The benefits of installing smart heating control.

Installing smart heating can be a significant investment, especially if you are going for a top of the range solution Honeywell Evohome multi-zone smart heating control. Some people think it is a “nice to have” or even a gadget, yet the benefits make it one of the best energy investments you can make.

Installing smart heating control is something that you will eventually do. It’s inevitable and the sooner you install it the more you will benefit.

The 4 C’s of Smart Heating

Smart heating control can be anything from a smart thermostat like the Nest 3rd Generation Learning Thermostat to the more sophisticated room by room control of a multi-zone solution like Honeywell Evohome.

Whatever the type, installing smart heating control will benefit you in terms of control, comfort, cost (savings) and the planet in terms of your carbon emissions.

We call these the 4 C’s of smart heating (maybe its’s not original, but it serves a purpose!):

  • Control: more control over when, where and how to heat your home
  • Comfort: how much cosier you are
  • Cost: upfront costs versus savings & payback periods
  • Carbon: how does it reduce your carbon emissions?

Let’s look at each one.

Control

The clue is in the title. Smart Heating Control gives you intelligent technological control over your heating.

What control do you have today?

Man's hand turning a dial on a thermostat
Central Thermostats are not good at setting temperature room by room

Today your heating is probably controlled by a timer near the boiler for “schedules” and a thermostat on the wall (maybe in the hall) plus radiator valves.

Your radiator valves will be either “manual” or “TRV” like the one in the picture below.

If you have TRV valves you can these set to a number which will give you some form of control over your radiator temperature.

Traditional TRV valve - Thermostatic Radiator Valve
TRV (thermostatic radiator valve)

This system of control has been around in UK homes for decades. It’s easy to use and works …as far as it goes.

However, there are a number of drawbacks.

One of the biggest drawbacks of analogue heating control is it relies on a single central thermostat to control the temperature. This means that parts of your home rarely reach the temperature you set on the thermostat.

The problem with this is that once the thermostat (usually in the hall) reaches its target temperature it shuts the boiler off. This can mean it either shuts the boiler off before your rooms are warm enough or after meaning your rooms are too hot!

We compensate by upping or lowering the thermostat. We don’t really know what temperature we’re getting and the temperature in our rooms rarely matches what the central thermostat is telling us.

In this case the “control” that most of us exercise is to whack-up the thermostat dial when we’re cold hoping that we might get warm in the room we want, whilst sweltering in others. It’s never right and is very wasteful of energy.

The other main issue is the “programmable” timer. These things are usually so complicated to set that most of us rarely return to them to change schedules. Our “override” rarely stretches beyond the “+1Hour switch” (if we have one).

What does smart heating do that my old system doesn’t?

Nest 3rd Generation Thermostat

Smart heating control and especially multi-zone heating control gives you miles better control over all these things. Not only that but the “smart” part controls things that you hadn’t even thought about.

Whether you are upgrading to a single zone smart thermostat like the Nest 3rd Generation Learning Thermostat which cleverly replaces your existing central thermostat or moving to room by room control like the Honeywell Evohome multi-zone smart heating control system you will benefits.

The first and most obvious change is that you will be able to control your heating from an app or the web or even manually.

At a touch of a screen you will be able to check the temperature & change it; set schedules; timings; override for holidays or just being away. This opens up a world of possibilities.

Illustration of voice commands to Amazon Alexa controlling a Honeywell evohome multi-zone smart heating system

But an “app” doesn’t just mean a phone app. It also means that you can control it from a voice activated smart speaker like Amazon Echo or Google Home.

There are also a range of “smart” features built into your new thermostat control for things like determining how long it takes to heat up your room/home; compensating for outdoor weather conditions, and even detecting if you’ve left your window open.

Graphic showing different temperature in different rooms made possible by Honeywell evohome multi-zone smart heating - (c) homesm.art 2019
Honeywell Evohome upgrades your old central heating system to room by room control

If you go for a multi-zone system like the Honeywell Evohome you will be able to control the temperature room by room. If you only want to heat one room in the house you can do that – and all this technology and control can simply be retrofitted onto your existing plumbing and boiler. No expensive plumbing change needed.

If you want to know exactly how multi-zone works versus single heating control you can read an article that we’ve written on it here..

Comfort

However, the biggest benefit of installing smart heating is that of comfort. Comfort being warm when you want where you want and how you want.

