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Old 21st Apr 2015, 09:20   #1
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Smarter central heating

Have anyone got a smart central heating system? Likes of Nest, Hive, etc.


Iím considering getting one installed, but thereís a few criteria that I would want:

- Weekday timer setting, so I donít have to climb out of bed on the weekend to turn on CH
- Zoning heating to downstairs living area and each of the bedrooms. So bedrooms are not heated during day time and downstairs are not heated at night
- OR more than 1 temperature setting throughout the day, eg 18 night time, 20 evenings.
- Multiple smart phone integrated, set heating schedule and put it into away mode via internet
- Possibly want geofencing, not sure yet
- Integration with other home automation in the future (Apple Homekit, Googleís whatever, Logitech Harmony Home control)
- Heat the house according to weather report. Sunny day mean less heating, cold windy day means more heating.


LightwaveRF appears to be able to do most of those, and with the Ruby Raspberry Pi gem, I should be able to implement features that are missing.

Any off-the-shelf solutions that is able to achieve the same result? I understand zoning will be expensive, but the cost shouldnít be more than replacing TRV with connected TRVís.

Iíd like to have it installed in time for this coming winter.
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Old 21st Apr 2015, 13:04   #2
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We decided to go for Heat Genius and ordered it in November 2014. It's Z Wave, using Danfoss TRVs and controlled by a Raspberry Pi. Had some teething issues, but the latest version seems much better.

We have 8 TRVs and 3 Room Sensors. Cost about £900 or so (free installation then). It's saved us a little in gas bills, but the flexibility is the biggest bonus. Wife and I both work away and being able to control it from hotel room when we forgot to turn it off or boost it just before we get home...perfect!

Not sure about integration with other kit though. It's coming soon...apparently.
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Old 21st Apr 2015, 13:19   #3
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Originally Posted by GeordieStew View Post
We decided to go for Heat Genius and ordered it in November 2014. It's Z Wave, using Danfoss TRVs and controlled by a Raspberry Pi. Had some teething issues, but the latest version seems much better.

We have 8 TRVs and 3 Room Sensors. Cost about £900 or so (free installation then). It's saved us a little in gas bills, but the flexibility is the biggest bonus. Wife and I both work away and being able to control it from hotel room when we forgot to turn it off or boost it just before we get home...perfect!

Not sure about integration with other kit though. It's coming soon...apparently.
£900, that's a big investment. The biggest bonus you've listed is achievable with £200 Nest. But I guess zoning is the most expensive part.

May I ask what made you decide to go with Heat Genius?
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Old 21st Apr 2015, 13:20   #4
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I've got Hive and I'm pretty happy with it,

you can set different set points for different times of day (and different days of the week) and there is an option to use geo location, but I have to say I've never bothered. essentially I use it as a pretty (and more detailed) scheduler.

it's got a wireless thermostat included, so that enabled me to install it somewhere sensible (which the old thermostat wasn't) so it doesn't need to know the weather as it knows the actual temperature of your house and only heats accordingly

I've got TRV's on all the rads so there is each room has some level of adjustment but the additional cost of adding smart TRV's seemed nuts as they pretty much stay on full 24/7/365 anyway and I think the amount of money I'd save by not heating the 2nd bedroom except on the days my daughters here would be so minimal that I'd never recover the cost (and probably have the inconvenience of a cold room when she comes over not on schedule)
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Old 21st Apr 2015, 13:27   #5
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I've got jumpers for the weekend and a daughter to turn the CH on before we get home
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Old 21st Apr 2015, 14:14   #6
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I recently bought a Tado. It can be fully controlled by over the web or by smartphone apps. It uses geofencing to turn off the heating if noone is home, but you can set it to turn on regardless if you want. Timer wise, you can set the same schedule for mon-sun; or mon-fri, with sat and sun separate; or each day individual. You can also set multiple temperatures to be used during the day and it takes the weather into account.

It doesn't currently do multi-zone but they are planning to add that functionality before this winter. They also recently announced the release of an API and a partnership with IFTTT to allow control of other appliances.

Would definitely recommend it, altho I wouldn't pay extra to have it installed. They provide detailed instructions tailored to your current heating equipment and as long as you have some DIY ability it should be easy enough to fit yourself. Took me no more than 10 minutes to have it all hooked up.
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Old 21st Apr 2015, 14:22   #7
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I got storage heaters - blisteringly hot all night, absolutely freezing again by 7pm, what more could you want! Hot when you don't want to be that hot, cold when you do want it to be hot AND still costs a fair whack of money
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Old 21st Apr 2015, 14:39   #8
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I've had the Hive system for about a year now.

