The Ultimate Guide to SMART Heating Controls
What Are SMART Heating Controls? This comprehensive guide cover the features and benefits of SMART heating controls and whether they’re worth bothering about. We also review what SMART controls are available and the differences between them. Plus how to get them installed in your home.
We’ll also cover the things you need to consider when choosing.
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What are SMART Heating Controls
SMART Heating Controls are clever thermostatic devices fitted to your heating system. Connected wirelessly to the internet, you can control your heating remotely from smartphone, tablet or other internet connected device.
Since you have more control over your heating, you save money on your heating bills.
You can also control room temperatures room by room. This gives you more opportunities to save money in heating bills by not heating up rooms that you don’t use.
What do SMART Heating Controls do?
SMART Controls have taken heating your home to a whole new level. By using artificial intelligence they can learn your habits, detect motion and switch off heating.
It allows you to change the temperature of your home while you’re out and about.
Switch Your Heating On Remotely
For instance, you decide to come home earlier than your heating is normally due to switch on. With SMART Heating Controls, you can switch your heating earlier via your phone. That way you come home to a lovely warm home.
Even if you’re not there if perhaps you’ve forgotten to switch off your heating before you left.
They can also take into account other factors, like outside temperatures.
Automatic Temperature Control
Let’s take an example of how this might work. Let’s suppose you have set your thermostat to be at the ideal temperature for 6pm.
During the day, your home is empty, so the heating if off. 6pm is the time you normally come home from work and you’d like a nice warm home to come home to.
Then there’s an unexpected sudden drop in temperature.
The SMART Heating Control will automatically allow extra time to account for this temperature drop.
So that when you do arrive home, the temperature is as you planned it. You save money on not having to heat your home when it’s empty.
Room By Room Temperature Control
You can also control room temperatures room by room. This gives you more opportunities to save money in heating bills by not heating up rooms that you don’t use.
Empty House and Open Window Detection
SMART heating controls can also detect whether your home is empty and automatically turn the heating down.
They can even detect if you’ve left a window open. An alert gets sent to you so that you can do something about it so as not to waste heat.
How Do SMART Heating Controls Work
SMART stands for ‘Self Monitoring Analysis & Reporting Technology’ And here’s how it works.
Standard central heating boilers are controlled by thermostats and timer controls. Timer controls allow you to set times to switch on and off your boiler. Thermostats allow you to control the heating of the boiler, hot water and radiators. There are typically thermostats on the boiler itself, the hot water, room thermostats and individual radiators.
SMART heating controls allow you to control your heating room by room and minute by minute. All from the palm of your hand via your smartphone or tablet. Whether you’re slouched on your sofa in front of the TV, at work or abroad on holiday.
There are 3 components to a SMART heating control that is different from how a regular thermostat works.
- A SMART boiler connection kit that plugs directly into your boiler that communicates wireless to
- the main control unit and thermostat control and that connects via your wifi to
- the app you download to your smartphone or tablet which lets you control all of the settings and timings.
These 3 components combined allow you to control your heating from literally anywhere in the world. Anyone in your family who has the app can do this.
How Are They Different From My Standard Programmable Thermostat
Programmable thermostats are fairly common place today. Whilst they allow you to control the times and temperature of your home, they are not that SMART.
You can programme in your times that your heating turns on and off. This is great if you have regular work hours that don’t change from week to week. You set your timer so that when you get home, the temperature is perfect.
Most programmable thermostats allow for you to programme individual days differently. For example Saturday and Sunday you’re likely home all day. So you can have a different heating schedule compared to Monday to Friday. That way you only heat your home when you’re home.
However, if you don’t have a regular schedule, then these programmable thermostats fall short of what you need. That’s where SMART Heating Controls really come into their own.
Not only can you switch your heating on before you get home, so that it’s warm when you get home, you can also switch it off it on the days it turns out unexpectedly warm.
It can also learn your habits and detect when no-one is home so it adjusts the heating, saving you heaps in unnecessary heating bills.
What Heating Systems Are SMART Heating Controls Compatible With
SMART Heating Controls work with most domestic central heating boilers that are either gas, oil or electric. If it has standard thermostat or programmer then that’s a good indication that it is SMART Heating Control compatible.
Smart Controls can also be connected to heat pumps, communal and district heating systems.
What Heating Systems Do SMART Controls Not Work With
They don’t work with storage heaters.
Do SMART Heating Controls Work With My Voice Control Devices
Yes. But not all Smart Heating Controls are compatible with all voice control devices, so check (use our comparison table below). As long as your SMART Heating Controls are Alexa (or Google Assist, Apple Home, Siri) compatible, you can control your heating handsfree. iI you have an Alexa device just ask Alexa, ‘set the bedroom to 20 degrees.’ | ‘Alexa, what’s the temperature in here?’ | ‘Alexa, turn the temperature down.’
Here’s how you connect Alexa to your SMART Heating Control
- Open the Alexa app on your phone.
- Tap the menu button and select SMART Home from the list.
- Swipe down until you see Get More SMART Home Skills and tap on the arrow.
- Type ‘[name of the SMART Heating Device]’ in the search box and tap the appropriate result.
