Canadian Electrical Industry News Week

September 22, 2016

Isabelle Marcil

Summer is becoming a distant memory. The leaves are changing and pumpkin lattes have returned. Despite the beautiful scenery it offers, fall also comes with its usual irritants, including cold bathroom floors in the wee hours of the morning.

Photo credit: Flextherm

Heated floors are the ideal solution and promise exceptional comfort. Once considered a luxury reserved for lavish homes, the popularity of electric floor heating systems has been growing constantly over the last decades not only because of their affordability, but because of increased awareness as more and more people experience them and want them in their own home. For installers, they represent a relatively easy sale and a quick and simple installation; for end users, they represent a feature they will brag about for years to come.

Electric floor heating systems rely on sturdy yet flexible electrical resistance heating elements wrapped in layers of insulation, copper braiding and a polymer jacket. These floor heating cables can either be installed directly onto a subfloor or embedded in a concrete slab, held in place using gauges, or are laid and secured on mats which are installed over the subfloor or the insulation over which the concrete slab is poured. Cables on subfloors are then covered with mortar or a self-leveller before the floor covering is installed.

While traditional heating systems (E.G., baseboards, forced air systems) pump hot air, which rises naturally toward the ceiling where it gathers, thus drying the air and substantially increasing energy bills, electric floor heating systems work differently.

Controlled by thermostats with a floor sensor probe installed in the floor, floor heating systems, through radiation, not only heat the floor covering, but use the solid mass of the floor to store heat, which then radiates from the floor spreading evenly throughout the room to any solid surface. Radiant heating can be compared to the sun. When the sun’s rays hit rocks, asphalt and other elements, the heat is absorbed and accumulated by these objects, which in turn then radiates back from these elements, even when it is cold outside.

Versatility and safety

Floor heating systems are easily installed in entire homes or in single rooms. They are suitable for garages, solariums and other spaces since they maintain a stable temperature despite the fenestration and constant coming and going (contrary to forced air systems, where warm air easily escapes through openings). They are also a great choice for schools, businesses, hospitals, etc. since unlike baseboards and heating systems with vents, floor heating systems have no visible components except for the thermostat on the wall, which means that furniture and equipment can be positioned anywhere.

While most manufacturers offer 120V and 240V systems, Canadian manufacturer Flextherm is one of the few companies to also offer its heating systems in 208V, making them perfectly suitable for large projects such as hotels and condo towers.

Since heating cables and mats are embedded in concrete and are therefore in an oxygen-free environment, if a spark did happen to occur, there is absolutely no risk of fire. Thermostats and expansion units used to operate and control floor heating systems are equipped with a 5 mA ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI), which monitors the amount of electricity that flows from hot to neutral. If the device detects an imbalance, it trips the circuit to prevent any shock or electrocution.

Although users regularly set them at around 22°C, floor heating thermostats can usually reach a maximum set between 30 and 40°C. This limit helps prevent the floor covering from becoming too hot as excessive heat could cause discomfort for occupants in the room.

The question of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) often comes up when addressing electric systems. A good heating cable or mat must be built in a way that eliminates EMFs. Since there is no regulation in North America that forces manufacturers to provide products free of electromagnetic fields, it is up to the manufacturer to offer this feature. All cables and mats produced by the manufacturer Flextherm, for example, are paired and twisted in a way that reduces EMFs to insignificant levels.

Best practices

The installation of a floor heating system should never be compromised; while a sink or drapes can easily be changed any time according to style, trends, or when the budget permits, most flooring stays in place for many years, so if the opportunity isn’t seized while the flooring is being redone, chances are that the opportunity is lost. And a floor heating system is typically guaranteed for over 20 years, so once it’s installed, it’s there to last and provide a new level of comfort for many years to come.

Before starting the installation, the cable insulation and resistance should be verified using a multimeter and megohmmeter to ensure the cable’s integrity. These tests should be carried out before, during and after the installation to make sure that no damage was caused to the cable during the different stages of the installation.

Planning the installation is key. The old “measure twice, cut once” saying applies to floor heating systems, as a floor heating cable cannot be cut. Cutting the cable would change its output and void its warranty. For safety reasons, any extra cable length must never be installed in walls, and for comfort reasons it should always be installed at a regular spacing throughout installation to ensure even heat.

