I would like to install electric heated floors throughout a home built in 2008 (In BC, Canada) to replace a forced air furnace system. I am wondering if this project will require running a new set of electrical lines to each of the rooms or whether it'd be possible to sacrifice one of the electric outlets in each area to feed the electric heaters.

Is electric heating a reasonably good long term solution? Most homes I've seen have hot water radiant heat systems instead of electric ones, but that's not an option for an already built home I assume.

  • Size of (BTU/Hr, MBTU/hr or KW) and efficiency of current furnace, plus fuel source and cost of that fuel source, plus local electrical costs, will allow some non-speculative numbers in my answer...
    – Ecnerwal
    Mar 1, 2015 at 2:59
  • I've never heard of anybody heading a while house with electric in-floor heating, only small areas like bathrooms and kitchens. And even in those cases, it was just too heat up the floors a bit for comfort. Hearing a while home this way sounds expensive, unless of course you get your electric for free.
    – Tester101
    Mar 1, 2015 at 14:04
  • In the US, our NEC generally requires separate wiring and breakers for any "permanently installed" items. e.g. dishwasher, disposal, over-range microwaves, fridges, etc, even if they plug into an outlet. So, no, I'd bet your electrical code is similar to ours in that this would not be allowed. Also, most homes I've seen are not built with any electrical outlet circuits to spare; i.e. according to the formulas, even removing one would put you below code. Be sure to consult a qualified electrician (please).
    – pbristow
    Mar 20, 2022 at 18:35

1 Answer 1


Electric resistance heat is a great long-term solution for the electric power supplier; it's usually one of the most expensive heat options for the homeowner to run, barring power subsidies or absurdly cheap power, which happens a few places, but not many. The details will be local, so you'll have to investigate the relative costs of the heat sources you have available. If you have natural gas, I'd be very surprised if electric didn't cost you 3-4 times as much to run, for instance.

In general, you are not only going to need new wires to rooms, you may need upgraded electrical service to the house. Start with "what is the BTU/Hr output of your furnace" and you can work back to kilowatts and amperes required for equivalent heat output.

3412.14 BTU/hr=1 kilowatt. 1 therm (100,000 BTU) = 29.3 KWh (if gas heater was 100% efficient) or that number multiplied by the furnace efficiency (ie, 93% high-eff furnace, 1 therm = 27.25 KWh) - fill in your local prices and furnace efficiency and you'll have a quick idea what it will cost you. For my electric cost of 15 cents/KWh, a therm would have to cost $4.08 to be equivalent to electric - while a therm around here actually costs about $1.48 - unfortunately I don't have a gas line on my road.

Hydronic radiant can be retrofit - options vary depending on construction details, and how much of the house you intend to rip apart - but you'll be similarly inconvenienced to install electric radiant, so that may be a wash.

If you have concrete floors that are not adequately insulated from the ground, radiant may never work right for those floors.

In some cases it may make more sense to install radiant in the walls or ceiling.

  • That makes perfect sense. Thank you, I just didn't have enough information to know whether this was even feasible.
    – 0x6A75616E
    Mar 2, 2015 at 1:59

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