Controlling heating via smart thermostats and smart TRVs?

Controlling heating via smart thermostats and smart TRVs?

9:52 AM, 20th April 2016, About 6 years ago 25

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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

by Ris Zee

22:09 PM, 21st April 2016, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Robert Mellors" at "20/04/2016 - 12:15":

Hi Robert,

Thanks for your informative response.

I note inspire have both a wired and wireless product.

How have you set yours up program wise?

From an installation perspective (not programming) was this relatively straight forward?

The TRV idea is short lived, after calling the manufacturer.
The window sensor works by sensing a drop in temperature and closes the valve for 30 minutes, thereafter opening it again. Now if the window is still open (which it most likely will be) the TRV will then assume it IS very cold and open fully. Or at least that's my understanding of it.

As for the tamper proof aspect, i don't think it is.

So I'll resort to fitting standard TRV's and hope the tenants will turn it off when opening windows.

by Ris Zee

22:12 PM, 21st April 2016, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "John Frith" at "20/04/2016 - 16:14":

Spot on regarding the window sensor ! A while just being 30 mins.

I looked at Heat Genius, however i can see it practically costing £100 for each room (combination of radiator sensor and room sensor). But then i can imagine the savings being very good too.

Do you have HG and if yes, what savings have you seen?

by RebeccaH

22:47 PM, 21st April 2016, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Ris Zee" at "21/04/2016 - 21:58":

The first time I installed Hive, that was pretty much the only choice (that I knew of) - I liked the app, the alerts you get when the temp goes above a certain limit etc. I then used Salus - OK but pretty clunky - but wanted to return to Hive (again, still not aware of some other things out there ) and thought I could live with the different log in situation. However, it has become an absolute pain - the app doesn't even remember passwords etc so you have to type in your email and password for each property every time you want to check.

Reading some other posts, the cap sounds good but, on the whole, I don't manage my properties so my tenants don't have direct access to me to ask for changes. As such, I would probably just set a cap a few degrees above the programmed temp and be prepared that they leave it at that all the time.

by Robert Mellors

23:48 PM, 21st April 2016, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Ris Zee" at "21/04/2016 - 22:09":

Hi Ris Zee

The installation was straightforward in as much as I told my electrician where I wanted the room stat to be placed, and where I wanted the sender unit to be placed, and I left him to do it. The sender unit needs to be fairly close to the property's wi-fi router, so I usually put them both on the first floor landing (so ensuring best wi-fi signal to all rooms). The room stat is usually on the ground floor, but could be on the first floor (e.g. also on the landing) if appropriate.

The placing of the room stat within the property also helps to determine the optimum settings (along with the actual use of the rooms within the property). For example, if the room stat is placed in a cool room then it will call for heat from the boiler until that room reaches the desired temperature and while this is happening, heat will be pumped around to the radiators in the other rooms. This means that if the tenants work this out, then they can keep the room with the stat quite cool (e.g. turn off the radiator) and this will then "trick" the stat into thinking the house is cold and needs heat so will continue to pump heat to the radiators in the occupied rooms. This prevents wasteful heating in the room with the stat, but does not prevent waste of heat in the other rooms. Therefore, not only do you need to programme in a maximum room temperature, but also set times when you want it the heating on and off (or high and low). - It is difficult o give a definitive answer because every property is different due to the variation in property types, sizes, layout, etc, and also the different behaviours of residents in HMOs (e.g. some waste a lot of heat, while others prefer a cooler climate and/or are more responsible).

I used to get monthly gas usage bills (heat wastage) of around £200 - £250 pcm (for a 4 bed HMO house), but with the Inspire Home Automation system this is now averaging around £150 pcm, so even with the cost of the stats and the electrician installing them, the £100 pcm savings can add up to be substantial within a very short time (and of course those savings continue ad-infinitum).

by John Frith

14:45 PM, 22nd April 2016, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Ris Zee" at "21/04/2016 - 22:12":

I haven't installed Heat Genius (HG) yet (and may leave it now for the summer), but have done some research to the point of choosing HG. I don't have HMO's, so it's for my own home, and consequently haven't focused on the issue of tenants overriding controls.

There are better savings with the zoned solutions, but it's difficult to quantify in advance.

One thing with using HG room sensors is that apparently you can tell (via the internet) if there's anyone in that room. Might be useful as a remote way of detecting burglars if the house is vacant.

Best HG review I found:
http://www.automatedhome.co.uk/reviews/my-automated-home-heat-genius-smart-home-heating-controls.html

by Tim Fenn

9:14 AM, 23rd April 2016, About 6 years ago

Hi,
Try
http://www.vesternet.com
They should have everything you need.

by Louise Broom

9:09 AM, 25th April 2016, About 6 years ago

We sell electric radiators that have an open window detector. They automatically stop drawing power when they sense a drop in temperature for a certain period. They also have a built in consumption meter and regulator. You could almost buy the rads for the same price as the valves and not have to worry about boiler breakdown and maintenance. Give me a shout if you want to know more. Louise

by John Frith

16:45 PM, 25th April 2016, About 6 years ago

Tim, have you set up systems using vesternet products?

The web site seems more suitable for techie d-i-y ers. The Z-wave controller you link to needs all the other bits and bobs to make a complete system, and patching them all together would need you to be an enthusiast.

I understand Heat Genius and Evohome both use Z-Wave technology, and it seems that Z-Wave is the current de-facto standard for controlling home devices (plugs, lights etc, as well as heating), but for most people sticking with one brand will make life a lot easier. If you are an expert, though, I'd like to pick your brains!

by Tim Fenn

16:47 PM, 25th April 2016, About 6 years ago

Hi,
I wouldnt say i'm an expert but we are using there stuff.
Feel free to email me tim@fishergate.co.uk

by Ris Zee

0:01 AM, 5th May 2016, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Robert Mellors" at "21/04/2016 - 23:48":

Hi Robert,

My apologies for the late response.
Thanks for the helpful explanation.

So perhaps the communal hall isn't the best location for the stat. That leaves either the 1st floor hall which has a small radiator, or the kitchen.

Regarding your stat installation, was that relatively straight forward for the electrician? I understand a boiler needs to support external controls to work with this solution, so this should just be a case of wiring in, or so i hope.

Thank you


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