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Unread 03-08-2016, 01:07 PM   #1
matthewstephanie
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Ditra Heat Comments in Regards to Floor Heat

After doing 3 rooms in my house with heated floors, I have the following comments. The first two were bathrooms, and I used the Ditra Heat Mat with Radiant Heat Warm Wires and Suntouch thermostats. My last job was in my kitchen, and I used all Schluter products (mat, wire, and thermostat).

When I did my bathrooms, the pricing of going all Schluter was too expensive. I knew I wanted the Ditra Mat for ease of installation, reduced overall floor height, and uncoupling. So to keep the price down, I used the less expensive Watts Radiant wires (same company that makes the Suntouch line). For my kitchen done several years later, the pricing was more competitive going 100% Schluter as the supplier offered a great discount making going all Schluter a negligible increase.

I feel the "non" Schluter wire jobs, hands down, are superior because the heating effect on the floor is better. I was not aware the Schluter wire only allows an 82 degree temperature. After installation, I was somewhat disappointed in its operation. I am so used to my bathrooms that allow temperatures in excess of 90 degrees. I typically operate them at 86. However, the extra degrees feels so much better on the feet it is almost therapeutic LOL. The Schluter wire does not leave the floor cold by any means, it is just not as noticeable. When I first used it, I thought it was not working properly until I starting researching. And for me with 2 other rooms to compare, it was a disappointment. I just wish I did more research on the temperatures prior being it was a kitchen and added some dollars to my project cost, but who knew.

Also, for Costco fans, if you are not aware, they sell heated floor wires made by Watts Radiant / Suntouch, although they go under a different name called Premier. Price is the lowest around for Suntouch wire. However, be careful when selecting your wire length. Costco does a bad job of describing what you need. The sell wire based upon the max square footage needed, but they do not let you know the spacing between wires used. I would recommend calling the manufacturer prior to ordering.
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Unread 03-08-2016, 02:59 PM   #2
jadnashua
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I think I read that the newest version of the DitraHeat thermostat will allow the floor temperature to be warmer.

Depending on what other heat is in the room, 90-degrees may just end up being too hot. There is a reason why they call it floor warming, not heating. IT is designed to take the chill off so that it doesn't feel cold.
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Unread 03-08-2016, 03:39 PM   #3
matthewstephanie
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Bingo...you are correct. Just called Schluter...they just came out in March with a new thermostat that goes to 105 degrees. Competition works, guess too many complaints. I am happy, but not about the 200 dollar cost, yuk.
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Unread 03-08-2016, 06:51 PM   #4
Steve in Denver
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You might try bitching to Schluter about their "defective" thermostat - loud enough and maybe they will help you out?

Also, you might consider a non-schluter branded thermostat. I don't know for a fact that you can use other thermostats, but I'd be surprised if you can't...and they are a lot less than the $200 from Scluter (I think I paid $80 for mine? programmable and all that).
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Unread 03-08-2016, 09:47 PM   #5
zeaflal
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Thermostats would only be interchangeable if they use the same type and value sensors. It is completely believable they would all use the same type. (My guess is a thermistor.) Less obvious they all use the same value. (Thermistors are made in a very large range of nominal values.) From a business point of view, a major brand might want to pick a different value than everyone else to ensure you could not substitute a competitor's unit. Conversely, a small company might want to introduce new thermostats that match Schluter’s sensors to improve their market penetration.
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Unread 03-17-2016, 11:29 AM   #6
matthewstephanie
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Not so quickly. Schluter really stinks, at least with this. So I was able to get a discount thermostat (the dealer helped me out) and I sold the old one on ebay. So I was able to cut my loses some. However, the new thermostat DOES NOT GET TO 105 degrees, or anywhere near 105 degrees. It did not even break 90 degrees. So I called a bunch of people in Schluter, most of them clueless on this product.... and they said, oh, under perfect test conditions we only get to 95 degrees. Really? I was not looking for 105, but it only does a bit better than the old one. I am so annoyed they gave me bad information when I first called them regarding this product. For me Schluter wires / thermostats are OUT for all jobs going forward. I like the Ditra Heat mat, but will use other brand wires and thermostats. I will need to make my local dealers aware also to guide customers accordingly. My battling with Schluter is still ongoing.
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Unread 03-17-2016, 12:56 PM   #7
wwhitney
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Are the kitchen (with the Schluter wire) and the bathrooms (with the other product) otherwise identical? I.e. same watts per square foot, same tile thickness, same subfloor details, over the same sort of space (conditioned/unconditioned)?

Cheers, Wayne
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Unread 03-17-2016, 04:53 PM   #8
jadnashua
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The thermostat has two modes: air temp or floor temp, and in both situations, it will limit the maximum floor temp for safety. In many places, if your floor temp gets to 105-degrees, and stays on for awhile, if your room has decent insulation, the air temp will get WAY too hot and uncomfortable. The only way you could have a floor temp of 105-degrees without the room becoming overheated is if it has lousy insulation or massive air intrusion or no other space heating. There is a reason why they call it floor warming, not heating. And, they do not claim that it is a replacement for space heating, but it MIGHT suffice, depending on the local conditions.

The goal is to take the chill off of the floor, and it does that quite well. I have radiant floor heat throughout my main floor of my condo...the floors are not generally hot at all, but the rooms are comfortable (hydronic, not electric).
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Unread 03-17-2016, 05:52 PM   #9
Peerless Tile
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Met with my Schluter rep Tues. evening, we spoke of the new thermostat. Both of us were tickled at the fact the new one is less expensive too! Me thinks they have more changes coming in the future as well....
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Unread 03-17-2016, 07:37 PM   #10
Steve in Denver
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I'm running mine at 92 degrees, currently. Feels good on the feet, and I rely on it as the primary heat for the bathroom. When it gets really cold outside, it will run at 100% duty cycle, and may even drop below 90 degrees on a particularly cold day. When the temperatures are above freezing, the duty cycle drops to < 50%...I have cranked it up all the way before, but I don't think it ever got above 100 (98 I think, but not sure)...that was running 100% duty cycle and on a warmer day.

My point is that just because the thermostat can be set to 105 deg, don't expect it to get there...and although I'm often extolling the virtues of running it "hot" (many people think mid to high 80s is a good limit), I think 105 is too much. 100 is probably too much, and anything above 95 might be pushing it too. Be aware that the area near the sensor will be whatever you set the temperature to, but a pile of clothes or other insulator will dramatically increase the temperature of the tile underneath.
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