- Tap Enable Skill.
What If My Internet Goes Down
If your internet goes down then your SMART Heating Control will continue on the schedule it was set up with.
All it means is that you won’t be able to control the heating with your Smartphone app.
You can still use the manual controls on the thermostat if you need to.
Can I Save Money Installing SMART Heating Controls
Manufacturers like Tado make claims that you can save up to 31% on heating costs and they have a neat calculator on their website.
However, it does depends on your habits and how you currently use/waste heating. If you come home at varying times then the beauty of having SMART heating controls is that you can control when to turn on your heating. Over time it can learn the best time to turn on the heating so that you’re not wasting heat unnecessarily, be it an empty house, empty rooms.
If you currently keep your heating on even when you’re not home, then you most likely will save money fitting SMART heating controls. If you already manage your heating carefully with programmable timer, then the saving probably won’t be as much as 31%. However, you will save the hassle of remembering to adjust your heating when your regular schedule changes.
Having SMART Heating controls isn’t the only way to save money on home heating bills. Switching energy supplier can also be a way to save a significant amount. Check out MoneySuperMarket.com or MoneySavingExpert.com to get comparisons.
What Features Are Available With SMART Central Heating Controls
Works with Amazon Alexa/Google Assistant/IFTTT/Apple HomeKit
Compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT or Apple HomeKit means your heating can be controlled by voice control. You can ask what temperature the room is, or turn down the heating a degree etc. Just make sure whichever manufacturer you go for is compatible with your device (see table below).
Pretty much all SMART heating controls are controlled by an app on your smartphone. This means you can control your heating wherever you are, inside or outside your home.
Set Daily Heating And Hot Water Schedules
Whatever you can do with an existing programmer that your heating system already has, SMART can do and better. Because you can change heating schedules anytime using the app on your phone.
Learns Your Heating Preferences And Creates Custom Heating Schedules
Some SMART heating controls are able to learn your habits. Just use it normally for a few days, turning the temperature up and down as needed and it will learn what you like and automatically programme itself based on what you like. You can of course override it manually.
Multi-room Thermostatic Control
If you want to control the temperature of several rooms independently of each other then you do this with SMART radiator thermostatic controls that are fitted on each radiator.
This allows you to check and change the temperature of each individual room without having to visit the rooms to do it manually.
This saves you from heating unused rooms unnecessarily.
Responds To Weather
This is great for when the temperature drops (or rises) during the day and you’re not home. It will automatically adjust when to turn the heating on so that it’s at the optimum temperature at the usual time you’d expect it be warm. So no more guesswork or coming home to a cold house.
Senses Open Windows And Drafts
Some thermostats detect drafts or open windows and send you a notification to let you know.
With the addition of a door sensor, the SMART central heating controls can detect when the last person left home and switch off the heating automatically if you forgot.
GPS Tracking or GeoFencing your smart thermostat know when you leave or return home and switch your heating on or off automatically. Depending on the model it may ask you what you want to do.
Who Makes SMART Heating Controls
There are a few manufacturers who make SMART Heating Controls. They are in no particular order:
Owned by Centrica. British Gas have teamed up with them to produce Hive Active Heating. They have recently added Hive Multizone, which means if you’re downstairs all day, you can keep it nice and warm, without wasting money heating upstairs. Hive connects with Amazon’s Echo/Alexa device
With Evohome, you control your home temperature room by room. SMART zoning means you only need to heat the areas you’re using, keeping you in control, saving energy and creating your perfect comfort zone. Honeywell’s Evohome connects best with Google Home.
Nest Learning Thermostat
Nest learns from you. It gets to know the temperature that you like when you’re at home. And turns itself down when you’re away. It even learns how your home warms up or how draughty it is, so it only uses the energy it needs. That’s how the Nest thermostat saves energy.
You can easily adjust temperatures to keep you and your family comfortable, or turn off rooms that are not used.
The Genius Hub takes into account the external temperature to optimize your heating control.
Only heat the rooms you want to use, to the right temperature at the times you choose – total control.
The Genius Hub remembers your heating patterns and temperatures, so you can see changes in use and potential savings.
Tado has Geofencing and Open Window Detection. You get a push-notification when triggered. Or you can add Auto-Assist for fully automated operation.
With Auto-Assist, tado will turn down the heating when the last person has left the house, and preheat your home before arrival, as well as turn the heating off as soon as an open window has been detected. The automated process creates more comfort and enables higher savings.
Drayton Wiser Multi-Zone
Wiser allows room-to-room heating control via radiator thermostats. This means baby can be at the perfect temperature in the nursery, Mum can stay snug in her annex, and you can be comfortable when working from home.
To get multi-zone control, Drayton sell Wiser kits that include two smart radiator thermostats, that you can then add more radiator thermostats when you’re ready.
Works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
The Thermostat uses your answers to 5 questions to create a schedule that’s based on your habits and lifestyle, so you only use the heating when you need it. The Netatmo Thermostat’s Auto-Adapt function uses your home’s insulation and the outdoor temperature to programme when your heat should switch on. So, you can have the temperature you want at just the right time.
devolo Home Control Radiator Thermostat together with their Z-Wave Control unit ensures your ideal individualised temperature when you need it most: In the morning in the bathroom, in the kitchen or in the living room after work. With the wireless Radiator Thermostat and the devolo Home Control Central Unit, you can set up your desired room temperature to the minute.
