In many ways, heating hasn’t changed much in 50 years. Boilers may be more efficient, and you may get hot water on demand, but control systems have been stuck in the stone age. Recently we visited a property with a newly-installed wireless thermostat where it proved nigh-on impossible to even change the temperature without resorting to the manual and a cryptic set of keypresses.
Thankfully, a number of manufacturers have woken up and realised there are benefits to be had from throwing out traditional ideas and starting again, with solid engineering, exceptional interface design and innovative ideas.
So what are these benefits? Well, consider the following:
We’ve been out into the marketplace and researched a number of pieces of technology from a variety of companies - some niche and others major global players. From this we’ve identified two product ranges in particular which we think are best of breed.
Owned by Google’s holding company Alphabet, Nest makes the most functionally impressive, and dare we say it sexist, intelligent thermostat on the market. Forget everything you thought you knew about heating control systems - white plastic, flashing LCD displays and incomprehensible interfaces. Nest has built a thermostat that looks beautiful and works brilliantly.
The Nest Thermostat replaces your existing thermostat, and hot water controller if you have one. It has three key features:
For holiday properties the Nest Thermostat is ideal. Using the app from anywhere around the world, you can pre-heat the house prior to guests arriving, turn on the hot water, and set a range of parameters visitors can control. No longer will the cleaner turn up on changeover day and find the thermostat set to 30 degrees! You can even delegate access to your property management company to preset the heating on your behalf.
If you choose a Nest CO/smoke alarm, your boiler will even automatically shut down when the alarm detects carbon monoxide, while each smoke alarm acts as an additional occupancy sensor to tell the thermostat when the building is in use.
The cost of the thermostat including installation is typically £250, and it can work with most types of boiler and central heating system. Devonia Electrical is a Nest Pro Installer (Pro ID: 35D-B6E).
Of course, not all of us have central heating. Many properties rely on immersion heaters, and night storage heaters or panel heaters. Rointe is an innovative well-established manufacturer bringing advanced Smart Home concepts to electrical heating systems.
Rointe’s D Series electric radiators can be controlled through an intuitive touch-screen interface, or via a smartphone app. The technology they’ve built in promises to save money, even compared to night storage systems, by heating more efficiently through several clever tricks:
The Rointe Connect smartphone app allows you to monitor and control your electric radiators individually or in logical groups or zones, from wherever you are around the world. Adjust temperatures, program holidays and monitor energy use even when the house is empty.
Rointe also has a smart range of programmable towel rails with built-in flexible timers and temperature controls. Set your towel rail to heat the bathroom before you use it early each morning, or run a two-hour Boost programme when you jump in the bath. The world’s first wifi-connected towel rails, the D Series range can even be controlled remotely through the Rointe Connect smartphone app.
Finally, Rointe’s Kyros water heaters are highly efficient and electronically controlled, reducing running costs while providing you hot water exactly when you need it.
Please note: while we were formally an official Rointe installer, due to recent experiences with product support we are no longer happy to recommend Rointe products.
Home automation is a fast-evolving field, with new products constantly arriving. If you prefer a different brand, such as British Gas' Hive thermostat, or Heatmiser, we're happy to source and install products from any supplier of your choice.
13 Shute Park
Malborough, Devon TQ7 3SU
Tel: 01548 561561
Mobile: 07970 062008
Devonia Electrical is no longer taking on new clients. Sorry!
Puzzled by something electrical? Read our comprehensive Glossary in the Help Centre section.