How to choose a thermostat for underfloor heating

The choice of a ther­mo­stat for under­floor heat­ing can con­fuse even an expe­ri­enced repair­man. In the mean­time, this is an impor­tant device for main­tain­ing a com­fort­able micro­cli­mate in your home, which is not worth sav­ing on.
How to choose a thermostat for underfloor heating
How to choose a ther­mo­stat for under­floor heat­ing. Pho­to: shutterstock.com

So, you are doing repairs in your apart­ment and decid­ed to install a warm floor. There is no doubt about the advan­tages of this solu­tion for heat­ing in a mod­ern house — in the cold sea­son, when the main heat­ing is not yet turned on, the com­fort is increased, you can for­get about the com­mon cold, and if there is a small child at home, then such a solu­tion has prac­ti­cal­ly no alter­na­tive. But the warm floor can­not be ful­ly used with­out a ther­mo­stat. KP will tell you how to choose a ther­mo­stat for under­floor heat­ing togeth­er with Kon­stan­tin Livanovrepair spe­cial­ist with 30 years of expe­ri­ence.

How to choose a thermostat for underfloor heating

Types of thermostats

Ther­moreg­u­la­tors, or, as they are called in the old fash­ioned way, ther­mostats, have sev­er­al vari­eties. Usu­al­ly they are divid­ed into mechan­i­cal, elec­tron­ic and sen­so­ry — accord­ing to the method of con­trol. But ther­mostats can also be dis­tin­guished by the scope. So, not every mod­el that can work with elec­tric under­floor heat­ing has the abil­i­ty to work with water heaters. But there are also uni­ver­sal solu­tions that can work with elec­tric and water heat­ed floors.

Thermostat control method

Mechan­i­cal mod­els of ther­mostats have a sim­ple con­trol, which con­sists of a pow­er but­ton and a rotary knob with a tem­per­a­ture scale applied in a cir­cle. Such mod­els are cheap­er and very easy to learn even for old­er peo­ple.



Elec­tron­ic ther­mostats are a screen in a frame and sev­er­al but­tons that con­trol the process of heat­ing the warm floor. Here there are oppor­tu­ni­ties for fine-tun­ing, and on some mod­els — already pro­gram­ming a week­ly work sched­ule.

The most pop­u­lar ther­mostats are touch mod­els. They use large touch pan­els on which touch con­trol but­tons are locat­ed. These mod­els already have remote con­trol and inte­gra­tion into the Smart Home sys­tem.

Installing a thermostat

Ther­mostats have com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent instal­la­tion meth­ods and, when choos­ing a device, you should focus on the fea­tures of your home and the design in which it is made. So, the most pop­u­lar form fac­tor today is hid­den or built-in. Such a device is designed for instal­la­tion in the frame of light switch­es or sock­ets. This option is con­ve­nient because you do not need to think about where and how to install the ther­mo­stat, as well as how to pow­er it.

The sec­ond most pop­u­lar option is a ther­mo­stat that is inde­pen­dent of the instal­la­tion site, under which you need to make a sep­a­rate mount in the wall and con­duct com­mu­ni­ca­tions to it. Such mod­els are often cho­sen, for exam­ple, by fam­i­lies with a small child, to place the ther­mo­stat high­er — so that the play­ful hands of the baby do not get to con­trol the warm floor.

A less pop­u­lar option is instal­la­tion in an auto­mat­ic switch­board or DIN rail. This option is good when you want to keep the ther­mo­stat away from your eyes and are not going to con­stant­ly change the degree of floor heat­ing.

Final­ly, there are high­ly spe­cial­ized mod­els for infrared heat­ing sys­tems that require con­nec­tion to a 220V out­let.

Protection against moisture and dust

The first dig­it of the code is defined as the degree of pro­tec­tion of the body from the ingress of sol­id par­ti­cles or objects from the out­side, the sec­ond — as its pro­tec­tion from mois­ture. The num­ber 3 indi­cates that the case is pro­tect­ed from for­eign par­ti­cles, wires and tools larg­er than 2.5 mm.

How to con­nect a ther­mo­stat to a warm floor

The ther­mo­stat can be con­nect­ed to a warm floor with your own hands

The num­ber 1 in the inter­na­tion­al clas­si­fi­ca­tion code indi­cates the pro­tec­tion of the body from ver­ti­cal drops of mois­ture. IP20 pro­tec­tion class is suf­fi­cient for the oper­a­tion of elec­tri­cal equip­ment in nor­mal premis­es. Devices with a degree of IP31 are installed in switch­boards, trans­former sub­sta­tions, pro­duc­tion work­shops, etc., but not in bath­rooms.

Thermostat sensors

Sen­sors are a very impor­tant part of any ther­mo­stat. So to say, the “basic ver­sion” is a remote floor sen­sor. Rough­ly speak­ing, this is a cable that goes from the device into the thick­ness of the floor straight to the heat­ing ele­ment. With it, the ther­mo­stat learns how high the tem­per­a­ture of the warm floor is. But this approach has its draw­back — the device “does not know” what the actu­al tem­per­a­ture in the room is, which means that ener­gy over­runs are inevitable.

The mod­ern approach involves com­bin­ing a remote and built-in sen­sor. The lat­ter is locat­ed in the ther­mo­stat hous­ing and mea­sures the air tem­per­a­ture. Based on these data, the device selects the opti­mal oper­at­ing mode for the warm floor. As a result — sav­ing elec­tric­i­ty for heat­ing.



Programming and remote control

There are two fea­tures in mod­ern ther­mostats that dra­mat­i­cal­ly increase their func­tion­al­i­ty — pro­gram­ming and remote con­trol. The first, as men­tioned above, is already found in elec­tron­ic mod­els. Using the pro­gram­mer, you can plan the oper­a­tion of the ther­mo­stat for a week in advance. For exam­ple, set the inclu­sion of under­floor heat­ing half an hour before the expect­ed arrival home after work. Some mod­els of the best ther­mostats have pro­gram­ming-based self-learn­ing. The device mem­o­rizes the com­bi­na­tions of time and tem­per­a­ture most favored by the user, after which it inde­pen­dent­ly main­tains the most com­fort­able mode.

Savings when using a thermostat

The best mod­els of floor ther­mostats allow you to achieve up to 70% sav­ings on ener­gy bills, which is spent on heat­ing. But this can be achieved only with mod­ern mod­els that allow you to fine-tune the heat­ing process, pro­gram work by day and hour, and also have remote con­trol over the Net­work.