In order to take accurate measurements, installers must calculate the complete floor surface and then deduct fixed objects such as cupboards, kitchen islands, toilets, etc. Heating cables cannot be installed under fixed objects and while they can be installed in showers, a separate cable with its own thermostat must be installed according to the building code. This will help prevent having to rip out the floor heating system throughout the entire bathroom if a shower leak occurs and waterproofing needs to beredone.

Installers must foresee the location of buffer zones. As the cable is usually a bit shorter than the total surface to be covered, installers will make sure that circulation zones are completely covered by the heating system and finish the installation in buffer zones where users do not typically step (behind a door, on the side of a toilet, etc.).

The location of the floor sensor probe must also be well thought out. As it will have the responsibility of measuring the actual temperature of the floor so that the thermostat can accurately control the floor heating system, it is important to install the probe in an area that will not be influenced by external factors (placed under a carpet or in a spot where sunrays directly beam through windows).

Hassle-free… with the right product

As they require no complicated components during installation and no maintenance once installed, electric floor heating systems are virtually hassle-free. However, not all products are created equal and installers should always opt for products built by a manufacturer that has a strong reputation in the market and that guarantees the quality of its products through vigorous quality controls and a solid warranty. Local manufacturers build products that are suited to local weather and abide to strict regulations.

Always favour companies with renowned customer service with specialists who can answer questions, provide advice in terms of product selection and support installers during installation.

Isabelle Marcil joined the Flextherm team as Communications Coordinator seven years ago. A former journalist and translator, her objective is to help individuals discover the many benefits of floor heating systems through various communication tools.



Changing Scene

  • Prev
The energy storage ecosystem and the regulatory environment in which it operates are evolving ...
It's April, which means it's time for you to ignite your competitive spark with the a new challenge ...
MP Scott Duvall has introduced an amendment to the Income Tax Act regarding travel expenses for ...
George Brown College has partnered with Hilti (Canada) Corporation to help women build rewarding ...
Signify and the National Hockey League (NHL) has announced a partnership to help the more ...
Join the Electricity Distributors Association (EDA) on March 23 for a virtual session during which ...
ABB is hosting a Smart Building thought leadership session with six webinars presented by industry ...






Canadian Electrical Contractor Discussion Group: Can You Count the Deficiencies?

EIN CECD 400Have you ever been called to fix the work of a 'handyman'?

"Was supposedly done by a"certified ' electrician....told the homeowner that he got a $266 record at TSBC. Can you count the deficiencies?"

"There is a second panel change in the triplex also.......even more deficiencies. Think the guy was a glorified handyman. Ones not obvious: 240 BB heat hooked up 120....drier on 2p20....range on 2p50....water heater fed with 2c14 Bx on 2p15."

Go HERE to join the discussion



Ideal's Stay Wired to WinIt's April, which means it's time for you to ignite your competitive spark with the a new challenge from IDEAL Nationals Canada. This month, IDEAL is asking you to show off your electrical knowledge with the most correct answers.

Five professionals and five apprentice winners will each take home a $100 VISA gift card and forged wire stripper from IDEAL.





Read More


William (Bill) BurrBy William (Bill) Burr

Section 32 – Fire Alarm Systems, Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms, and Fire Pumps, as outlined in Rule 32-000 Scope, is a supplementary or amendatory section of the code and provides additional and specific requirements for the location, installation, wiring, and protection, of

• local fire alarm systems

• permanently connected smoke and carbon monoxide alarms...

Read More


LumenpulseBy Matthew Payette

A lighting programming and control narrative is a document that is essential to coordinate the design/construction process with a fully realized final architectural product. It defines how lighting will integrate into the space and ultimately how humans will interact with that same space.

Sometimes there is a gap between the initial visions of the designers and the final product. Other times, the final product and operation of the lighting systems is achieved but after much project management distress...

Read More


Product News

  • Prev
Introducing Eaton’s Pow-R-Line CS switchboard, the most compact, expandable, service entrance ...
Individually tested to 10,000 volts AC and rated to 1,000 volts AC for safety and peace of mind. ...
The VS-AVT-C08-L10 VeriSafe Absence of Voltage Tester is the first-of-its-kind voltage tester that ...
HPS Drive Isolation Transformers, are designed to meet the rugged demands of both AC and DC ...
Plug-and-Play Gimbal System for the DJI Matrice 200 Series and Matrice 300 Offers High-Definition ...
MaxLite has announced the launch of c-Max Lighting Controls, a patent pending design that makes it ...
Klein Tools, for professionals since 1857, introduces a new line of conduit benders, available in ...
Any time an electrician or technician makes a voltage measurement on a live conductor, there is a ...
Autodesk, Inc. has announced the worldwide availability of Autodesk Takeoff, a new product ...
Autodesk, Inc. has announced Autodesk Build™, a new project and field management ...