You can set temps for approx six time periods per day, and specify different times for different days - or you can be lazy and set up one day and copy it across the entire week.

I have the app on my phone, and I can reprogramme the system from anywhere I can receive a data signal - useful to give the heating a boost and have the house nice and toasty when you arrive home from holiday.

It isn't perfect, but I quite like it.

Systems like these have really brought down the price of wireless roomstats. Around 18 months before I got Hive, I got some quotes for wifi roomstats and didn't get a quote less than £350. Hive was less than half that.
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Old 21st Apr 2015, 14:45   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krazeh View Post
I recently bought a Tado. It can be fully controlled by over the web or by smartphone apps. It uses geofencing to turn off the heating if noone is home, but you can set it to turn on regardless if you want. Timer wise, you can set the same schedule for mon-sun; or mon-fri, with sat and sun separate; or each day individual. You can also set multiple temperatures to be used during the day and it takes the weather into account.

It doesn't currently do multi-zone but they are planning to add that functionality before this winter. They also recently announced the release of an API and a partnership with IFTTT to allow control of other appliances.

Would definitely recommend it, altho I wouldn't pay extra to have it installed. They provide detailed instructions tailored to your current heating equipment and as long as you have some DIY ability it should be easy enough to fit yourself. Took me no more than 10 minutes to have it all hooked up.
Tado and Nest are my favorites at the moment. Both have been adding features, as electronic gadgets go, this is the way it's meant to be.

However LightwaveRF does offer more possibilities if I set up RPi with it. I think I'm stuck with another Linux vs Mac choice..........


Quote:
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I've got TRV's on all the rads so there is each room has some level of adjustment but the additional cost of adding smart TRV's seemed nuts as they pretty much stay on full 24/7/365 anyway
Why would you say that? They should shut off when desired temperature have reached in your room.

I was actually thinking to buy LightwaveRF kit first, with just enough TRV to cover my living area (my house has unused rooms). I'll shut all other TRV off, and then use the smart TRV's to control the heating. Assumption is that with a lower radiator temperature, the boiler will automatically stop when the temperature is reached in water return pipes (meaning most TRV are off)
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Old 21st Apr 2015, 14:53   #10
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Why would you say that? They should shut off when desired temperature have reached in your room.
What I mean is I never adjust them (and there usually set to 5/max which I assume is pretty much always open). I live in a average 3 bed ex council house and I'm working on the assumption all the rooms take more or less the same amount of time to come to temperature so there would be no benefit in shutting any radiator off before they all go off when my thermostat hits temperature.

If one room were to be too hot I could adjust the TRV down to 4 or 3 in that room and it would then shut off sooner but this is a manual setting on the TRV in the room and is not in any way accurate like a smart TRV and room stat would be. with the cost of a TRV being less than £10 and a smart TRV being £50+ I'm happy to live with that inconvenience.
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Old 21st Apr 2015, 20:01   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Margo Baggins View Post
I got storage heaters - blisteringly hot all night, absolutely freezing again by 7pm, what more could you want! Hot when you don't want to be that hot, cold when you do want it to be hot AND still costs a fair whack of money
There's funding going through DECC (£25 Million to be exact, for England) at the moment to get a new heating system fitted to properties, generally those with no heating systems installed. But there is provision if need be if a property is spending an extortionate amount on Storage Heaters, just not as priority.

If your council is applying for funding then you could possibly speak to them.

Unless you're in a block of flats, then good luck...
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Old 21st Apr 2015, 20:29   #12
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I got Hive installed about a year ago, and it's good.

You can control it from the web or from your smartphone. Very handy as my Mrs always like the heating on, so I can just decrease the temperature a couple of degrees on the sly

Also very handy as we always forget to turn off the heating when we go out, so now we can.

Hive also has Geolocation, I've never used it as the Mrs is normally at home, but if you set it, it will turn your heating on or off depending on where you (well your mobile) are.

It's also good because it's saves us arguing over who is going to the turn the heating on, now niether of of us have to get up and do it, also good when we go to bed as the thermostat is downstairs
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Old 21st Apr 2015, 23:02   #13
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I don't get what all the fuss is about with remote managing my heating and hot water. Our system is a 1994 Baxi Bermuda back boiler, it isn't going to win any awards but it's rock solid and way more reliable than all the modern boilers out there.

It's either on or off and has no circuit boards whatsoever. Gets serviced twice year and flies through every time. In the 6 years we have had it it has needed some small parts costing no more than £30. Heating is off now but hot water is on a timer for an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening.

