When transitioning to radiant heat for your home, the choice of thermostat is a crucial consideration that is often overlooked. Understanding whether a special thermostat is required for radiant underfloor heating is essential for optimal performance. In this article, we explore the compatibility of different thermostats with radiant heat systems and highlight some popular options in the market.
Thermostat Compatibility with Radiant Heat
For efficient control of radiant heat, an ideal thermostat should include a floor sensor. This sensor continuously monitors the floor temperature, preventing it from becoming too hot or too cold. Moreover, a thermostat designed for hydronic radiant heat should be capable of controlling the water heater, as warm water is responsible for delivering heat to the floors.
For electric radiant floor heat, a basic line voltage thermostat is suitable. Always refer to the user’s manual or contact the manufacturer if there are doubts about thermostat compatibility. Checking the maximum allowable voltage by the thermostat is crucial to ensure electrical compliance and avoid overloads.
Popular Thermostat Options
- SunTouch Thermostat
The SunTouch thermostat is a smart and WiFi-enabled device that works well with electric radiant heat. It features a floor sensor and an optional room-temperature sensor. Additionally, this programmable thermostat can be set for up to seven days in advance, offering flexibility and convenience. The adjustable screen allows customization to match your interior design.
- ecobee Thermostat
The ecobee thermostat boasts advanced smart features, including sensors that detect whether you are home or away, automatic temperature adjustments, voice control, and remote room sensors. This model is compatible with hydronic radiant heat systems, making it a sophisticated but pricier option in the market.
- Honeywell Thermostats
a. TH115-AF-GA/U: This thermostat is suitable for electric radiant floor heating systems, equipped with a floor sensor for accurate temperature maintenance. It allows programming for up to seven days in advance and is designed for resistive load, ensuring compatibility with resistive radiant heat.
b. Aube TH140-28-01-B/U: Another option by Honeywell, this thermostat works with hydronic radiant floor heating and shares features with the electric variant. It is compatible with central heating systems, providing versatility for different heating setups.
- Nest Thermostat
The Nest thermostat by Google is renowned for its smart features. While it is often praised as the best smart thermostat for homes, its compatibility with radiant heat is debatable. Some sources suggest it can work with underfloor heating, while others advise caution and consultation with a contractor, especially for hybrid systems.
Number of Thermostats for Underfloor Heating
Radiant heat flooring offers the advantage of controlling different zones in your home with separate thermostats. While a single thermostat can manage the entire system, having multiple zones with dedicated thermostats allows customized adjustments based on room size or occupants. Although more management is involved, this approach can lead to significant energy savings, especially if the thermostats are programmable.
Setting the Thermostat for Radiant Heat
Programming your thermostat for radiant underfloor heating requires consultation with the manufacturer’s instructions, as different models may have distinct programming procedures. It’s crucial to follow safety guidelines and seek professional assistance if needed when dealing with electrical wiring.
Recommended temperature settings for radiant heat floors range between 80-85 degrees, with adjustments based on personal preference. Since radiant heating radiates heat, the actual room temperature will be cooler than the thermostat setting. Patience is key, allowing the system sufficient time to efficiently warm the room and save on energy costs.
In conclusion, selecting a thermostat for radiant heat involves considering compatibility, features, and personal preferences. Many thermostats cater to both traditional HVAC systems and radiant heat, providing flexibility for homeowners. Whether opting for a basic or smart thermostat, ensuring safety, following instructions, and checking specifications will lead to a cozy and energy-efficient home with radiant underfloor heating. Take the time to explore the options available, and revel in the comfort of toasty warm feet provided by your radiant heating system!