If you’re thinking of upgrading your heating to a smarter device, the first thing you need to consider is what kind of system will work best for your home and family. Adding smart technology isn’t just about making your home more comfortable – it can also bring real energy savings if the right devices are used.
Smart Heating Devices
The most common smart upgrade is the addition of a smart thermostat or smart TRV (the small valves you attach to each radiator in your home) which can be linked to your existing central heating boiler, hot water cylinder or heat pump via a hub. Most can be controlled from a smartphone app or smart speaker such as Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa or Apple HomeKit and you can adjust the schedules of individual rooms according to your own needs. Many are designed to be ‘self-learning’ and work out when it’s most appropriate to turn the heating on, say at 6pm as you would normally arrive home from work, and when to switch it off for the night to save electricity during peak periods.
Other options include SMART metering systems that connect to your gas or electricity meter, taking automatic readings and sending them to your energy supplier for instant billing. Some are being offered free by energy suppliers in the hope that they will replace estimated meter readings and cut energy bills.
There are a huge number of smart heating devices on the market, from a basic entry level set up such as Nest or Tado through to high-end solutions which will integrate with your alarm and other connected appliances for maximum functionality. Many have tablet-style touchscreen displays and some are multi-zone to control different parts of the house at the same time – for example, a bedroom might be warmed to a higher temperature than the living room so you can stay toasty while your kids are in their rooms.
A plethora of other options are available depending on the system you choose, including features such as geofencing and GPS tracking that let your phone know when you leave or return to the home, automatically switching your heating off if it senses you’re going out for the day or back in at night, and allowing you to change your schedule from any location in the world. Some can even detect when there is a power cut and switch your heating on automatically, ensuring you will always have a warm and welcoming home to come back to.
All of these features should make a difference to your heating costs but the main benefit of a good SMART system is that it should really do the thinking for you, and keep the temperature in your home at the optimal setting for comfort without wasting energy in unnecessary heating or cooling it. That’s how you’ll see the biggest energy savings, and that’s why these devices should be at the heart of your smart home.