GoEco Explains: Smart Heating Systems and Why You Need One

Smart heating is style and substance; sensors that learn your behaviour and app-controlled heating may sound pretty swanky, but these systems also offer big energy and bill savings too. With housing in the UK being notoriously energy inefficient, it is well worth considering a smart heating system if you are looking for a way to save both the planet and your bank balance (and feel super cool doing it).

Smart heating systems are a worthy investment if you are looking for ways to save on bills whilst reducing your carbon footprint.

Smart heating systems start with a smart thermostat, which you can usually install yourself. The smart meter alone will allow you to control your heating from your phone or other devices and can even create a heating plan tailored to your needs and based on your behaviour. Some of our favourite smart meter suppliers are listed here if you are unsure where to start, and most of these also offer the other components needed for a smart heating system.

There have been some really exciting innovations in smart heating technology, with smart radiator valves meaning you can have heating zones within your home, controllable from your device. In addition, smart plugs allow you to plan appliance use, and smart motion sensors can control your lights as well as your heating by knowing where you are in your house. 

What Are the Benefits of Smart Heating? 

The most handy benefit of a smart heating system is that it gives you full control over when the heating is on when you’re out of the house. This means that if you forget to turn the heating off when you’re out or forget to turn your timer off when you go away on holiday, you will easily be able to handle it. This logic also applies to warming your house up on chilly days on the car ride home.

Smart heating systems also offer zone heating, meaning you can remotely heat particular rooms to particular temperatures; no more wasting energy heating your whole house after you’ve turned the thermostat up. Smart heating systems with automated plan capabilities will learn your routine and heat certain rooms at certain times of the day. 

Zonal heating means you can just heat the rooms you spend most time in; some systems can even learn your routine and adjust accordingly.

Another great benefit is the ability to view your energy usage history, which more and more suppliers are now offering in their apps. By reviewing this, you can pinpoint instances when your heating has been costly and/or ineffectual and adjust your system accordingly.

As you start to use your energy more wisely, you can expect a reduction in your energy bills. How much will depend on how economical you are. Some smart systems come with eco settings that minimise energy use, saving costs and reducing your carbon footprint; a green way to save money indeed!

How Complicated is Smart Heating?

The complexity of your system is really up to you, as you can choose how you build it up. 

Firstly you’ll need a smart thermostat; easy to buy from one of our recommended suppliers and relatively simple to retrofit into your home. From there, you can choose from components such as:

Smart Radiator Valves

Smart radiator valves allow you to adjust the temperature in each room remotely; some providers allow you to make schedules for this and some systems can learn your habits and adjust accordingly. Smart radiator valves can also show you the exact temperature they are heating to, so no more guesswork of picking a number between 1 – 5. 

Smart Plugs

Smart plugs act as an adaptor that you plug into your regular socket and then plug appliances into, allowing you to remotely switch them on and off. This can be a great way of conserving energy and also give you peace of mind. 

Smart Motion Sensors

Smart motion sensors will automatically switch lights on when you enter a room and can also provide you with a seven day history of motion and alert you to any intruders whilst you’re away. 

Buildable systems of radiator valves, heat sensors, and motion sensors can be complicated to set up, but the idea is that it will make your day-to-day life in the long run easier. Your chosen supplier will be able to offer advise on the most suitable system for you, and whether professional installation of the different components is recommended.

Is There Anything I Need to Know Before I get Smart Heating?

As with everything in life, the devil is in the detail and prior to installation you will need to check a few things.

Do you have a combi boiler or have a separate hot water tank? If you have a separate tank you will need an additional component. This has minimal pricing implications from most manufacturers, but without it you will lack the ability to control/include your hot water supply within the smart system.

Factors such as whether or not you have a combi boiler need to be considered before picking a smart heating system for your home.

Does your home have multiple heating zones? As most homes have a single heating zone with the ability to control individual radiators, you will most likely need to add smart valves to your radiators if you want to have centrally controlled, zoned heating. Otherwise you will still need to manually adjust your radiators as usual. 

Is your heating electric? If so it is harder to integrate, but there are some smart metres that are compatible. Likewise if you have underfloor heating, depending on which system you have, this can be added as a heating zone with varying degrees of success. 

Planning For Your Smart Heating System

When considering how to build your smart system it helps to plan ahead. If you want an integrated system which includes radiator valves, lighting, plugs and more, for ease it would help you to buy them all from the same supplier so that they can be centrally controlled. You can consolidate system elements from different suppliers using a third party interface such as one from Amazon, Google or Apple but this can be a more complex service. 

It is often best to purchase the components of your heating system from the same supplier to ensure smooth integration.

The next factor is cost. You will pay a price for the advanced features and will need to be prepared to spend the time, and potentially money to set them up or in some cases install them correctly. Smart thermostats range between £119 – £280, valves can be anywhere from £39 – over £200 each, and motion sensors meanwhile will cost from £29 upwards. 

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