The growth of Warmup Plc into a highly successful, well-diversified and global underfloor heating company represents one of the UK’s biggest SME success stories in recent times. Today we meet Andrew Stimpson where he shares with us his winning secrets to-date and how he is now poised with the launch of the 4iE smart Wi-Fi thermostat to take the smart home marketplace for heating controls by storm.
Andrew, Warmup is quite a success story, tell me more
I established Warmup just over 20 years ago, as a company to provide underfloor heating, primarily for bathrooms. At this time, frankly, nobody was using underfloor heating, the home improvement market was very new and hard flooring was not as prevalent as today.
Our strategy developed from just concentrating on the UK marketplace to building a presence and expanding our operations within Europe, the US and the rest of the World. Today, we are ISO 9001:2008 certified, employing about 200 people and recognised as the best-selling floor heating brand in the world. We started and remain a research and development based, knowledge driven company.
We sell into over 60 countries from the UK, through 11 international subsidiary operations and through a distributor network. We supply and install electric and hyrdonic systems for both one or two zones and as a principal source of heat for the entire dwelling. In our Projects Division, we specialise in large commercial work, with emphasis on residential housing and hospitality, completed project examples include The Connaught Hotel, MGM Grand in Macau and the Peninsula Hotel in Paris.
We attribute our international success to offering a consistent, well researched, global underfloor heating solution, together with best in market customer services. Crucially, innovation has always been an integral part of Warmup and serves as a key component to differentiate from our competitors, our products are patented and trademarked.
We were the first to make a very thin (1.8mm), tough resistor wire that delivered heating under new tiled floors without increasing the height of the floor surface. We perfected our system so well we were the first to give a lifetime warranty. Today, it is normal practice to choose underfloor heating in preference over radiators, certainly in bathrooms.
Warmup is now the only company that supplies and installs a full range of electric and hydronic floor heating products, all of which are accredited by multiple leading bodies in a large number of countries.
Focusing and staying true to our goals means that instead of paying dividends, year on year all profit is reinvested in our research and product development, developing new products that would be required by the market in the future. This culminated into our Research Centre in Bremen, Germany where we carry out full tests on our world-leading products in these EN442-2 standard facilities. This series of separate test environments together with our dedicated analysis centre is integral to the Warmup business.
Tell us more about your Research Centre and its work
This is the main centre for invention, innovation and improvement and co-ordinates world-wide contribution from all our offices. Results, experience and know-how is shared with our subsidiary operations and business partners around the world. This can range from new wire types and formats, new design methods for our hydronic systems and system control configurations through to materials testing on our partners products. It is from here we created our controls division, the outputs include the Tempo, the 3iE and our latest invention, the 4iE smart Wi-Fi thermostat.
Research is also obtained from our post occupancy monitoring housing programme throughout Europe, including the BRE Renewable House in Watford. These houses have full monitoring and measurement systems to allow the creation of an all-encompassing product performance research database. This produces complete information about how a Warmup system will operate and function along with the energy usage and running costs at design stage – no other company can provide this information.
In support of the best products, Warmup offers the most secure guarantees in the industry – our heating systems come with a Lifetime Warranty and SafetyNetTM Installation Guarantee. This means should a system be damaged during installation, we will replace it free of charge. Uniquely we also offer a dedicated 24/7/365 technical helpline and nationwide service engineer network.
Why did you develop a post occupancy monitoring programme?
The post occupancy monitoring house programme grew out of the need to better predict the future energy running costs of houses using our underfloor heating systems. This information can also be checked and compared with the information provided by our Research Centre to create a highly predictive model that allows all manner of key questions to be answered from: “How much will it cost to run the heating system of my new, yet to be built house?” to “How much will I save using Warmup radiant underfloor heating rather than radiators in this house?”
Information is gathered from many tiny sensors strategically placed in each zone every few minutes to compare floor, air, wire/water and outside temperatures and often other readings like humidity and radiant temperature. This allows a detailed view of the amount of energy actually needed to create ideal living conditions, which are central to the energy performance and efficiency of a dwelling.
Tell us more about your heating solutions?
Warmup is in the business of providing underfloor heating solutions electric (dry) and hydronic (wet). We also design and manufacture a wide range of heating controls: from our manual thermostat, our Tempo digital programmable thermostat to the world’s first and best selling 3iE energy-monitor thermostat. We are now launching our 4iE smart Wi-Fi thermostat, which is compatible with most heating systems combi and system boilers and underfloor heating.
We are proud to be the only company to offer – through energy saving tips via MyWarmup app – the ability for home owners to save on average £200 off their heating utility bills through reducing energy usage. In addition, Warmup unlike other providers is independent of any utility provider. This allows the 4iE thermostat to go one step further; it will help source the best deals available from utility providers, allowing home owners to switch supplier with the potential to save up to a further £380, according to data from uSwitch. We are up against giant international competitors and we are proud to be a UK SME pioneering the evolution of smart home heating controls.
And the future?
Underfloor heating is now growing rapidly in new-build housing. This combined with the growth of the smart home technology marketplace has created a dynamic set of business opportunities for us. All I can say is watch this space!
For more information, visit www.warmup.co.uk