Geofencing, has anyone got it to work well?

27 Jan 2008
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Llanfair Caereinion, Nr Welshpool
United Kingdom
I have two independent ways to set up geofencing, my Energenie Mihome TRV heads can do it with IFTTT, or my Nest Gen 3 can do it.

The Energenie TRV head has an OTT anti-hysteresis software, so to get room to 20°C have to set to 22°C for an hour then back to 20°C, so even if geofencing technically possible, the anti-hysteresis software stops it really being an option.

The Nest Gen 3 was to start with set up to do geofencing, however problems getting it to work with wife's phone, and then problems when the EE mast was damaged in high winds, resulted in it being disabled.

The main problem is only control is temperature settings of eco and comfort, there is no option to set distance. If I could set it so if within 10 miles heating is on, that would work, but when Nest swaps from eco to comfort seems to be a big secret.

For me as a retired guy it does not matter that much, the saving by turning off heating when away from house will be small. Geofencing is really for when fixed time will not work, but clearly an expat would likely want heating to start running when he arrives in the UK and he has enough to do when he lands without worrying about turning on heating. So setting to 50 miles may be appropriate.
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I use home assistant so I either log on and set the temp (would have been set at 16 degrees when house is unoccupied via wifi/gps phones) or ask google to set the thermostat to the desired temp so its warm when I get home...
I have used the wifi to switch things on, read temperature, and alter temperature, that has worked well, allowing me to switch on the portable AC remotely.

What I am asking about is the automated control using geofencing, where it detects your phone is approaching home and auto turns up the heat.

It did work before Google took over Nest, but in my home there was a problem with over shooting, but that was due to where the thermostat was placed, but when Google took over stopped working with my wife's phone, and in high winds earlier this year we lost the EE mast and the central heating went into Eco mode even when at home.

When I say it did work, it did not work well, and not sure if the geofencing turned up the temperature or the PIR built into the thermostat? The heating was running when we got home, but house was not toasty warm, and after the problem with EE mast, I realised one does not always realise when central heating stops until some hours latter.

With the EE mast problem I was working in my bedroom and wife in craft room, both up-stairs, so not walking past the wall thermostat except to make coffee, we felt it cold, but when walked pass thermostat it was running, so at first did not realise, only when being lazy I went to turn it up with PC did I realise not running, and so disabled the geofencing.

Thermostat in hall, but there is not really an alternative, living room has outside door and catches the sun, plus an open fire, the dinning room also patio doors tends to stay cold, but again not average temperature of home, kitchen clearly we cook in there, and again outside door, so hall it is central to house, and between doors to all rooms so with doors open about best average I can get, all rooms have electronic TRV heads, ideal would be remote sensing units in a few rooms, but Google Nest only do them for USA market.

Have considered getting rid of Nest and using a wall thermostat which links to TRV's but in the main it works well enough, the problem is three story house with a 18 kW boiler which even when thermostat calls for heat is still cycling due to return water too hot, so recovery time is slow, trying to work out how the return water is warm when radiators cool, maybe I have missed one and a lock shield needs adjusting, but geofencing is not working for me.

Since there are other factors which stop it working, want to find out if just my home, or does it have problems with all homes?

The main point is it seems only adjustment is eco and comfort settings. I would have expected to be able to set how many miles from home before it switches off or on, but seems no such setting. I thought it would have been graduated and as the distance from home increases the holding (eco) temperature would drop, but no it is either running at eco or comfort no graduation.

It seems likely once the local mast detects the phones then and only then the heating goes up, so within a mile from home before heating goes up, so at best 5 minutes before we get home, that is far too short of a time.

Unless other systems work better, no point is changing, and now it seems there is a charge for IFTTT it was free when we first got it, maybe EvoHome or Wiser would work better, since boiler is not modulating, being oil, even Hive may work better, but to buy them, and set it up crossing fingers is clearly not the way.
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Wiser uses IFTTT so it isn’t any better. Also because they use IFTTT, Wiser can’t support multiple devices where we’d want it to automate last out-turn off and first in-turn on. Tado, I believe, still supports geofencing across multiple devices.

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