11 Piece Insulated TorqueVario-S and SlimLine Blade Set• Individually tested to 10,000 volts AC and rated to 1,000 volts AC for safety and peace of mind.

• Meets VDE testing standards for protection against arc flash explosion.

• Torque accuracy of +/- 6% for confidence in precise tolerances.

• 33% narrower blade shafts for reaching deep set terminal block fasteners.

• Direct-molded insulation for protection against electrical shock and arc flash explosion.

Read More



FLIR TZ20 Dual Thermal Camera Drone PayloadPlug-and-Play Gimbal System for the DJI Matrice 200 Series and Matrice 300 Offers High-Definition FLIR Thermal Imaging with Zoom Capabilities to Improve Situational Awareness.

The FLIR Vue® TZ20, the first high resolution, dual thermal sensor gimbal purpose-built for the DJI®Matrice 200 Series and Matrice 300 airframes is now available in Canada. Featuring both a narrow-field-of-view and a wide-field-of-view 640x512 resolution FLIR Boson®thermal camera module, the Vue TZ20 offers greater situational awareness with a 20-times digital thermal zoom capability to complete public safety and industrial inspection missions both near and far. 

Read More



Autodesk TakeoffAutodesk, Inc. has announced the worldwide availability of Autodesk Takeoff, a new product that empowers estimators to perform 2D and 3D quantification workflows from a common data environment to increase collaboration, speed and accuracy during the estimation process.

Originally announced at Autodesk University in November 2020, Autodesk Takeoff will join Autodesk Build and Autodesk BIM Collaborate as part of the Autodesk Construction Cloud unified platform. The announcement comes one month after Autodesk Build and Autodesk BIM Collaborate were made available globally for Autodesk Construction Cloud customers. 

Read More


Peers & Profiles

  • Prev
Like most major events over the last year, the COVID-19 pandemic put serious restrictions on the ...
This past December Jennifer Green was honoured with Canada’s Most Powerful Women Top 100 Award for ...
“It was quite surprising,” said Stephanie Smith of being named EHRC’s Leader of the Year. ...
As an advanced networked lighting controls company serving the industrial and large commercial ...
Trilliant, an international provider of utility solutions for advanced metering and smart grid ...
For more than a century, ABB has been investing in Canadian technologies and products to support ...
Mackenzie Gillan, a bright young lady from Baysville, Ontario, tells us about how she learned ...
Energy Efficient Lighting is a LED lighting manufacturer with nearly 30 years of industry ...
Dee Durant is an industrial electrician apprentice attending Conestoga College and an Ambassador ...
ECAO recently launched a new program called Future Leaders Advisory Council (FLAC). Their inaugural ...

EIN Green 100 400

By Blake Marchand

This past December Jennifer Green was honoured with Canada’s Most Powerful Women Top 100 Award for the Skilled Trades category by WXN (Women’s Executive Network).

“It is truly an honour to be recognized by WXN and to be among this group of amazing women,” said Green of earning the distinction. “Throughout my career, I’ve worked with many great mentors and team members – to them, I say thank you for always inspiring me. I am absolutely thrilled.” Green is an industrial mechanic millwright by trade and works with Skills Ontario as Director of Competitions and Young Women’s Initiatives. 

Read More


Jo Istanbul Four Seasons ABy Owen Hurst

Recently, Electrical Industry Canada has developed a relationship with Women in Renewable Energy (WiRE), a non-for-profit group developing resources and networking potential for women and all working or planning to work within the renewable energy sector. Aside from being the WiRE President & CEO, Joanna Osawe is the Global Business Development Manager of Major Projects for DMC Power Inc.

EIN sat down with Osawe to learn more about WiRE and the substantial benefits it provides. Joanna is very personable and open regarding her career and her ambition, as well as the opportunities she is developing for women nationally and globally. 

Read More


Copper $US Dollar price per pound

Kerrwil Publications Great Place to Work. Certified December 2019 - December 2020

538 Elizabeth Street, Midland,Ontario, Canada L4R2A3 +1 705 527 7666
©2021 All rights reserved

Use of this Site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy Policy (effective 1.1.2016)
The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Kerrwil