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Name: Brian O.
Status: Student
Age: 17
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: March 2004

Working on our physics project, we are designing an energy-efficient home and are considering installing radiant electric floor heating. We have determined it's more efficient (relative to the house itself) to use electric resistance heating cables buried in high-mass concrete rather than a water-based system. The question we cannot answer is it more efficient to use 240 volt cables or 120 volt cables? And by efficient, we mean the cost to operate the heating cables over a typical Washington, DC winter.

For the cables in the floor it makes no difference, because all the power you dump there goes into heating. For transmission to/from the floor, you would like to minimize the resistive losses (I*I*R). For a given power P=VI, you can lower the resistive losses by increasing the voltage.

Tim Mooney

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