How you can manage floor heating with your smartphone

Image of Nuheat Signature thermostat
Nuheat's Signature Wi-Fi-enabled thermostat allows smartphone access to your floor heating controls. It also tracks the amount of electricity the floor heating system uses and can control different zones or rooms independent of one another.

Richmond company adds Wi-Fi-enabled thermostat to the mix

The summer of 2014 will go down as one of the hottest on record for British Columbia. But now that it's fall, you'll need to start thinking about heating your home for the first time in months.

Programmable thermostats make it easy to manage your thermostat. Devices like Nest use activity sensors to do some of the programming for you. And they can be controlled from a smartphone to make it even easier to turn down the heat when you're not at home, and only use energy when you need to.

Now you can use your mobile device to control the temperature of your floor.

Easy ways to get your toes toasty warm

Richmond's Nuheat Industries manufactures electric heating systems to go under floors of all types, including stone, tile, and both laminate and engineered wood. When combined with the company's Signature thermostat, customers have incredible control over the temperature settings of the floor heating systems.

The Signature is Wi-Fi-enabled and connects to your home's wireless network. It's also programmable, so you can turn off the heating during the night when everyone's asleep and have the floor warm up just in time for you to slip your feet into those cute bunny slippers that hide under your bed.

Nuheat's Signature also tracks the amount of electricity the floor heating system uses and can control different zones or rooms independent of one another. You can have the master bathroom floor warm while the guest bathroom in the basement, which gets rarely used, stays cool.

And with a free app, available for Android and iOS devices, you can control the Signature, and therefore your floor heating, remotely. That strikes Greg Morandini, an engineering team lead with BC Hydro Power Smart, as rather useful.

"If you're away for a weekend and decide to stay an extra day," he says, "you can keep things turned off until you get home."

Or if you're heading up to your ski cabin, you can get the floor warmed up before you arrive.

Floor heating systems can be costly in larger rooms

Morandini says that because electrically-powered radiant floor heating systems are energy intensive, they are best used in smaller spaces, such as bathrooms. "You don't use them to heat the entire room," he explained, "just to warm the floor."

Otherwise, they consume too much energy.

For most people, having warm feet means they can be comfortable in a room that is only heated to 19° Celsius. "You want your feet warm and your head cool," says Morandini.

You also want to manage the temperature of the floor so you don't damage the surface. Thermostats and controls such as the Nuheat Signature thermostat regulate the temperature of the floor heating system to prevent the risk of fire or injury. Thermostats are regulated by the CSA and UL, and offer safety features and protection for your flooring that you won’t find with some DIY installations.

Other ways to manage the energy cost of heating your home

Slippers, bunny-eared or otherwise, are a good way to keep your feet warm as the weather turns colder. And wearing a sweater can keep you comfy without you needing to turn up the thermostat.

You should also make sure that your heating system is maintained regularly. And consider upgrading your insulation if you live in an older home.

Keeping curtains closed is another easy way to keep the heat in during the colder months.

Technological tools give you control over your energy use

Technological advances are giving you greater control over how you use energy in your home. And wireless Internet access in your home means that you can use smartphones and other mobile devices to manage your energy use.

In addition to Nest, for example, are LED lights that can change colour and intensity. And Home Energy Monitors even allow you to track, in real time, the amount of electricity being used by particular appliances.