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Home heating automation

  • 29-06-2017 3:36pm
    #1
    Closed Accounts Posts: 24,778 ✭✭✭✭ ogry5zn3svkcf9


    Just starting to look into this now though probably wont be purchasing for a while unless a bargain pops up.

    I know there are a number of options out there for this but many like the Nest for example appear to be mostly based around running automatically depending on temp etc or learning your usage.

    What I want to know is which one is best to use like a traditional timer? I'd want to set a schedule for heating and water to come on and off and also boost it if I felt like it. Learning my usage or using the thermostat to turn on/off the heating is not something I would really use.

    I do want to be able to boost the heat and water remotely so the place is warm before arriving home and have a nice interface for setting timers using an app as we change around our water and heating timing quite often and its a pain having to do this using the poor user interfaces and controls on a traditional heating timer.

    I'm assuming they can all be used in this way but I wonder if any device in particular is more geared towards this type of usage?


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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,316 ✭✭✭ THE ALM


    Can't speak for the Nest but the Hive will do what you want as long as your current setup is compatible.

    Had the Hive installed several months ago and happy with it so far after a few teething problems, these where related to the addition of hive bulbs to the system which has since been ironed out.

    Can set you schedule online, using the app or using the thermostat. Can boost heating or hot water independently and how long you want the boost to run. Once the set temperature is reached the heating will knock itself off.

    Thermostat is wireless so can be placed anywhere, one of the reasons we went with it as we didn't have a one at the time.

    Bord Gais are the official installers in Ireland although it can be purchased online elsewhere.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,576 ✭✭✭ niallb


    I got a Z-Wave compatible thermostat and single channel switch for about €120.
    You might need more than one channel on your switch depending on how your zoning is set up.
    I've it connected to a google calendar using openhab2 on a raspberry pi so I can change the temperature set point at any time of the day or night from anywhere. The advantage is that people can still change the setpoint using the dial on the room thermostat if desired.

    Sounds like the Hive is doing all that for @THE ALM, though I do like being able to extend the system.
    It would be simple enough for example to get it to turn on the heating when my phone pairs with the bluetooth in my car after a cutoff point in the afternoon on the assumption I'm heading home.

    Openhab works with the Echo dot as well, so I can just say "Turn on the heating" and the boiler fires in about 10 seconds.
    Finally, I have an app on my phone which allows to read current temperature, switch the heating on and off and change the thermostat as well as a web interface to the same thing.

    I got a similar unit for my parents, but it has a 7 day wireless thermostat/timer on it with a big readout instead of a basic thermometer.
    It cost about €50 more and supports about half a dozen temperature changes over each of seven days.

    We have bedrooms upstairs and downstairs, and different schedules, so devices that try to work out when you "go to work" and "come home" weren't the place I wanted to start and traditional zoning doesn't work so well either.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,712 ✭✭✭ Metric Tensor


    Any chance of a link to the ones you got niallb?

    They sound exactly like what I'm looking for - both yours and your parents. Hoping to set mine up with Home Assistant via Z Wave.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 24,778 ✭✭✭✭ Simon Massive Bologna


    Yes I forgot to add its two zones (upstairs and downstairs) and seperate water heating also so 3 zones from the timers perspective. There are thermostats already in the two zones. Really a solution that would just be a straight swap for the current timer device similar to this but a slightly older model: https://www.google.ie/search?q=channel+plus+xl+model+h37&rlz=1CDGOYI_enIE619IE619&hl=en-GB&prmd=ivsn&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiBn6a02eXUAhWlBcAKHfxNACsQ_AUICSgB&biw=375&bih=591#imgrc=X8WpTgAx_LULDM:

    To be honest if it is a lot of work I might just leave it as we won't be staying in this house long term but it would really suit our usage not to be limited to the current setup.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,576 ✭✭✭ niallb


    I'd replied to this earlier, but it looks like boards ate the post.
    I've also PM'd a link to Metric Tensor because a couple of times I've posted links on boards,
    they've been removed and I've been accused of advertising.

    Three zones is probably best drawn out on paper before you decide how to switch it - there's lots of options.
    The Wish3 from http://www.mi-genie.co.uk/ looks like it might be a good swap for that controller,
    and you can always replace the original controller when you leave.

    I'm just using a single channel switch to start the boiler, and considering the options of remotely settable TRV valves on individual radiators to "zone" them. This is necessary for us because we have bedrooms both upstairs and downstairs, so running pipe to define different zones is impractical. I'll probably put electric valves on the immersion tank at some point, and switch out the single channel switch I have at the moment for a double. I haven't seen a 3 channel z-wave switch as a single unit.

