What is better for a small slab on grade foundation: water (glycol) or electrical radiant heat?

Mark Dixon July 7, 2020Updated: Sept. 23, 2020

On a small footprint foundation (26 x 19 feet) what is better and/or more economical for radiant heat? I am hesitating between water with a micro boiler or electric (wires).

Also, do you think in a chalet this size with a mezzanine (70% of 1st floor) that I will need additional heating in the mezzanine bedrooms and small bathroom?



Responses (3)

Mark Dixon
Mark Dixon 2 years ago

Thanks for the response Mike.

The cottage will be close to Morin-Height, Quebec - so climate zone 6 I believe

I will look at the Legalett option. It would be interesting to learn the benefits of air heated vs. glycol or electric wires.

Re: the mezzanine heating - the cottage will a fairly traditional wall build of 2x6s. I wonder about adding vents in the floor of the mezzanine to allow the heat to more easily rise but am worried a bit about sound passing through the floor as well. We plan to have a ceiling fan in the high ceiling in front of mezzanine.


Mike Reynolds 2 years ago

Hey Mark, For Quebec the answer is always pretty easy actually - go electric. And with that I don't mean just the electric wires, I mean no matter how you heat it - wires, hydronic or air, the cleanest and cheapest energy is electric. If the mezzanine is closed in (which I'm getting the impression it is if you are concerned about sound through vents) I'd just stick a baseboard heater up there and be done with it. They are super cheap to buy and there is no difference in operational cost from radiant floors to an electric baseboard radiator. It may or may not go on, but for the cost it's the simplest solution.