Smart heating controls

Smart heating controls are becoming increasingly popular as many more people are looking for more precise control over the energy they use in their homes. This is especially important with soaring global energy prices and growing concern for our environmental impact and carbon footprint.

On average, hot water and heating account for over half of our energy bills. When you are able to accurately control your heating, you can gain the control and convenience you need maximise comfort. You may also be able to save money by avoiding heating your home when it isn’t required. Heating controls are the key to making the most of your heating system.

Heating controls is a broad term that includes timers, thermostats and other components, which affect the room temperatures as well as when the heating and hot water are turned on or off.

Types of heating controls

Traditional heating controls can be mechanical styles that are set manually and modern controls connect your boiler wirelessly to your thermostat. Mechanical or programmable room thermostats give you some control as to when and where in your house the heating comes on.

Thermostatic radiator valves can add another layer of control to individual radiators and are recommended if you have one central thermostat but want to control the temperature in each room separately.

Smart heating controls connect to the internet via your home wifi and add an extra level of convenience by allowing you adjust them remotely using an app on your phone.

Some smart heating controls can even learn your habits and adjust settings automatically, and the Nest app for instance, actually detects when you have left the house and can adjust the heating accordingly.

Why choose smart heating controls?

The type of heating control that is best for you depends on the level of control you want over your heating system.

A manual thermostat offers basic control, allowing you to set simple temperature requirements, they are best suited for areas where the heating requirements remain the same day in and day out.

If you’re looking for a little more control, like the ability to set daily schedules then a programmable thermostat may be more suited to your requirements.

If you have a busy lifestyle and wish to have the ability to adjust your home heating from outside the home then a smart thermostat may be the best choice. They do cost more but there are a range of options. Here are some of the benefits:

• They are easy to use to check and change the temperature settings and on/off periods for heating and hot water.
• You can operate the controls using your smartphone when you’re not at home.
• They learn your habits and adjust the controls to match, for example, turning up the thermostat in the evening or heating the hot water ready for when you’re most likely to take a shower or bath.
• They can also offer efficiencies by detecting an open window (by a sudden drop in temperature) and turning the thermostat down or the heating off
• Some smart heating controls can track the location of your smartphone, so they can turn on the heating and/or hot water in time for your return home.
• They may have other advance control functions such as weather compensation, enabling the boiler to respond to temperature changes outside and adjust the heat output to the radiators.

Even if you don’t think you would use some of the advanced features, having a system that can learn your habits and adjust timings can help you to minimise energy use with very little input once you’ve set up the system.

Compatibility

Regardless of the type of thermostat you choose, ensuring the thermostat works alongside your boiler model is key. Smart thermostats, for example, can be used with most modern boilers of all fuel types. However, if the boiler is an older model, a smart thermostat may not be able to connect.

Leading boiler manufacturers like Viessmann, Worcester and Vaillant, have designed a range of smart thermostats specifically for use alongside their boilers, this ensures compatibility and offers a more convenient shopping experience. In addition, popular brands of controls such as Nest (from Google), Hive (British Gas), Honeywell and Danfoss, are compatible with all modern heating systems.

If you contact Plumb-Line on 01604 644500 we will be able to advise which heating controls are compatible with your heating system and best for your home and circumstances.