    I used Home Assistant first time around, though I've switched to openHAB2 since.
    A new release of that has just arrived which supports IKEA TradFri bulbs,
    so I'll hopefully upgrade that in about 10 days when I get some time.

    My only difficulty with originally pairing everything up was that things had to be done in a very particular order.
    I didn't want my raspberry pi being the "Master" of the switch - I wanted the thermostat to do that so it would continue to work independently if anything went askew on the pi. We can still use the dial in the kitchen, and it updates the dashboard on the pi too.

    What I've ended up with is the ability to trigger the on/off switch (instant) and change the heating setpoint (5-15 minutes).
    There's a setting on the thermostat which varies the polling interval by changing the heating type. The fastest is Electric, then Gas, then Oil.
    I'm using the Electric setting even though we've kerosene because it was easier when I was scripting it.

    After the initial messing around with pairing, it's been flawless.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,712 ✭✭✭ Metric Tensor


    Excellent post with great detail. Thanks niallb


    And if you find the magic zwave three zone switch let me know. I need the same!


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,825 ✭✭✭ dloob


    Tado could do the heating but not the hot water.
    The tado thermostats would replace the existing ones and take over the schedule control for those zones.
    It has geo fencing on its app so it can turn the heating down when all phones with the app are away from the house.
    It doesn't do any fancy learning of schedules or motion sensing like nest.

    Netatmo would be similar to tado, replacing existing thermostats, with the same lack of control of hot water.
    I don't think it does the geo fencing either, not built in at least, but probably can with IFTTT.

    Climote could do what you want.
    It would replace the time clock with an app controllable one, leaves the thermostats alone.
    But their subscription model puts me off, 45 euro a year for remote access.


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 21,066 Mod ✭✭✭✭ bk


    dloob wrote: »
    Netatmo would be similar to tado, replacing existing thermostats, with the same lack of control of hot water.
    I don't think it does the geo fencing either, not built in at least, but probably can with IFTTT.

    Just FYI, Netatmo definitely has geofencing built into the app. I have one myself.


  • Registered Users Posts: 21,748 ✭✭✭✭ ted1


    Why do you think a learning thermostat won't work for you?

    You can still set schedules like an old thermostat.

    NEST has geo fencing and can also tell when the house is empty


  • Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 10,934 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Stoner


    And if you find the magic zwave three zone switch let me know. I need the same!

    Why not give the 4 channel Sonoff wifi unit a quick look


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,576 ✭✭✭ niallb


    Stoner wrote: »
    Why not give the 4 channel Sonoff wifi unit a quick look

    Nice one @Stoner.
    The max power load seems to be 10A, so for heating purposes including an immersion this might be limited, but at that price I can see myself getting one for my valves. And at less than US$15, there will be no import duty.
    Seems to work with OpenHAB2 and Homeassistant also, though might need a firmware change.


  • Registered Users Posts: 50 ✭✭✭ GryKyo


    Stoner wrote: »
    Why not give the 4 channel Sonoff wifi unit a quick look
    niallb wrote: »
    Nice one @Stoner.
    The max power load seems to be 10A, so for heating purposes including an immersion this might be limited, but at that price I can see myself getting one for my valves. And at less than US$15, there will be no import duty.
    Seems to work with OpenHAB2 and Homeassistant also, though might need a firmware change.

    @Stoner and niallb: will be aware of some of the home automation I have mentioned on a couple of other threads. Automation of home heating with some zone control is a job I had thought about and the Sonoff 4 channel pro is a good fit for this. As I understand many zone control valves are driven one direction and return once power is removed so easy enough to control using the relays.

    To throw a curve ball in to the game, Honeywell have a system called Evohome that is just so logical that I want to have a play with it. The way that this works is by individually controlling each radiator valve and your hot water coil both thermostatically and via a smart schedule. This is the best compromise to my mind with power efficiency and convenience maxed out this way. It gets better as no plumbing is required if you have old school mechanical thermostat rad valves already, the WiFi controlled radiator valve cap unit is compatible with standard radiator valves with a 30mm thread (trusting my memory here!). In stock format there is a touch screen tablet which can be wall mounted with all the bells and whistles built in, including an app to remotely control your heating. Using individual valves on the devices permits really tidy zone controlling with the schedule or a manual override or thermostat rules raising a "call for heat" signal to the boiler which would automatically command the circulation pump. This way you can kick the hot water on a few mins before the bedroom rads on occupied rooms only, then the kitchen etc for regular winter mornings. Evenings just as flexible where the heat follows the people around the house on a predictable enough pattern, we are creatures of habit!

