Controlling heating via smart thermostats and smart TRVs?

by Readers Question

9:52 AM, 20th April 2016
About 3 years ago

Controlling heating via smart thermostats and smart TRVs?

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Controlling heating via smart thermostats and smart TRVs?

I have a property that I rent out with all bills included. However much like other landlords i find the heating is left on coupled with windows left open and hefty bills.smart

At the moment I’m sprucing the property up and have installed thermoboards to rooms where there are exterior facing walls, to help insulate the property and was looking in to standard Thermostatic Radiator Valves.

I’ve seen the Inspire Home Automation Wireless Thermostat @ £190 and this looks promising in that it gives tenants some flexibility and provides a boost function. I foresee this reducing my bills slightly.

Regarding windows left open and heating on, I’ve seen a product by Danfoss which is a Thermostatic Radiator Valve which also has an “open window sensor” which if senses a window open, closes the valve immediately. This costs around £50 per valve and I’d fit to the radiators in the bedrooms only.

Has anyone had experience of using this TRV? or any like it?

Should I invest in both solutions, or perhaps one of them?

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Thanks

Zee



Comments

Sandy Down

10:08 AM, 20th April 2016
About 3 years ago

I use BG's the Hive, I can control the heating and schedule from my iphone app, it sends me notification if the heating went over a specific temperature.

Tracy Conner

11:35 AM, 20th April 2016
About 3 years ago

I looked into this for the reasons mentioned.
Having spoken with BG, realised you needed an internet connection and a separate email address for each account and you would need one app per property.
I haven't pushed it but wondered if there was now a solution for multiple account...

RebeccaH

11:47 AM, 20th April 2016
About 3 years ago

Haven't used those TRVs but interested to look in to them and see how much installation is needed (I assume a sensor is needed per window?).

As for heating apps, BG's hive is good but not only do you need different emails for each account, you can only down load a single app (if you try to download a second, it just updates the one there). As such, you have to enter user/pw everytime you use it and want to check a particular property. I understand they are working on it as this is a real limitation for getting more.

I'm hearing good things about Inspire but haven't tried for myself - a feature it also has that Hive doesn't is a temperature 'cap' - tenants can turn up the heating if needed but only to a maximum that the landlord sets.

Robert Mellors

12:15 PM, 20th April 2016
About 3 years ago

I use the Inspire Home Automation tamper proof room stats in all my HMOs. When I first investigated using remote room stats I did look at the BG Hive system, but this is not tamper proof, so the residents would simply override any landlord settings and it would have been back to 35 degrees and all windows open! The Inspire landlord room stats enable the landlord to set the temperature and on/off times, and then disable the settings so that they cannot be changed by the tenants. If the tenants want more heat, or to change the on/off times, then they have to ask the landlord to change the settings, which can be done easily and quickly on computer or mobile phone app. The system does take a bit of installing, and does need a wi-fi connection, but once set up it usually works well, and if there are ever any problems then the staff at Inspire have been excellent in dealing with enquiries and resolving any issues.

Only one app needed to control ALL the room stats in all the properties. (or can be done by simply logging in to the website, where all the stats can be viewed, monitored, settings changed, etc).

The Inspire system works on the basis of the installed room stats, so this could be one, or a zoned system (use more than one stat to create different heating "zones" within the house). Unless you set this up for multiple zones, e.g. one for every room, then it only works for a general house temperature, not for controlling individual room temperatures, so this is where the TRVs on the radiators are needed. I've not yet found a tamper-proof TRV and I'm not sure it would be desirable anyway, as residents should be able to adjust their own room temperature (at least up to a reasonable maximum amount), but one that shuts off when a window is open sounds like a good idea in theory, but how would you prevent a resident from removing or tampering with the sensors or TRV?

Philip Savva

12:58 PM, 20th April 2016
About 3 years ago

Simple solution & cost cutting excirse for yourself, don't all inclusive rent, put the bills in tenants names? You'd be amazed at how they will not abuse the heating then?

Robert Mellors

13:41 PM, 20th April 2016
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Philip Savva" at "20/04/2016 - 12:58":

This is fine if they have a joint tenancy, e.g. 4 students sharing a house, but it does not work where the rooms are let individually to a range of different tenants, with room tenancies starting and stopping at different dates etc.

John Frith

16:14 PM, 20th April 2016
About 3 years ago

I've not looked at Inspire (I will) but check out Heat Genius and Evohome, being the main suppliers of zoned heating automation systems. The others (Hive, Nest, Dovolo etc) seem to be a step up from your dumb boiler, but you need a zoned system to have different parts of the building heated at different times (don't you really want the bathroom, kitchen, living room and bedrooms to be heated at different times?).

Neither Heat Genius or Evohome are cheap. I prefer HG because it can do things like learn your usage patterns, and stop heating a room if there's no-one using it.

The window sensor is actually just the smart TRV sensing a sharp drop in temperature and then switching itself off for a while.

Claire Smith

17:50 PM, 20th April 2016
About 3 years ago

Not very helpful for now, but at future tenancy changes why not set a cap that you will pay for utilities (making it generous so they have no reason to complain). Then you would need to warn them if they were going near to the cap.
We have this on an HMO and have never had a problem with over use of gas/ electric.

Ris Zee

21:58 PM, 21st April 2016
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Rebecca Hilliard" at "20/04/2016 - 11:47":

Hi Rebecca,

Yes the temperature cap with Inspire is quite appealing.

Have you BG Hive? If yes, why did you choose it?

Ris Zee

21:59 PM, 21st April 2016
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Sandy Down" at "20/04/2016 - 10:08":

Thanks for your reply. Useful info.

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