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Heating controls

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by hop, Feb 17, 2016.

  1. hop

    hop Well-Known Forumite

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    We currently have a mixed heating system comprised of 2 boilers, an air source heat pump, a wood burning stove and range cooker.
    Radiators are controlled via thermostatic radiator valves.
    I'm a bit of a gadget fan and like the idea of a smarter heating system.
    Does anyone have hive / nest or smart radiator valves? What is your experience of these technologies ?
    Currently I'm thinking that a hybrid mix which includes smart TRVs is the way to go. My reasoning is that you tend use different zones of a house at different points in time. A timer or indeed hive / nest does not offer such zoning. E.g. In the evening I would be mostly downstairs and therefore could defer the heating of the upstairs rooms until later, kids rooms might get a preheat followed by an increase 1 hour before they go to bed (there are several playrooms so I don't see much need to heat the bedroom when they won't use it)
    Interestingly any modern home of 150m2 or more is meant to have multiple heating zone according to part L of the building regulations. My property is considerable larger than this but less sophisticated controls.
    I think smart TRVs are a simple way to achieve such zones.

    Does anyone have smart controls. I'm not that bothered about internet connectivity in fact that could be seen as a week point. If I was to go down that route I would probably use a relay switch from a low voltage input to a mains voltage device, using my own server to achieve this; rather than trusting security to others.
     
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  3. Lucy

    Lucy Well-Known Forumite

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    my OH is currently building one, intercepting the signal from the wireless thermostat. The company I work for has a share in Tado, which is definitely better than Hive, but I haven't seen a comparison to Nest. As we have oil we can't have it though. Building one ourselves means we'll get to add the TVRs into the network too.
     
  4. bpelectric

    bpelectric Well-Known Forumite

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    Pegler do a smart TRV cost about £25 each model i30 how long the battery's last i've no idea but offer Up to 6 Temperature Settings per Day
     
  5. hop

    hop Well-Known Forumite

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    Interesting, is the thermostat 433 MHz ? You could intercept that for about £1 with an ardunio or raspberry pi using the gpio ports.

    Is he just going to use this interception to power on / off the boiler ? Its not clear what his intention is ? If he is interested its very easy to connect a temperature sensor to a boiler and turn on / off using lightwaverf signals. I'm currently creating a hybrid plug which monitors temperature and humidity levels and based on these determines the risk of mould. If it considers mould will be a risk it will activate a dehumidifier or heater (depending on the dew point). Just a toy project but only takes a few hours of effort to build the electronics and write the code.
     
  6. hop

    hop Well-Known Forumite

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    Thanks I will investigate these further.
     
  7. Lucy

    Lucy Well-Known Forumite

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    Yes, he's using a Raspberry Pi. He's only logging whether the heating is on or off, but eventually the plan is to control it from elsewhere. We're going to put temperature and humidity sensors in each room, then get smart TRVs to be able to control each room separately - something you can't do with smart thermostat.

    Last year he intercepted the weather station signal and added in the greenhouse, the plan is to do automated watering.
     
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  8. John Marwood

    John Marwood I ♥ cryptic crosswords

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    I used to prefer Tomorrow's World when it was in black and white
     
  9. hop

    hop Well-Known Forumite

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    I have just dug out an old soak away and rerouted the drainage for this. In doing this task I discovered that my oil line was joined under the ground, which should not have been done and does not adhere to best practise. So I will undertake some more digging and replace the line.
    I figure whilst I'm going to all this effort I may was well add some chemical cleaners to the central heating and flush out the entire system to remove any sludge. I will probably remove every radiator so I can hit them with rubber mallet and remove as much magnetite as possible.

    So I figure now is a good time to upgrade the TRVs and provide smart zonal heating. I'm mostly interesting in being able to turn off all upstairs radiators in the day time to save a few quid, but using smart controls being able to create virtual zones

    @Lucy have you encountered and issues with the Tado TRVs such as leaking batteries ? I was thinking about using z-wave controls and the Danfoss LC13 was looking reasonable however it seems some users have had issues with the battery leaking and ruining the circuit board.
     
  10. Lucy

    Lucy Well-Known Forumite

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    Not heard anything - it's a different department but there's been nothing on our internal social media.

