Heating up Luxury

Luxury in the home typically involves the use of opulent materials or products. In kitchens, bathrooms, bar areas and other spaces that include countertops, luxury more often than not involves the use of stone countertops, most often granite. The surface characteristics of stone make it a poor thermal conductor, so these luxurious countertops feel cold to the touch despite being room temperature. This is a problem that Jahn Stopperan, president of Heated Stone Products in Lakeville, Minn., has set out to fix with his company’s product.

“I’ve been in the electronics industry for 25 or more years, designing and producing ultra-thin flexible heaters and ultra-thin printed circuit boards,” he says. “It connected immediately for me, after leaning on a cold granite countertop in a friend’s home, that we could put a thin, flexible heater on the bottom side of the countertops.”

Heated stone countertops with FeelsWarm Technology originated through a partnership with Granite-Tops in Cold Spring, Minn., that helped refine and develop Heated Stone Products final product offerings. FeelsWarm’s low-voltage heating elements are available as integrated heaters, customized stick-on heaters and pre-sized stick-on heaters for stone countertops.

The integrated heaters are ideal for a new stone countertop, as it is embedded in the bottom side of the countertop, while the customized stick-on heaters and pre-sized stick-on heaters were created for after-market installations. An existing countertop’s shape and design are accounted for with the customized stick-on option. Pre-sized stick-on heaters come in standard sizes, including 11 by 24 in., 11 by 36 in., 11 by 48 in. and 17 by 30 in.

“Our heaters raise the temperature of the stone about 20 to 25 F over the indoor room temperature, so we’re raising the stone to around 90 F [presuming average room temperature is 70 to 75 F],” Stopperan explains. “We’re shooting for you leaning on the countertop, and there’s no difference between the temperature of your skin and the stone so you don’t even notice the heat.”

A temperature controller allows users to fine-tune the temperature of the stone countertops or turn the heating technology off altogether. Temperature limits are built in. An add-on option is a programmer, which would be hardwired into the heater and controlled with a remote control to set times to turn on and off.

Stopperan notes it takes about an hour to heat up. This lengthy waiting period was part of the motivation for making FeelsWarm Technology low voltage; the heaters can be left on around the clock with minimal cost because the units use 12 to 24 volts based on the design and size of the heater. QR