Toasty toes
June 4, 2013 1:19 AM   Subscribe

Is it possible to recreate the sensation of below-floor heating in an apartment bathroom?

One of my least favorite mundane things (right after not being able to sneeze) is getting out of the shower to step onto a cold floor or bathmat. I have family friends who have a swanky house with a guest bathroom that has lovely scrumptious heating beneath the tiles, and it's heavenly. Sometimes when visiting I will just lie on the floor and do stretches! I live in a rented apartment with linoleum tile in the bathroom and very good ventilation (this is good! I live in a mold-prone zone) so it doesn't even get particularly steamy or retain heat, and this is not going to change any time soon. Is there such a thing as heated bathmats, maybe? (That seems dangerous with water, anyway.) Ideally I could just buy a thing and blammo, warm feet, but I am open to suggestions. It would need to be cleanable and portable. Does anything like this exist?
posted by Mizu to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
When I have a shower or bath in winter, I like to make a hot water bottle first and put it under the bathmat before I get in. You don't fill it too full, so it's not in danger of exploding when you stand on it. And if you have multiple hot water bottles, you can put one inside your folded clothes for after the shower too. I guess a heated towel rack would have a similar effect, and you could pull the bathmat off that just as you get out of the shower, if it's within reach. But I don't have one of those.
posted by lollusc at 1:32 AM on June 4, 2013

Well, if you're fond of your apartment and see yourself being there for a while, and if your landlord is amenable (especially if the linoleum is getting old anyway), you could always do it right and put in radiant floor heating yourself. Probably can be done for less than $800 (some random ranges online are saying even $500, but I don't know the market where you are) or so. Not cheap or easy to get installed, but not that expensive for something that would give you enough enjoyment, if you're able to use it for a number of years.

Failing that, I've got a ceiling-mounted bathroom fan and heater that gets the whole bathroom downright toasty warm quite fast. I believe it is something like these Panasonic models. If it's compatible with the ducts and ceiling in your bathroom, a ceiling heater/fan like that one could be a pretty straightforward addition that would be safer than any sort of space heater.

For a cheaper and simpler option, I'll note that space heaters claim to have "bathroom safe plugs" or similar features. I've never used one, and would be concerned about safety, but it's worth looking into. You could always run it for a bit pre-shower and then unplug it and get it out of there before anything starts happening with water.

Lastly, they do make heated electric mattress pads. Same basic sensation, but in your bed. Not quite the same, but friendly for apartment dwellers as long as there's an outlet nearby. Set it to preheat before your shower, and your comforter (and anything you tuck in there to warm up too) will be nice and cozy when you come out. Of course, this may be a negative feature if the goal is to get moving and not back toward bed in the morning, but with great power comes great responsibility, YMMV, etc...
posted by zachlipton at 1:58 AM on June 4, 2013

I just set up a small space heater in the bathroom and let it run while I'm showering.

I don't really get how a space heater would be's not like I've got it sitting in the shower with me.

When I come out, the room (and floor) is warm and toasty.
posted by phunniemee at 4:42 AM on June 4, 2013

Could you get a heated towel rack and drape your bathmat over that, or throw the mat into a towel warmer?
posted by specialagentwebb at 6:04 AM on June 4, 2013

Your floor is probably vinyl, which is pretty cold underfoot. Would your landlord let you put down stick-on cork squares? Cork is a lot warmer, and not terribly expensive. It should be polyurethaned in a bathroom.

I have a small heater in my bathroom because I keep the heat pretty low in winter. Any electrical device you use in a bathroom or wet space must be on a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter), and your landlord should have already made sure your bathroom outlets are protected.

Heated Floor Mat
Electric Radiant Floor Heating Mats & Kits
Floor Mat Accessories
Portable Electric Radiant Floor Heating for Under Area Rugs

Thanks for the question - I'm about to re-floor my bathroom, and this is an excellent idea.
posted by theora55 at 6:55 AM on June 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

Heated slippers!!!
posted by thatone at 10:13 AM on June 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

thatone: Heated slippers!!!
posted by IAmBroom at 10:27 AM on June 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

Look into the tiny heated mats that go under bathmats, as theora55 suggested. RugBuddy is a brand I have heard well of, though I am not sure if they make a size that would work for your bathroom. In any case, it's very nearly the exact effect of radiant floor heating and it's a non-permanent solution you can take with you when you move.

You definitely want a GFCI outlet to plug it into, though.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:38 AM on June 4, 2013

Fwiw, heated towel racks use an INSANE amount of electricity.
posted by 2soxy4mypuppet at 4:40 PM on June 4, 2013

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