The devolo Home Control Central Unit discreetly controls all components for your intelligent home in the background. The smart home Central Unit regulates heating and light controls just as reliably as it does your Motion Sensor or Smoke Detector, your Wall Switch and your SMART Metering Plugs.
Woks with Google Home and Amazon Alexa
SMART Heating Controls Review
Tech Advisor have the most up to date buyer reviews – check them out here : https://www.techadvisor.co.uk/test-centre/digital-home/best-smart-thermostat-3583499/
What’s Our Favourite/Preferred SMART Heating Control?
NEST For Regular Households
Nest is great if you wish to control a whole floor or zone off areas, for example – ground, first, second or games room, kitchen. This brand is really good for controlling underfloor heating.
We love the app’s platform which is simple to use. Plus you get energy reports for each month which show you how to save more money.
Nest can be linked to other manufacturer’s smart controls.
Plus it pairs up with Alexa, Google Home and Siri.
NEST have a Green Leaf reward programme. This is a bit similar to your phone’s screen time report, but better as it compares your usage to others so you get an indication how ‘green’ you are.
We’ve also found of all the SMART heating systems, NEST is the least troublesome in the long term compared to other makes.
EvoHome For Larger Properties and Multi-Occupancy
Honeywell EvoHome is better for larger properties. Particularly those not in use all the time. Good examples of properties that suit Honeywell’s EvoHome include AirB&B or hotels or bedsits where there’s multiple occupancy.
You get monthly reports like for NEST and there’s far greater flexibility room by room.
How Much Do SMART Heating Controls Cost
The cost of SMART Heating Controls vary upwards of £100 for the main control unit. Add to that the cost of each SMART radiator thermostat that you want to control, from £40 upwards per thermostat.
The apps are usually free, though some have a monthly subscription for upgraded features (e.g. TADO).
Then add to that the installation costs by a qualified technician. Whilst some may be possible to install yourself, only attempt it if you know what you’re doing. Otherwise, do what our customers do, and get us to quote and install for you.
How easy is it to install SMART Heating Controls
You need the SMART Heating Hub/Control Unit, SMART Radiator Thermostats and wifi connection to your broadband.
Next, you need a professional (like us) to install the controls correctly as it involves wiring. If you get it wrong, then your whole heating system won’t work. It takes about an hour when you know what you’re doing.
Then all that’s needed is to configure the unit with your WiFi and then set up the companion Smartphone app which you can do yourself.
Where Can SMART Heating Controls Be Installed
The SMART Heating Main control is usually situated near the boiler and would replace the existing boiler thermostat control.
Are SMART Heating Controls the same as SMART Meters?
Although similarly named and easy to confuse, SMART Heating Controls are not the same as SMART Meters and you can have one without the other.
SMART Meters take automatic meter readings and send them to your energy supplier. These are being offered for free by energy suppliers with the aim that estimated billing will become a thing of the past. SMART Meters also give you a lot more information about your energy use through the in-home display they come with, so you can detect which appliances use up more electricity.
SMART Heating Controls on the other hand, control your heating and they’re not free or supplied by energy companies.
What To Look Out For When Choosing The Best SMART Heating Controls
The first thing to consider is if you’re already using a SMART device, like Google or Amazon’s Echo/Alexa. Then it makes sense to ensure that whatever you chose is compatible with the device you already have.
Then decide what your must-have features are and how important the nice-to-have features are. For example, do you need to control each room’s temperature? If you only have a 1 or 2 roomed flat, then controlling the temperatures between rooms is not as important if you have multiple rooms in a house that has upstairs and downstairs or additional floors.
Where Can SMART Heating Controls Be Bought From
You can buy SMART Heating Controls from Amazon, Currys, Screwfix as well as direct from the manufacturers themselves.
Our customers leave the buying to us and we have our preferred suppliers so that if there is a problem with faulty equipment, it’s no problem getting warranties honoured.
Who can install SMART Heating Controls
If you’re handy with DIY and are confident wiring, then it’s possible to do this yourself.
However most people will use a qualified professional (like us) to carry out the installation. They need to be either certified by the manufacturer or Gas Safe Registered engineer with Energy efficiency training with Part P Electrical qualification. These people have been trained to understand heating controls and their correct installation and wiring.
Our engineers have been trained by NEST and Honeywell. We are also Part P electrical trained and Gas Safety registered, so the full belt and braces.
SMART Heating Controls Summary
There you are, our ultimate guide to SMART Heating Controls which has hopefully made it clearer for you to decide whether installing them in your home is a desirable thing and what to look out for.
If you want the benefits of SMART Heating Controls in your home but haven’t got the time to do the research or installation yourself, then let us do it for you. We’ll take away the hassle of deciding which SMART devices are best suited for your circumstances and install them in your home, so you’ll be saving time and money on your home heating bills and have full control over the temperature of each room in your house.
Book your appointment by contacting us today.
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