Some initial observations on the use of smart trvs on all the rads. (Zero zoning)

Joined
1 Dec 2021
Messages
1,250
Reaction score
158
Country
Ireland
I have gone through quite the journey of late with my CH system to the point where much of it has been replaced or reconfigured (DIY).

One such change was the switch from a traditional S+ type, two zone heating plan with std TRVs and one thermostat per zone to a fully smart heating system with no CH zones (all zone valves removed) and smart radiator valves on all rads. The HW circuit is unchanged (controlled by the new Hub).

This means i have individual control of each radiator, or where i have wireless thermostats (I've 2) each room as the the thermostat has heating priority over the rad(s) its linked to.

There is no longer a button operated control. There is a signal hub but all settings are via app.

The system has some intelligence in that it can learn the heating/cooling profile of a room or rad zone and adjust accordingly. It also has weather compensation and will do boiler modulation if the boiler has the option.

Everything except the hub is wireless.

So. Observations:

1) With controllability, comes complexity. This is not an on-off system. If you are used to using your thermostats incorrectly (by force or by habit) to control your heating, this is a quantum leap in interaction and you may need some time to adjust.

2) There is a learning curve. This is both for the administration and the users. The challenge is to make the system as invisible to the user so that they don't think about the heating anymore, whilst getting them to perhaps break old habits and be more interactive with their own heating needs.

3) ignorance is bliss.... Once you go smart. You start acting smart. You begin to take notice of the systems and how they should operate.

4) whilst its a steep learning curve, its quite short. Once you open up your mind to a different way (which can itself be a challenge) then getting to grips with is not difficult. It is all very intuitive and obvious.

5) Most importantly, what has been seen, cannot be unseen .

On that last point, i am becoming increasingly away of just how low-resolution typical heating systems are and how our expectations and usage of them are equally low resolution.

In the past, the use of heating systems was typicaly digital. Turn it on if cold, off if hot, leave it on if rich, leave it off if poor. Not much thought as to having the temperature in a house "correct", based on activities or location.

Having a smart system has opened up my eyes as to how poor the application of heating has been (for me).

Now, i am in the honeymoon period, granted, and as i learn and the house and its users adapt, my interaction with the systems will level off, but actively thinking about what temps should be, when and where, because now i can control them, has been a revelation.

At night, background heating only and as requested by each occupant, with each one being different in both times and temps. In the morning, a general boost to help people get up and ready, except for my oldest who works late. In the day, heating off, or set to a minimum except in the office where a warm room is needed to help keep the body warm when sat at the desk. In the early evening, another boost for those returning home. Lets keep the hall cool because nobody stays in it and the front door is opening and closing. Lets keep the kitchen cool as well because the cook has enough to keep him warm. Keep the dining room off as its a single - use room, just boost it when food is due to be served. Everyone gone to bed early? No probs, hit the quick setting and put the floor in setback mode fir the night. Staying up late to watch a movie? Hit the room boost. Nice and snug but without heating any other rooms. Having a shower or bath? Don't constantly heat the bathrooms just because your boiler needs a bypass, fit a ABV and and then just boost the rad when you are having a bath, or a shower or you want a warm towel after a shave.

Sounds lits of work and in the first week, it does need some inputs but once it settles down, its fairly minor and becomes normal.

I have found myself in awe at how much heat and energy i have misused and wasted with my previous set up. I would only ever change the heating if i absolutely needed to. The interface of the old control was dreadful (they all are).
Now, i just open the app, tick an option. Job done. Where as before i would be writing this with the heating on downstairs and upstairs in a uniform manner, now i am sat with just the riom i am in staying warm. Everyone else in bed.

I've also noticed that the level if heating has changed. The system is learning. I don't "feel" the heating anymore. The rooms are just so. In particular, my family now question (without prompting) if they are cold, rather than the room they are in. Boosting ir knocking back the heating in their own space, or say in the bathrooms (i do love that feature tbh) is something they now do naturally and really, without much in the way if input from me. It is just the right thing to do so no lessons reqd.

I don't know if its going to save money. I know it's not going to cost me more. The heating is of a better quality, rather than just more or less of it.
I'm reminded of Harry's comments on a previous thread where he was quite happy to have the whole house warm and at the same temp and ut effectively just one zone. I got the low effort benefits if that approach and if you can afford to do that or have a small house then whatever but i just kept thinking why? Using this smart system has me thinking that its nuts. A heating system should be dynamic and work for you and give you comfort and control as your require.