    The system that would work for me lists at about stg£500 - 600 with a controller, hot water and 6 rad valves. This is a bit sore for some experimentation but as a robust and sensible system I would think this has to be a whole lot better than a single thermostat control in a hallway as was traditional in domestic heating systems for the average non tech, no hacks, standard Irish family home.

    What I really want to see is somebody hacking into the valve controls so that we can all read and command these devices using our home automation systems. It is the time of year where I forget about heating so I haven't done a lot of reading recently but this would be the heating system control of choice for me!

    Just a few more ideas for you, what do you think?

    Garry


  • Registered Users Posts: 75 ✭✭ theluke79


    Hi everybody,
    we're finally buying our first house :)

    So I am looking at options to get as much automation as possible together with a good CH/HW system in place.

    I currently have a NEST(in the house we are renting).

    I plan to install a combi boiler for instant HW, combined with something like EvoHome to have zoning without needing to re run all pipes.

    Do you know if EvoHome deals with combi boilers?

    It has to be simple and maintenance free.


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 21,066 Mod ✭✭✭✭ bk


    theluke79 Evohome will work fine with a combi-boilers

    As you will have instant hot water, you DO NOT need the hot water kit for Evohome. Basically hot water won't be controlled by Evohome at al, it is controlled on demand by the boiler.

    They do however recommend installing an Automatic Bypass Valve

    https://theevohomeshop.co.uk/content/8-what-honeywell-evohome-products-do-i-need

    BTW I've a combi-boiler myself, absolutely love it, would never go back to a crappy cylinder! I use mine with Netatmo, they are supposed to release TVR's too, but haven't yet.


  • Registered Users Posts: 408 ✭✭ dec2000


    @OP what did you go for in the end? I was about to post something very similar to you - have 3 zones (downstairs / upstairs and hot water) 
    I’ve an oil burner and not really interested in self learning systems. Ideally just want to be able to set schedules, override with boost and have the ability to remotely turn on heating if required.
    Climote out of the box looks to tick all the boxes but like you, don’t fancy paying an annual charge to use the functionality. Was looking at the Nest and Hive but really open to any open that can cope with the three zones. Was also considering self install but looking at HIVE material, it then says they only recommend it if you’re upgrading from an older version of HIVE.
    Be interested to hear what you settled with


  • Registered Users Posts: 75 ✭✭ theluke79


    dec2000 wrote: »
    @Nash Whining Hammock what did you go for in the end? I was about to post something very similar to you - have 3 zones (downstairs / upstairs and hot water) 

    Hiya, still waiting for the bank to release the loan offer.... I will start thinking about it more seriously when I'll know for sure the loan is approved.

    The guy that came to survey the property said that it was not worth to put any "fancy" heating systems in the house, just take it as it is....

    I understand the fact that it makes to nese to get the starship enterprise, but I do want a "normal" system without the useless complexity of immersion , remebering when I want hot water, when I do not need it.... bla bla...

    The Valliant systems or the Honeywell look interesting, I will ask to quote them and keep ye posted


  • Registered Users Posts: 24,901 ✭✭✭✭ TitianGerm


    Would anyone advise the best option for me?

    Three zone unit, upstairs, downstairs and hot water. All units can be heated using oil central heating or a stove with a back boiler. There is also an immersion and solar panels for hot water.

    House is a B1 rated and in the three years we've lived there we've used €500 worth of oil. Herself wants to start using the oil more to take the chill out of downstairs in the morning during the winter though so considering a "smart" option now.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,612 ✭✭✭ Dardania


    theluke79 wrote: »
    dec2000 wrote: »
    @Nash Whining Hammock what did you go for in the end? I was about to post something very similar to you - have 3 zones (downstairs / upstairs and hot water) 

    Hiya, still waiting for the bank to release the loan offer.... I will start thinking about it more seriously when I'll know for sure the loan is approved.

    The guy that came to survey the property said that it was not worth to put any "fancy" heating systems in the house, just take it as it is....

    I understand the fact that it makes to nese to get the starship enterprise, but I do want a "normal" system without the useless complexity of immersion , remebering when I want hot water, when I do not need it.... bla bla...

    The Valliant systems or the Honeywell look interesting, I will ask to quote them and keep ye posted
    Typically surveyors aren't paying the bills or living in the comfort of the house...however one can overpay for funtionality


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,415 ✭✭✭ paulbok


    emmetkenny wrote: »
    Would anyone advise the best option for me?

    Three zone unit, upstairs, downstairs and hot water. All units can be heated using oil central heating or a stove with a back boiler. There is also an immersion and solar panels for hot water.

