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Radiant Roof Heating - Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What types of radiant heating cable and elements are available?
A. A wide variety of both line-voltage and low-voltage heating cables/elements are available from the top providers. These systems will work with almost any application. Make sure the supplier you work with offers different brands as well as different types of systems. One recommended low-voltage system is FloorHeat, which is also self-regulating and can be used for radiant floor heating as well as roof heating applications.
Q. How does the low-voltage floor heating system affect hardwood floors?
A. Low-voltage FloorHeat is an excellent system for heating under hardwood floors because of its low profile and "no-buildup" characteristics. The thin heating element is installed under the hardwood flooring and nails can be used to secure it to the floor without causing any damage to the system. The low-voltage system produces evenly distributed heat that has no negative effects on hardwood floors or any other type of flooring. (Click here for more info: Heating under hardwood floors.) FloorHeat is also an excellent system for heating under carpet, and can be installed directly under the carpet pad.
Q. What is the difference between low-voltage and line-voltage systems?
A. The main difference between low and line voltage cables is in how the heating cables are controlled. Low-voltage cables require a control box and transformer, whereas line-voltage cables only require a thermostat. In terms of safety, when installing a low-voltage system, the chances of being hurt by voltage during installation is minimal (unlike line-voltage). Low voltage will give you a bit of a shock, but won’t cause lasting damage. However, low-voltage cables are not safer than line voltage cables once they are embedded in a medium. So the "added safety" of low-voltage systems may be a bit of a misnomer.

Another misperception is that low-voltage systems are cheaper to operate. Unfortunately, this is also untrue. In fact, line-voltage cables tend to be less expensive per square foot when heating smaller areas. Read more about line-voltage and low-voltage radiant heat systems.
Q. Can low-voltage heating elements be installed in thinset?
A. Yes. One popular radiant heating system (FloorHeat) consists of a thin, semi-conductive polyethylene heating element that can be installed in thinset. The low-voltage, self-regulating heating element can also be used for roof deicing applications.
Q. What is the best low-voltage system for melting snow and ice on roofs?
A. RoofHeat STEP is a highly recommended roof heating system that is typically used to heat roof valleys and edges. It can also be used for heating entire roofs or gutters. If you are interested in low-voltage roof heating systems, it would be best to speak to a roof heating expert to learn what your best options would be. This low-voltage system can also be installed to heat metal roofs.