SMART SYSTEMS

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What is a smart heating thermostat?

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Smart heating thermostats are made up of two components: a smart module that’s wired into your boiler (you can do this yourself or employ an engineer) and connects to your home wifi network, and a thermostat that must either be screwed to the wall or freestanding in a room in your home. The latter replaces any existing wired or wireless thermostat you already have and displays the current temperature, as well as letting you turn it up or down.

The thermostat communicates the change in temperature to the smart module, which alters the heating as required. You can also use a smartphone app to change the temperature, as well as set schedules, stop your heating coming on at all - ideal if you’re going on holiday - and get a report charting your heating use. You don’t need to be at home to use the app but your smartphone will need either a wifi or 4G connection to communicate with your boiler.

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Will a smart heating thermostat save you money?

Many smart heating brands claim they can shave hundreds of pounds off your energy bill each month, but it largely depends on your current heating habits.

If you leave or return to your house at different times every day, or tend to leave your heating on all the time, a smart heating thermostat will save you money by helping you to adjust the heating depending on when you’re in. If you already set schedules based on your routine, it’s unlikely you’ll save much.

Things to consider

Type: There are two types of smart thermostat on the market: those that control your heating as one zone, so all radiators are either on or off, or multi-zone smart heating thermostats that allow you to choose which radiators to have on and which ones to turn off. The latter involves installing a smart valve on each radiator in the home and is therefore the more expensive option.

Boiler: If your boiler uses a programmer to control the heating and hot water separately, you’ll need to use a compatible smart thermostat. If you don’t have a programmer and subsequently don’t have to worry about your hot water running out, then all smart thermostats will work with your set-up.

Installation: Unless you’re a DIY whizz, most manufacturers recommend professional installation. Most energy providers offer installation deals, so it’s always worth researching before you commit.

Voice control: Smart thermostats usually support voice assistants Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, and some can be used with Apple’s Siri. This means you can ask the voice assistant to turn the heating on, off or heat a room to a specific temperature (if you have a multi-zone system). Many also support IFTT - a web platform that gets your smart devices to work together - so you can get your lights and heating to turn on automatically at the same time.

Self-learning: Some smart heating thermostats are self-learning, meaning they assess how long it takes your home to get to a desired temperature and then adjusts your schedule to ensure your home is at the temperature you want when you want it. This ensures you’re not wasting energy, too.

Sensors: Many smart heating thermostats come with motion and open-window sensors, which turn the heating off if it believes no one is in the room or a window is open, again reducing energy waste.

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If you would like to learn more about the many varied smart home systems we have to offer at The Eco Option please contact us at your earliest convenience, and one of our expert advisors will be willing and able to assist you.