    All the cabling is in ready for the temperature sensors, and as he managed to drop the wireless thermostat and break the screen he's managed to code up programmes ready for our new boiler to arrive next week (the current one is broken beyond repair). We'll have a tablet it the kitchen where we can overide and use like a thermostat
     
  11. captainpish

    captainpish Well-Known Forumite

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    Be careful what you buy and make sure you know whats in the box. I know honeywell require all kinds of add onns for you to be able to control each TRV head like a zone. The standard kit (evohome) which is around £500 and also comes with a wireless cylinder stat will only allow the TRV heads to transfer a temperature readout to the control hub. You cannot actually turn a zone on or off via the controller without spending a few hundred quid more. The control hub keeps losing connection with the wireless units and the process for rebinding them is ridiculously complex. Spent hours on the phone to their technical who didnt have a clue and kept trying to make me repeat the same process which wasnt working over and over again. I do reccomend the nest though they are very good quality, Hive is pants.

    Can you not just use mechanical 2 port zone valves to control each zone and a room stat? or are you not able to do so? You may have to drag some cable depending on where your junction box is but its far nore reliable than some of the extortionatly priced tat out there at the moment.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2016
  12. hop

    hop Well-Known Forumite

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    Thanks for your recommendations / comments.

    I was hoping to get a fine level control over the heating and would need to install several 2 port valves to get them same amount of granularity that would be available with smart TRVs. Whilst it would be possible to use 2 ports values there would be a fair amount of plumbing, wiring and redecoration required to ensure everything was neat and tidy.
    The appeal of the smarter controls is the fact that TRV valves generally have a universal body so installation is simple without the need to cut into pipework, run cables, chase out walls and make good afterwards.

    e.g With a smart TRV system. I might have something like the following
    - Heat master bedroom + bathroom and daughters bedroom and bathroom each morning from 6am - 8am on weekdays. All other radiators off
    - Turn off all heat to all bedrooms, landings, bathrooms during the daytime regardless of day of the week.
    - Turn on heat to playroom at 4pm turn off at 6pm.
    - turn on heat to lounge at 7:30pm turn off at 8pm (will use stove afterwards - so just quick temp boost to make warmer initially)
    - turn on heat to daughters bathroom and bedroom from 6pm - 8pm.
    etc...
    - enable occasional heating of the kitchen between March - May if the temperature drops to 18c (normally heated between November - March by aga which due to warmer days is turned off in spring)

    I was planning on leaving the traditional TRVs in the rarely used rooms alone, since these rooms are generally left on the frost setting with the valve opened manually if we are having guests over or will be using those rooms for some other purpose.

    Guess it might be best waiting a while to see if any clear leader emerges in this space whilst technology issues are ironed out.
     
  13. Lucy

    Lucy Well-Known Forumite

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    Our new homemade thermostat DSC_0491.JPG
     
  14. hop

    hop Well-Known Forumite

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    @Lucy - Looks good.

    I'm assuming the combo box for the study temperature is just picking the first value rather than the current room temperature.... However I know in the past you have talked about lime mortar and the like so I guess you also have a period / historic property.

    It might be worth factoring in both the temperature and humidity of the rooms and making an intelligence decision based on these factors. There is a handy website on preservation metrics (dpcalc.org). I know of several people who are frugal with their heating and have developed issues with mould / mildew growing on fabrics of sofas etc...

    Have a play with the site - generally best to click degrees C and solve for Dew point. If your study temperature was 12C (unlikely for this time of year) then a humidity of 78 would result in mould being visible in 25 days time - realistic humid for this time of year)... Note if you enter the risk period is a bit too late the spores have started to multiple at this point.

    This site has a piece of javascript present which calculates the risk of mould / mildew and the number of days before it is visible (note at this point it is too late the spores have already started to increase). The logic is very simple and is basically a few lookups in some arrays which are present in the client side code.
     
  15. Lucy

    Lucy Well-Known Forumite

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    It is just picking the first value, so we can set the study to go to whatever we pick at the set time. The temperature sensor has a humidity reading so I'll have a look at that site, thanks.
     
  16. Lucy

    Lucy Well-Known Forumite

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    So the heating control has moved on somewhat. It's now wired directly into the boiler and a relay switches both heating and hot water on and off as requested, along with boost functionality and normal timing patterns. Temperature sensors are in every room, he bought a 3D printer especially to print the boxes they sit in. I can even switch the slow cooker plug on from away from home.
     
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