Radiant Heat Thermostat
What should you look for in a radiant heat thermostat? When using radiant heating systems, the thermostat is an integral and vital part in regulating the temperature. Without the proper thermostat, the temperatures of the heating mass and consequently the space above it, can fluctuate wildly, which can be uncomfortable, to say the least.
How is a radiant thermostat different than a forced air thermostat?
As its name indicates, a radiant heat thermostat is the gadget that controls the temperature of the radiant floor heat system it is attached to. A radiant heat thermostat works essentially the same way as any thermostat would, it raises and lowers the radiant system’s temperature when necessary or as programmed.
[ Products for sale - Thermostats For Radiant Heat Systems ]
It consists of a plastic-covered packet with a dial and buttons, and a small window with LCD-lighted numbers, the temperature indicator. The radiant heat thermostat connects itself to the radiant heating system in use, and to the household electricity grid.
Using multiple thermostats
An advantage that a radiant system has over heated forced air is ability to create different heating zones. It doesn't matter if you are using an electric radiant heat system, or a hydronic system, you can add multiple thermostats for different areas in a residence. For instance, you might only have radiant floor heat in your bathrooms. You simply add thermostats in these rooms, and activate the heat when needed. If you have your whole home heated by a hydronic system, you can have the bedrooms on one thermostat and the living areas like the kitchen and family room on another thermostat. Radiant heat is much more efficient than forced air, and with customizable heating zones, you can save even more money on the heating bill.
Characteristics of a high quality radiant thermostat.
A good and sensible radiant heat thermostat should possess several basic characteristics that include:
GFCI. The radiant heat thermostat should have a ground fault circuit interrupter function so that it can automatically and instantly disconnect the electric lines from the radiant heating system for safety. A GFCI monitors electricity flows and cuts off the current if it senses any imbalance in the flow. Such imbalance usually means the current is going to the ground through another way, which can mean someone is getting an electric shock or even being electrocuted because he has touched the wires or connections. Instant current cutting-off can save him I such a case.
Programmable. It takes a bit of time to heat the entire floor, if the floor is cold. The thermostat must be programmable so you can set the temperatures for the times when you are out of the house, at night/day, at home, or other requirements. For instance, if you work in an office outside the home, you may need to lower the house’s warmth when you are working because nobody would be using the warmth anyway, and power it back on later so you will not be returning to a freezing home. Or, you can program the radiant heat thermostat to begin heating the kitchen at six in the morning so it is warm when you wake up to make the breakfast coffee. There are models you can program to days or even a week in advance, or restore a previous setting automatically. Another nice feature of a programmable thermostat for radiant heat is it anticipates when you will be in the room. For instance, if you typically are in the bathroom at seven in the morning, the thermostat will activate the heat in advance. That way the floor will start warming up at 6:30, and by the time you are in the room it will warm for you. You basically can program the thermostat so you don't have to worry about lag time.
Accurate monitor. Monitoring either the radiant heating system heat mass or the ambient air, or both, is important for you to set really comfortable warm temperatures for your home. An inaccurate thermostat can result in incorrect settings which can cause damage to your radiant heating system or even your house itself. It can cause overheating for one, and engender a fire, cause your boiler to overwork, or make your house’s interior uncomfortable with too much cold or warmth.
Fine control. Sometimes a fraction of a degree in warmth can spell the difference between comfort and irritation. While children, for instance, can tolerate a wider range of temperatures, adults don't adapt as well. The temperature control on your radiant heat thermostat can also affect the amount on your monthly power bill.
Dual power. The radiant heat thermostat should run on battery power as well as the household current, so it need not be reset everytime it stops because of power failure. Switching should be automatic and instantaneous, to prevent any gap in moving from one power to another, which can cause malfunctions in the electronic workings of the device.
Childproof. Thermostats aren't really childproof, but so putting radiant heat thermostats above the reach of children is a wise decision. Children are inquisitive and will turn a dial if it can be turned, just to see what happens next.
The above are just a few of the qualities you must look for in a thermostat. The two most important are programmable models that are safe. There are many makes, models, designs and styles to choose from, so perhaps you can add aesthetics to the qualities your radiant heat thermostat should have.
To look at the different types of thermostats, or to purchase, click here for thermostats designed for radiant heat.
- Radiant Water Heat
- Electric Radiant Floor Heat
- PEX Radiant Floor
- Suntouch Radiant Floor
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