I can say this new smart system has done just that. The proof is in the pudding, my family love it.

If you are thinking of this approach, I'd find little to warn you about and much to recommend.

I would say though to go all in if you can. Just fit the system everywhere and use the system to its fullest. No point in going to the trouble of changing the stats (or getting rid of them completely) and changing the controller for you to hobble the system with a lack of rad control.

Oh, one other benefit if this system is that uts discreet. No wires. No wall fixtures. No recievers for stats and you can bury the rads in furniture if you want by just adding a room stat as its master. This removes that eternal problem of keeping the trvs free so that they can read the room accurately.


I'll post an update on the above after the winter, warts and all, although, really, I don't see that many downsides. (Batteries may be one).

:)
 
Sponsored Links
Joined
11 Jan 2013
Messages
5,242
Reaction score
1,101
Location
Durham
Country
United Kingdom
The one concern I have with this setup (yes I've gone smart heating as well as some other smart stuff) is what happens in a local power cut and what happens if you lose connectivity to wherever the hosting servers are
Local power cut- if it's an hour or so then no big drama. Half a day and I'd be digging the generator out - the woodburner will still work, the gennie can run the pumps but if I can't switch the pumps on the kitchen and bedrooms will be toasty but sitting room will be chilly.First world problem I know....
Internet dies- maybe more of a problem. Not tested the heating controller & WiFi rad valves yet- my other smart stuff does continue to follow any schedule but the 4 way cards have no manual option so they could be a problem. Might do some testing, see how much continues to run with LAN but no WAN
 
Joined
1 Dec 2021
Messages
1,250
Reaction score
158
Country
Ireland
Any pumped system is goosed without power. I've the wiser-drayton system which uses its own mesh network to communicate with the heating so will continue to work if the network is lost.

You do need a network to communicate with it though (to use the app).

For energy security, I've an open fire which I'm slow to get rid of........
 
Joined
11 Jan 2013
Messages
5,242
Reaction score
1,101
Location
Durham
Country
United Kingdom
Yerse, the test I need to run is to ditch the WAN (or wait til Virgin falls over again) and see if the Wiser and EwE apps can function with only LAN Comms. Pumps will run on the gennie, woodburner heats the thermal store as well :)
 
Sponsored Links

JP_

Joined
17 May 2012
Messages
9,403
Reaction score
599
Country
United Kingdom
Interesting stuff, have thought about this myself. My concern is cost though. How much is the system, and how long do you think it will be before you get the money back?
I have 10 radiators, so at £65 per smart radiator thermostat, plus the smart controllers etc. I think we're looking at around £1000 to install. Seeing that the house is well insulated, and the heating not generally on during the day, and only a couple of hours in the morning, and again from 3pm til bedtime, I am not sure I'd make much of a saving really.
 
Joined
1 Dec 2021
Messages
1,250
Reaction score
158
Country
Ireland
Interesting stuff, have thought about this myself. My concern is cost though. How much is the system, and how long do you think it will be before you get the money back?
I have 10 radiators, so at £65 per smart radiator thermostat, plus the smart controllers etc. I think we're looking at around £1000 to install. Seeing that the house is well insulated, and the heating not generally on during the day, and only a couple of hours in the morning, and again from 3pm til bedtime, I am not sure I'd make much of a saving really.

For 11 rads, plus a two zone controller c/w two thermostats, it cost me £600.
This was a refurb project though as all of my trv heads were knackered and the 3 zone controller was goosed (bad buttons). The two thermostats i had controlling the zones were crapping out as well and one of the zone valves was acting up so it all needed replacing.

In my case, i think it was perhaps cheaper than putting in traditional kit. I didn't need to replace the worn zone valves. I didn't need a two zone controller either, with the zone valves deleted, my system is now 1 zone +HW. To make it even cheaper, you don't really need a thermostat if you go zero-zone. (they are £95 each to buy separately!). I use the two i have because they are there, not because i need them.

For me, the big benefits are controllability and consistency (no more hot-cold-hot-cold heating profiles. its just a nice even warm. Any future cost benefits are a bonus.
 
Sponsored Links
Top