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How Do I Choose the Best Floor Heating Thermostat?

Andrew Kirmayer
Andrew Kirmayer

A heating system under the floor is generally efficient, but there is more to it once the main components are installed. Precise control of the system can be the most energy saving option. The heating is often only as efficient as the type of floor heating thermostat that is connected. Finding the best one can depend on the size of the area that is to be heated, while thermostats often come in a choice of manual or programmable models. Some types integrate sensors for temperature, and other features like touchscreens and locking functions can help you find the best floor heating thermostat for the space.

Before installing a floor heating thermostat, it is usually important to measure the floor area that the system will be used to heat. The areas that will be heated should typically be the only ones included; spots where refrigerators, ovens, or bathtubs sit should be subtracted from the total area. Heat from a floor heating mat usually extends not more than 1.5 inches (about 3.8 centimeters) from it, so this is something to keep in mind when planning what to get.

Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

Some thermostats work better for larger areas than others. In general, the larger the coverage area of the device, the more power it requires, and multiple ones can be used in some cases. A 120 V floor heating thermostat typically supports up to 150 square feet (about 14 square meters) of space. Measuring the space beforehand can help you decide on the capacity and the power rating of the necessary thermostat.

The type of device you get is typically broken down into whether it is manual or programmable. A manual one often includes an on/off switch, while a dial can allow more control over the temperature setting. This type is usually better for small spaces like bathrooms or kitchens, and it is generally a good idea to use a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupt (GFCI) with the product to protect it from power fluctuations. A programmable floor heating thermostat is the other option, which usually includes a GFCI and can be set to specific temperatures depending on the day of the week. Multiple temperature settings per day can sometimes be set as well.

Temperature sensors for the floor and the air are often included with a floor heating thermostat. These can be built into the device, or be placed separately to gauge the temperature of remote locations, while some units can even have a touchscreen. Choosing the best one can also depend on features such as lock functions that prevent keys from accidentally being pressed, memory of previous operations, and monitoring of energy use.

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