    House is a B1 rated and in the three years we've lived there we've used €500 worth of oil. Herself wants to start using the oil more to take the chill out of downstairs in the morning during the winter though so considering a "smart" option now.

    €500 over 3 years isn't bad, can't see smart control bring it down anything, esp if you are trying to justify the expense.

    One thing I've found with a secondary heating source, is that if say the stove has the water piping, and one of the smart controlled rads ( using evohome) calls for heat, the boiler tends to fire up instead of just using the stove heated water. I've left 3 rads in the hallway uncontrolled as a sink for excess heat from the stove.


  • Registered Users Posts: 24,901 ✭✭✭✭ TitianGerm


    paulbok wrote: »
    €500 over 3 years isn't bad, can't see smart control bring it down anything, esp if you are trying to justify the expense.

    One thing I've found with a secondary heating source, is that if say the stove has the water piping, and one of the smart controlled rads ( using evohome) calls for heat, the boiler tends to fire up instead of just using the stove heated water. I've left 3 rads in the hallway uncontrolled as a sink for excess heat from the stove.

    It's not to do with saving money or to justify the expense it's the timer box installed is a pain to use and herself can't use it at all.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 885 ✭✭✭ oinkely


    emmetkenny wrote: »
    Would anyone advise the best option for me?

    Three zone unit, upstairs, downstairs and hot water. All units can be heated using oil central heating or a stove with a back boiler. There is also an immersion and solar panels for hot water.

    House is a B1 rated and in the three years we've lived there we've used €500 worth of oil. Herself wants to start using the oil more to take the chill out of downstairs in the morning during the winter though so considering a "smart" option now.

    Similar system here without the solar. Stove with backboiler and oil also. Had a 3 channel timer, replaced with Hive now. We never use the immersion for hot water in summer, just the oil - and having remote turn on has proved very handy over the summer. Very easy to use and much more intuitive than the previous controller (an EPH one). No 'smart' features such as learning routines etc, but i didn't want that. Really just wanted an easier to program unit with remote turn on. Hive has done all that for £148 (amazon prime sale).


  • Registered Users Posts: 265 ✭✭ SemperFidelis


    @oinkley

    Was it easy to replace the EPH with Hive, did you need to change the back plate?

    Am leaning in this direction myself the Hive looks like the best option for Irish heating systems with a cylinder.


  • Users Awaiting Email Confirmation Posts: 1,334 J.pilkington


    Heads up on the hive; I ordered a hive from Amazon 12mths ago and had to return as it can only be activated in Ireland through bord gais who will only do so if you buy from them.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,712 ✭✭✭ Metric Tensor


    Wow. Very poor form!


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,024 ✭✭✭ John mac


    emmetkenny wrote: »
    Would anyone advise the best option for me?

    Herself wants to start using the oil more to take the chill out of downstairs in the morning during the winter though so considering a "smart" option now.

    what about thermostatic rad valves ,


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,024 ✭✭✭ John mac


    yup
    i put these in a couple of years ago
    ,
    have them on all the radiators in the house .


  • Registered Users Posts: 24,901 ✭✭✭✭ TitianGerm


    John mac wrote: »
    yup
    i put these in a couple of years ago
    ,
    have them on all the radiators in the house .

    I have those on all my radiators.

    I was looking at the Smart Heating as a simpler option to set timers and turn on the heating if we've been out for the day so the house is warm when we get back.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,316 ✭✭✭ THE ALM


    Heads up on the hive; I ordered a hive from Amazon 12mths ago and had to return as it can only be activated in Ireland through bord gais who will only do so if you buy from them.

    Got mine on Amazon as well and when originally setting it up I used the brothers address in London then emailed support to say they had the wrong address and could they change it, which they did straight away. Maybe they are getting a bit more strict on it which will be difficult as you can walk into harvey norman or maplins and pick it up.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 24,778 ✭✭✭✭ Simon Massive Bologna


    dec2000 wrote: »
    @Nash Whining Hammock what did you go for in the end? I was about to post something very similar to you - have 3 zones (downstairs / upstairs and hot water) 
    I’ve an oil burner and not really interested in self learning systems. Ideally just want to be able to set schedules, override with boost and have the ability to remotely turn on heating if required.
    Climote out of the box looks to tick all the boxes but like you, don’t fancy paying an annual charge to use the functionality. Was looking at the Nest and Hive but really open to any open that can cope with the three zones. Was also considering self install but looking at HIVE material, it then says they only recommend it if you’re upgrading from an older version of HIVE.
    Be interested to hear what you settled with

    Sorry only saw your post, I haven't gone for anything yet. Had been away with work/holidays a lot over the summer so didn't have time to really think about it yet.


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