Nest, Hive, Tado or something else?

greenbee
greenbee Posts: 16,054
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I moved in the summer, and vaguely knew that the heating was complicated. However, now winter is on it's way I've realised that it's a mess.

Oil fired central heating and hot water (megaflo), with a 1000l tank (way too small for a house this size)

There are 4 separate circuits - downstairs (4 rads - office, hall, kitchen, sitting room) with a wireless honeywell thermostat; wet UFH in the garden room (open to the kitchen with the radiator in on the downstairs circuit) with a wireless honeywell thermostat; wet UFH in the utility room with a wired heatmiser thermostat; upstairs (8 rads) with a wireless honeywell thermostat. There are also 3 electric towel rails in the bathrooms - two of which also have radiators on the central heating circuit, only one of which has a timer (that I haven't yet worked out). There's also a woodburner in the sitting room. 

I work from home, but hours vary as most of my colleagues are in the US. I also travel for work, which means that turning the heating on for early starts or remotely when coming home late would be nice. The current honeywell thermostats only have two heating periods in each 24 hours, and don't seem to be particularly accurate when compared to thermometers (although I realise I can just work out what's comfortable and ignore the numbers). 

I've previously had a Nest system, and like the fact that it integrates with the smoke/CO alarms to sense people in the house who aren't registered users and turn the heating on. 

Several people have mentioned that Tado might be more suitable given the ability to control the temperature in individual rooms.

I'm also concerned that the downstairs radiators and UFH are controlled separately but heat the same space - which doesn't seem very efficient.

I have a feeling I should be talking to a heating engineer to connect the towel rails to the heating at some point, but that needs to wait until we're doing other messy stuff. 

All opinions welcomed - I know that to a certain extent it's and 'it depends' situation, but I'd like to hear the pros and cons. I definitely need better controls as I need to avoid the house getting too cold, but with such a small oil tank I need to make sure I'm not running it down any faster than I need to. 
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  • It seems like you need some sort of home automation. If you know your way around a command line, Home Assistant on a raspberry pi or something would work, but there are less technical options like Apple HomeKit, Google Home or IFTTT that can integrate smart devices. I would start by picking 1 system (like Home Assistant, HomeKit or a brand like Tado and Nest) and then buying any required smart devices or adapting your existing controls with switches etc. that will work with that system. Devices that are Matter-compatible (the home automation standard) will work on multiple different platforms and give you flexibility if you want to change platforms in the future. Then you can hook up your devices and set a few automations, like for if you're away, or if you're coming home. If you don't have a heating oil tank gauge, you can get one and there are smart versions as well to help monitor your consumption. I am not sure if it makes sense for the price of oil v electricity, but you could look into storage heaters and economy 7 or other tariff that gives you a cheaper rate overnight and reduce dependency on your oil tank. Solar panels or a solar hot water heater could also reduce your oil consumption. There are smart dimmer modules that may work for your towel radiators. There are many resources out there on home automation, I'm sure you'll be able to find something that works for you.
  • FreeBear
    FreeBear Posts: 14,255
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    Poet1291 said: It seems like you need some sort of home automation. If you know your way around a command line, Home Assistant on a raspberry pi or something would work
    Running Home Assistant here on a dinky little NanoPi - A couple of observations.. Don't use the SD card for storing the logs & history. You will kill one in under three months. Where possible, use modbus connected sensors & switches/relays, or use ESP32 boards to transmit the data over wifi. Try and avoid connecting sensors & relays via the onboard IO pins. Should you decide to move away from a Raspberry type platform to say an X86 box, wifi & modbus is much easier to transfer.
    Setting up Home Assistant can be quite a steep learning curve, and if you throw in esphome, you'll be at it for months. However, once a basic system is set up and working how you want, it is very easy to extend. Should you start logging data, you'll find it a very deep rabbit hole with no way out :# (currently using a fanless X86 box as a data store).

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  • greenbee
    greenbee Posts: 16,054
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    edited 17 November 2023 at 8:27AM
    Thanks for the ideas - ideally I’m looking for a standard off-the shelf solution as I don’t want to go down the rabbit hole (thanks for the warning @FreeBear, I can see how easily that could happen) of building my own automations and peering at spreadsheet and graphs outside of work (at least, not until I retire!). 

    It’s more about finding a way to get these 4 zones working together with a single place to control them, and managing the space in the house so I’m heating it based on where we need the heat and when.
  • Mister_G
    Mister_G Posts: 1,922
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    OP - have you looked at the Drayton Wiser system?  It offers up to 16 zones, so I would have thought that it would suit.

    I have had it for about a year now and find it easy to programme and use.
  • greenbee
    greenbee Posts: 16,054
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    Mister_G said:
    OP - have you looked at the Drayton Wiser system?  It offers up to 16 zones, so I would have thought that it would suit.

    I have had it for about a year now and find it easy to programme and use.
    Thanks! This looks good as it seems to do everything - zones, rads, wet UFH and electric items. I'll have a more detailed look at when I finish work today.

  • Been using Drayton Wiser since 2017. It's a great system and works extremly well.
    Get yourself on Amazon, as all the Drayton Wiser kit is in the Black Friday sale!
  • greenbee
    greenbee Posts: 16,054
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    Been using Drayton Wiser since 2017. It's a great system and works extremly well.
    Get yourself on Amazon, as all the Drayton Wiser kit is in the Black Friday sale!
    Sadly I think it'll take me a while to work out exactly what I need and how to install it as the current set-up is politely described as 'complicated'. (It's a mess). So I need to find someone competent to take apart what's connected to the boiler and stick it back together. Hopefully I'll have that sorted out by next year's black friday sale ;)
  • J30
    J30 Posts: 53
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    Is the Drayton wiser thermostat easy enough to replace with the “old” Drayton receiver? 

    Also, is it really only worthwhile if buying the TRV’s too? 

    I am looking at getting one as I work from home and wonder how much I could save by only heating the room that I work in? 

    Any advice appreciated. Thanks 
  • I have a Drayton Wiser.  It controls two physical zones with a wireless room thermostat in each physical zone.  AFAIK two is the maximum number of physical zones it will support (by controlling zone valves).  I also have a room in Physical Zone 1 which I keep cool using a programmable TRV.  But if you mix the programmable TRVs with a room thermostat in the same physical zone then the TRVs "win" and that zone will remain on for as long as any TRV calls for heat.  So the room with the thermostat can overheat.  If you just use the programmable TRVs you can programme each one to control the room it is in, but having lots of these programmable TRVs works out quite expensive.   
    Reed
  • greenbee
    greenbee Posts: 16,054
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    I can see I still have some working out to do given that I currently have 4 'room thermostats'... although I think the main wet UFH should be zoned with the radiators. I'm definitely going to need a heating engineer to sort it out, as it's not something I'm going to be able to DIY given the current mess 
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