Even replacing your central thermostat with a Nest Learning Thermostat will help your comfort. As they are smart they learn – things like how long your home takes to heat up, how it is affected by the weather, when you want your heating on and off – and they turn this knowledge into making sure the temperature is what you want when you want.

Honeywell Home app showing room temperatures controlled by evohome multi-zone smart heating
Honeywell Evohome App – controls heating room by room

Honeywell Evohome Multi-zone heating control is our favourite.

Honeywell Evohome
Evohome Hub and Smart Radiator Valves

It wins hands down by giving you control over the temperature room by room by automating your radiators to allow them to be heated independently. We get so many customers coming to us because they are unable to get one particular room at the right temperature without overheating the rest of the house.


Honeywell Evohome solves that.

In larger houses or houses over multiple floors, Evohome will enable you to heat parts that you might not be able to today. For instance, set the temperature to 21C in your study and that’s what it will be.


Cost

Installing Smart heating control will save you money.

In fact, it has one of the best returns on investment that you can make in terms of heating efficiency. Most consumer and industry analysis suggests a payback period of 2-3 years for a typical home and often less.

This beats hands down most other home energy improvements. For instance, the payback for double glazing (46 yrs); a new boiler 7-23 years; cavity insulation (50-100yrs!) Loft insulation (4-5years) – but you should already have that!

Consider the heating energy reductions reported by Nest and Honeywell:


Nest 3rd Generation Thermostats: 8-16.5% energy savings for UK Homes (Based on data from UK customers since 2014)


Honeywell Evohome: 10-40% Heating Energy Savings


With a Nest 3rd Generation Thermostat costing c. £300 installed and Honeywell Evohome system at around £1500, the Nest may look a better short term payback. However, longer-term the Evohome will generate a much better return on investment, especially if you have a larger home with lots of rooms and variance of temperature across your home.

It goes without saying that the sooner you install smart heating the sooner you start saving.

Carbon

Smart Heating control can make a serious impact on our carbon footprint.


Global C02 Emission are 50 billion tonnes annually
Annual Global Carbon Emissions

Your carbon footprint matters.

We have a global crisis, but apart from some recycling and minor changes in transport behaviour most people have not made substantial changes to reduce their CO2 impact.

Smart heating control can help reduce your CO2 output considerably.


To put this into some perspective the annual average Carbon footprint of a UK individual is about 12 Tonnes of CO2.

Let’s look at some other numbers…..

5,000 miles in modern car produces 1 tonne of CO2

There are certain big drivers of CO2 that we can all make personal decisions on. Cutting that long haul flight or driving less for instance. But it’s in our homes that we can make the biggest and long-lasting impact.

A typical UK household is responsible for emitting most of CO2 each year. Everything from boiling a kettle, eating a meal to watching TV contributes. But, by far the biggest contributor is our heating.

An average UK home uses around 18,000 Kwh of gas on heating per year. You can check yours on your energy bill. (NB If you have a gas boiler most or all your gas is used for heating. If you have a gas hob it will account for about 10% of your gas use.)

Larger properties use 30,000 Kwh or more of gas for heating.

1 KWh of natural gas produces 0.227Kg of CO2.

(Gas is also measured in Cubic Meters. 1 m3 = 11.2 Kwh gas= 2.542Kg of CO2)

Therefore, an average home produces 4,086 kg of CO2 (4 Tonnes) for heating.

Sounds a lot? It is.


Heating your home is a big part of your carbon footprint.

But Smart Heating Control can reduce your energy use on heating by 10%, 15%, 25%… even 40%.

A 20% reduction in home heating usage will cut your carbon output by 817kg of CO2 a year.

This is equivalent to 38 trees. (A mature tree absorbs 21.7kg of CO2 per year) (See our article How Many Trees? where we explain how you can reduce your carbon impact)

1 Tree absorbs 21.7kg of CO2 per year

The really great thing is that it achieves this whilst making you more comfortable and saving energy.

Installing smart heating control is a perfect win-win.

Why not get a smart heating system quote ?

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*CO2 Calculations are source of debate not fact. We have used UK Government ONS data based on a Consumption based Footprint for UK. The UK Gov’t uses a lower figure which excludes international shipping and flights. We think that is part of our footprint.

We are very interested in the positive impact that smart heating and domestic renewable energy can have on the planet.

From switching to Green tariffs to the future of home energy. We are especially interested in technologies that don’t require wholesale infrastructure changes. One example is possibly using renewably created Hydrogen within the existing Gas network.  We will shortly publish a short article on the changes that are taking place and how they could impact us.

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