Retrofit opportunities grow as electric radiant products become more customizable
Electric radiant heating on the rise.
From floor warming to snow melting, electric radiant heating is growing in popularity each year in both new and retrofit projects in markets across the country.
Perhaps one of the biggest trends in electric radiant heating is in how the cable is uncoupling, which helps prevent damage to tile and stone floors.
“[A] trend that we have identified is the continued growth of uncoupling membrane-based floor-heating systems,” says Julia Billen, owner and president of WarmlyYours. “Ever since we launched the Prodeso Cable Installation Membrane, which can be paired with the TempZone floor-heating cable, the combination has posted quarter-after-quarter growth. The installers appreciate the speedy installation the combo offers while homeowners are motivated by the long-lasting uncoupling benefits, which can extend the life of a tile floor.”
Alice Warnier, North American marketing manager for Warmup, also says uncoupling membrane-based floor heating systems are becoming popular as well as the use of smart thermostats with electric radiant floor-heating systems.
Shelby Hyatt, product manager for SunTouch, agrees: “Uncoupling membranes that provide a way to secure electric heating wire, Smart WiFi thermostats that provide remote access through a mobile app and easy-to-use thermostat touchscreens that can be customized to better match décor,” are all growing in popularity, Hyatt says.
Billen also has noticed a trend in certain real estate markets.
“For one, some of the major metro areas with the hottest real estate markets have grown substantially in floorheating sales,” she says. “Los Angeles, Chicago, Minneapolis and Seattle all saw double-digit growth in floor-heating sales in Q2 2017, along with substantial increases in home values.”
Customizable floor-heating systems are also becoming more popular, Billen adds: “While every electric floor-heating system is customizable to some extent, our TempZone Custom Mats are built-to-order and have been growing rapidly. In fact, year-to-date, TempZone Custom Rolls have grown 16% in sales from the year prior.”
Meeting a need
To meet growing consumer demand for uncoupling membranes, SunTouch offers its HeatMatrix uncoupling membranes, which protect tile and electric floor-warming systems from damage caused by moisture and floor movement, Hyatt says. Additionally, the SunStat Connect thermostat gives homeowners the option of adjusting settings using the touchscreen or the Connect app on their mobile devices.
“It can be set to control the floor temperature as well as provide a limit on the air temperature, if preferred,” Hyatt says. “Other notable features include an outdoor temperature display, energy use monitoring, trilingual menus and customizable color themes.”
Billen says WarmlyYours stays on top of trends by being responsive and paying attention to their customers’ needs.
“Our warehouse staff is top-notch and they really do deserve a lot of the credit,” she says. “Our expansive product portfolio also means that we have a floor-heating system for practically every floor type. This is a huge benefit for installers because we function as their one-stop-shop for floor-heating needs — they don’t have switch suppliers between projects because of different flooring types.
“The growth that we’ve seen in customizable floor heating systems and uncoupling membranes paired with a floor heating system seems to be largely driven by installers,” Billen adds. “Both the TempZone Custom Mats and Prodeso uncoupling membrane with floor heating offer different ways to save time on the installation, and as we all know, time is money in today’s busy marketplace.”
Warmup recently released the DCM-PRO uncoupling system.
“The DCM-PRO Floor Heating System combines the heating cable, anti-fracture membrane and 4iE Smart WiFi Thermostat” to help meet market demands, Warnier adds.
The future for the entire remodeling market looks pretty bright, in general, Billen says.
“For floor heating itself, we expect to see continued growth in some of the major metro markets; we also expect to see continued growth in sales of the Prodeso membrane and TempZone floor-heating cable.”
Keeping up with these trends will require contractors to stay on top of the latest information and training.
Hyatt predicts products that make adding comfort to cold spaces easier and more affordable will continue to become more popular and suggests “attending trade shows, subscribing to industry newsletters and magazines, and periodically checking manufacturer websites” to find out what’s new.
Billen says contractors need to know that there are resources available that can help make a project easier.
“It’s also why we’ve developed tools such as the Instant Quote Tool, Operating Cost Calculator and Heat Loss Calculator,” she says. “These tools take most of the guesswork out of floor heating. With just a few moments, a smartphone and some project information, you can identify what system will work best for your project, how much it will cost to run and if it can be a primary heat source for room,” she says.
“We know that floor heating isn’t used in the vast majority of remodeling projects. We don’t expect every contractor to be a subject-matter expert in floor heating — that’s our job.”