09 Jun 2021
Working from home has become more commonplace than ever before, and looks set to remain to some extent even when COVID restrictions end. With this change comes an increase in energy bills, and now maybe the right time to recommend installing modern controls to help those working in this new way to save money. Rob Whitney from Resideo looks at how the latest thermostat technologies address the needs of those who now work from home, and how installers can communicate these benefits to potential customers.
With an increasing amount of working from home on the cards, more of us are abandoning our usual morning and evening heating routines and reaching for the dial throughout the day to keep us toasty and comfortable. There has been talk that this seemingly simple change in habits will cost homeowners extra money as they use more energy to heat their homes, especially during the winter period (1). Fitting a modern, high-spec thermostat offers a simple way to lower energy consumption, especially for properties that don’t have any controls with their boiler or have one that is not right. Here’s how.
When occupants are only at home outside of working hours, many tend to heat the whole house in the mornings and evenings. But if heating is needed throughout the day, customers may wish to change this pattern so that they only warm up rooms where they work or spend time in. However, their existing heating system’s infrastructure may not be set up to enable different areas in the house to be controlled separately.
This is where a zoning system like the Honeywell Home evohome smart zoning system comes in handy. Using radiator controllers, it wirelessly measures and controls temperatures for up to 12 zones individually, without needing to disturb décor during installation.
From using an app to check whether we have locked our car, to being able to monitor our properties when we are out, many of us are already familiar with the ability to monitor and control aspects of our home remotely. As we come out of the current pandemic, some of the agile working practices such as flexible working hours in different locations are expected to remain. With this in mind, homeowners may need to regularly change the settings for heating their homes whilst on the go.
Thankfully, with built in wi-fi, the evohome thermostat can be controlled at home - centrally on the evohome controller, on a phone, through the smarthome voice assistant, or remotely via an app on a smartphone or tablet.
Apart from the ability to set timings and temperatures for the heating in different parts of the home, the most advanced thermostat systems can also monitor their surroundings and communicate closely with the boiler. This way, the thermostat can tell the boiler to adjust its output accordingly to deliver the desired temperature at the right time, saving energy in the process.
So for example, the smart weather feature on the evohome system will follow the set programme on cooler days, but when it warms up outside it will automatically turn the heating off and save energy. It does this by monitoring outside temperature, room temperature and setpoint, and act when heat demands are very low. Its patented Advanced Load Scaling technology also limits inefficient high return temperatures and runs the boiler in its most efficient mode.
Conversely, in rooms with poor insulation or large windows, it could feel less comfortable when the outside temperature drops. With the unique ability that learns the heat losses in each room, the evohome will increase the set temperature when it detects a drop outside, and automatically goes back to the normal programme when the outside temperature rises again.
Knowing how and when to upgrade heating controls can perhaps put some people off making the switch. Choosing a product which meets current as well as future needs can be even more daunting. The obvious time to change heating controls is when a customer needs to update the boiler, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Neither do they have to wait until the next major upgrade to their heating system to future proof their controls. As long as the product installed is suitable for their current boiler and compatible with technologies such as heat pumps, it can be installed at any time.
The next generation of Honeywell Home’s evohome is compatible with traditional boilers to modern high-efficiency combi boilers, heat pumps and even pellet burners. What’s more, it can be used to control underfloor heating, which is often installed as the heat emitter alongside heat pumps. Settings for stored hot water and radiators can also be managed via evohome, making it a highly versatile solution now and into the future. It can even switch between heating and cooling mode to keep occupants comfortably warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
With the above controls in place, recent research by trade organisation, BEAMA (2), suggests that these upgrades could reduce a total heating bill by up to 32% each year. For installers, this presents the perfect opportunity to help put their customers back in command of their heating system so that they can work comfortably from home now and in the future, without costing the earth.
2. BEAMA is the UK trade association for manufacturers and providers of energy infrastructure technologies and systems.