If we draw a lot of hot water due to loads of washing up etc then I will flick the immersion heater on for 10 minutes. So what am I missing out on?
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Old 22nd Apr 2015, 08:18   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Margo Baggins View Post
I got storage heaters - blisteringly hot all night, absolutely freezing again by 7pm, what more could you want! Hot when you don't want to be that hot, cold when you do want it to be hot AND still costs a fair whack of money
If you own the property, I've heard excellent things about air to air heaters from people with storage heaters. They are a bit of an outlay to buy/install, but the savings are pretty decent.
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Old 22nd Apr 2015, 08:21   #15
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So far, only major benefit mentioned by "smart" thermostat owners are that they can turn it on/off remotely from the thermostat itself. This doesn't seem a big enough benefit to spend £200+.

I was hoping to spend south of £500 to get smart thermostat AND connected TRV to schedule per-room heating.


Quote:
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What I mean is I never adjust them (and there usually set to 5/max which I assume is pretty much always open). I live in a average 3 bed ex council house and I'm working on the assumption all the rooms take more or less the same amount of time to come to temperature so there would be no benefit in shutting any radiator off before they all go off when my thermostat hits temperature.
The guidelines are that they are set at 3 downstairs and 2 upstairs. Then tweak them according to how you like each room.
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Old 22nd Apr 2015, 11:08   #16
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The fact that you can rent the Tado for a year swung it for me. The drop in energy usage I'm already saying should easily offset the rental cost and the money i paid will be deducted from the full price if I chose to buy at the end of the year.



And, for me, the major benefit is I don't have to worry about turning the heating on and off. Just set the schedule for how I want the house heated when I'm in and then let Tado automatically turn it off when I'm out.
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Old 22nd Apr 2015, 12:43   #17
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The usual constellation in Germany and the Netherlands is you have a programmable room stat in you livingroom, and additionally manual TRV'S on all radiators.

In short, this is a simple version of these modern Hive-Nest whatevers. (and it's been standard for >20 years)

If I would want to improve, I'd need remote access, programmable profiles for each room and wireless automatic TVR's, and this is where things get very costly very quickly.

I'm not sure I'd recover that given that heating up a room takes time and energy, if the house is insulated semi-decent, simply keeping one temperature is going to save you more than letting it cool out and reheating.

Well, all this is would count for all the houses I've lived in so far, the one I am in now is a special case anyway
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Old 22nd Apr 2015, 13:05   #18
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Old 22nd Apr 2015, 13:09   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xir View Post
The usual constellation in Germany and the Netherlands is you have a programmable room stat in you livingroom, and additionally manual TRV'S on all radiators.

In short, this is a simple version of these modern Hive-Nest whatevers. (and it's been standard for >20 years)

If I would want to improve, I'd need remote access, programmable profiles for each room and wireless automatic TVR's, and this is where things get very costly very quickly.

I'm not sure I'd recover that given that heating up a room takes time and energy, if the house is insulated semi-decent, simply keeping one temperature is going to save you more than letting it cool out and reheating.

Well, all this is would count for all the houses I've lived in so far, the one I am in now is a special case anyway
Generally keeping one temperature being cheaper is a misconception. If you work 9-5 it will just end up costing you more keeping the heating on during the day. You'll either have the heat escaping during the day depending on insulation, or it will just be stop start while the temperature gets lower and lower. It's something I'd simply never recommend doing, unless you're in your house constantly and need the thermal comfort.
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Old 22nd Apr 2015, 13:34   #20
wuyanxu
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xir View Post
The usual constellation in Germany and the Netherlands is you have a programmable room stat in you livingroom, and additionally manual TRV'S on all radiators.

If I would want to improve, I'd need remote access, programmable profiles for each room and wireless automatic TVR's, and this is where things get very costly very quickly.
That is what we have, except the thermostat is in the hallway and the timer is on the boiler itself.

What you said is pretty much how I'd like, remote access, programmable profiles for each room and wireless automatic TRV's.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Atomic View Post
You can get the Honeywell Evohome pack for £421.44 using the code FIRSTSHOP20
Thanks! rep+ Although not sure I'd go with Honeywell because compared to Heat Genius who are offering similar package, the latter is much much more feature packed.

I'm agonizing over this because it's not a gadget I'll buy and upgrade, it's going to be an investment for the next 5-10 years. So I need to be sure features can be added via firmware or cloud updates and it 100% suits my needs.
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