three out of the six garage surfaces are garage walls. Insulating Garage Walls Is Better, But You Need To Know Why? Read my earlier blog post on this topic.
The most important insulation when opting for Radiant Garage Floor Heating is of course the garage floor insulation. Without this a big chunk of your energy bill will be just sinking into the cold ground below the garage concrete floor.
The bottom line is that Radiant Garage Floor Heating is expensive to install but more than pays for itself in the long run. The best time to install it is when the concrete slab for the garage concrete floor is being poured. That way it gets embedded in the concrete.
The garage becomes more livable and comfortable. The garage floor will no longer be a safety hazard with a frozen layer of slippery ice. Actually go a step further and install it in the Concrete Garage Apron too. You won’t need to be shoveling snow in the winter.
Thank you very much for reading the post. I do hope you found it informative and useful.