All About Radiant Floor Heating

The Problem

Hard floor surfaces can feel cold in the winter months, even when the air is heated to normal temperatures. This is due to forced air heating systems only heating the air within the room. Since the floor surface is much more massive than the air, the result is the floor never reaches the temperature set by the forced air heating thermostat.

The Solution

The solution is to heat the home using a radiant floor heating system. All surfaces within the room are heated to the same temperature as the floor. This includes the walls, furniture, and of course, you, the occupant of the building.


In order to heat the floor, the radiant floor heating system uses warm water running through plastic tubing that is installed in the floor. The warm water is circulated through the floor using pumps and valves and is heated by a boiler. The boiler can be heated using natural gas, propane, heating oil, electricity, or wood, and there are also options for solar hot water panels to heat your home.

There are several comfort and health benefits to radiant floor heating. It is very easy to provide indoor temperature control for each room or zone within a home. This allows you to keep your regular living areas warm and comfortable while reducing the temperature in guest rooms that are used infrequently. Indoor zoning can provide the greatest comfort for each room while providing the option to control your energy costs.

Choosing the Right Equipment

Regular forced air heating thermostats are not well suited to operating radiant floor heating systems. These thermostats turn on the radiant floor when the air is below the temperature setting, and shut off when it's above the temperature setting. The result is the floor tends to shoot past the air heating temperature when heating and then does not turn back on until the floor temperature is cold. It can be quite unpleasant riding this temperature rollercoaster.

Find a thermostat designed specifically for radiant floor heating.

Our thermostats use pulse width modulation and indoor temperature feedback technology to periodically pulse the floor with the right water temperature so that the floor maintains a steady constant temperature, thereby maintaining optimal comfort.

They also include an option to install a floor temperature sensor, which in turn provides the following options:

  • Hardwood floor temperature limiting. Hardwood floors can dry out and suffer damage due to thermal expansion. tekmar thermostats allow a maximum floor temperature to be set. Many hardwood flooring companies specify a maximum temperature of 85ºF (30ºC).
  • Maintain a minimum floor temperature. This is especially useful in bathrooms. By maintaining the floor between 80 to 85ºF (25 to 30ºC), the floor feels warm to the touch.
  • Maintain comfort in rooms with large amounts of southern facing glass windows. These rooms are often overheated during the day by solar gain through the windows. Typically this could result in the radiant floor going cold during the day. By maintaining the floor near the desired room air temperature, the room remains comfortable, even when the sun sets in the evening.

In order to provide energy savings, our thermostats also offer the option to provide a programmable night setback schedule. The thermostat reduces the temperature during the night, thereby providing energy savings. The thermostats can then use the optimum start feature together with indoor temperature feedback, to ensure the room and floor settings are back up to temperature when you wake up in the morning.

We have solutions for boiler control, zoning, operation of cooling systems, and remote internet access options for your radiant floor heating system. Enjoy the ultimate in comfort with a radiant floor heating system using tekmar thermostats.