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  1. #1
    steve Guest

    Default radiant heat floor in shower.

    I am told, by the architect of an upcoming project , that the owners are hoping for the bathroom floor heating system to extend into the shower. The heating system is to be electric and my instinct is to say that it can't be done. Does anybody have any advice ?. Actually , my main concern is not that the system is electric, because I assume it will be under the shower pan, but what shower pan material should be used. This particular installation will be a wheel-chair accessible shower and it would require the membrane to be close to the heating elements.

  2. #2
    Darrell G. Welch Guest

    Default Re: radiant heat floor in shower.

    None of the mfgs. of in floor electric heat recommend using their product in a WET shower floor. ( Nu-Heat, SunTouch, Infloor ) Think about the liability.


  3. #3
    Rob Zschoche Guest

    Default Re: radiant heat floor in shower.

    Even if one was ready to assume that the shower pan is completely watertight and therefore wouldn't pose a danger of water in contact with electricity, I don't think this is practical because those systems are designed to produce just enough heat to warm the tile, not enough to warm up a huge mass of mortar and pan liner and all the other materials underneath such a shower.

    As Darrell said, none of the MFR's want you to even use their product in the same sentence while talking about showers.

    Rob Z

  4. #4
    Walt Guest

    Default Re: radiant heat floor in shower.

    The assumption is that radiant heat is only available via electrical means. There's a company, in Vermont, I think that provides radiant heat via flexible tubing/piping plumbed from your hot water heater. Whether sufficient numbers of tubing (and or larger dia tubes) can penetrate the shower base barrier I leave to you to explore with the manufacturer. If it works it's alleged to be more economical to use than electric radiant. (Like comparing hot water baseboard heat and electrical resistance base board heaters.

    If you can't "google" your way to the manufacturer, eMail me and I'll try to find some info on it in my home remodeling files.

    For what it's worth. Just trying to help.

  5. #5
    Dave Ashton Guest

    Default Re: radiant heat floor in shower.

    Could you put it in the walls instead of the floor?


  6. #6
    MB Guest

    Default Re: radiant heat floor in shower.

    European companies have used hydronic heating systems with good results. In this country, however, hydronic tubing has gotten the reputation as a loser since if something goes wrong (oh, that will NEVER happen!), the entire substrate has to be removed.

    Worldwide, the switch is towards rather modern looking radiators that attch to the heating system and are bolted on walls and ceilings.

    Every system I have seen has turned into a problem for the owners.

    Suggest you contact Schluter, they have a decent system for embedding the tubing:perhaps they can recommend a system.

  7. #7
    Jim Guest

    Default Re: radiant heat floor in shower.

    Contact the Radiant Panel Association - you can "google" your way there.

    Most of the radiant heat manufacturers are members there - electric and hydronic.

    The comments about electric are correct. Most manufacturers do not recommend directly in the wet area of showers - damp areas only.

    The issue of heating mass is also correct. Additionally the evaporation load requires a higher concentration of heat.

    Hydronic system are fine if properly installed. The main problem with hydronic systems is that the minimum area to heat economically is 3,000 square feet or greater. If money is not a problem for the home owner then a small hydronic system may be the ticket.

    The RPA can give the straight goods.


  8. #8
    steve Guest

    Default Re: radiant heat floor in shower.

    Thanks for everyone's interest and suggestions. I will explore further.

  9. #9
    Joe Stoddard Guest

    Default Re: radiant heat floor in shower.

    Get ahold of Bill CLinton (not the ex-Pres, the guy who runs Bay Heating in SF) The RPA will be able to steer you to him, or call JLC. I did an article with him on using conventional HWT for radiant heat. You could do this project very inexpensively (a few hundred bucks) if you ran a single loop of PEX out of a small HWT dedicated for this purpose. It could even be one of those small electric-fired units. There are all kinds of arguments against doing this, but Clinton will counter any you throw at him - and he's been doing this for years without problems.
    Hope that helps

  10. #10
    Ron Guglielmone Guest

    Default Re: radiant heat floor in shower.

    good advice on hydronic heating can always be had by Dan Hollahan's bulletin board. He IS the hydronic guru ... Contact Plumbing Mechanical Magazing and track him down. He writes our books.

    Ya know something ... there are good reasons we never plumb heating under wet areas and toilets in particularily. In fact I'm presently re-habing /"remodeling" an Eikler "crap" insult to plumbing house bathroom now. Complete with copper radiant 5/8 copper in salt based sand slab!!! Orangeburg mainlines , Etc. Etc. But even his blunderors didnt run the grid under shower or toilet space. It's got to do with that ambient temperature and mold thing , and cracking bowls.
    And electric here is a poor uneconomic answer to radiant heat best suited to the amature. Being one who is also presently working in the mega boiler rooms of major hotels here, I can say that! An electric blankieeeee??? wooooooooosh ron

  11. #11
    Mark Guest

    Default Re: radiant heat floor in shower.
    this companies radiant heat is low voltage and can be used in a shower floor under the cpe membrane. I also contacted Noble Company and they said it was fine since the membrane has no insulating value and would not be affected by the heat that the warm floor system would generate.

  12. #12
    Riley Guest

    Default Re: radiant heat floor in shower.

    I recently installed electric in-floor heating in the mortar bed of a bathroom which had toilet, lav, and curbless shower in one common waterproofed space. I researched possible shock hazards with the heating manufacturer and possible negatives with the Noble Company and there was no problem on either end. (I DID have to install crack suppression membrane on the surface of the shower float, due to the effect of the looping heating cable creating potential fracture planes in the mortar bed.)

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2007

    Default Re: radiant heat floor in shower.

    Suntouch mats are rated for use in wet areas, and are commonly installed in custom showers ABOVE the waterproofing membrane.
    There is one other company marketing an electric system that can go in the shower, but the name escapes me at the moment. If you are in doubt, give suntouch a call and ask for the technical assitant for the Suntouch mats:

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Meadow Vista, CA

    Default Re: radiant heat floor in shower.

    Steven, that's a five year old thread you posted to.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2007

    Default Re: radiant heat floor in shower.

    It helps with archive searches! I know I use them, so others may benefit as well.

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