Smart thermostats – self install?

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  • Smart thermostats – self install?
  • Premier Icon woody2000
    Subscriber

    Current thermostat appears to be faulty (will only fire boiler up when stat is set to max, regardless of temp) so I figured it might be a good idea to upgrade.

    Questions!

    1) How easy are they to self install? I’m reasonably methodical, though not really electrically minded! Current boiler has a wireless (radio) thermostat already.

    2) What’s the STW current favourite smart thermostat? A learning one would be nice I think as we are in the house at different times each day.

    TIA 🙂

    Premier Icon timmys
    Subscriber

    1) How easy are they to self install? I’m reasonably methodical, though not really electrically minded! Current boiler has a wireless (radio) thermostat already.

    I can only speak for Tado, but easy. Obviously depends on how convoluted your system is though. With Tado you use their nifty tool and tell it what boiler you have and what thermostat you have and it walks you through it. I don’t know it is the same now, but when I did it you couldn’t access this tool before your kit arrived so there was no chance of reading up first which was lame. I did email them in advance and check my boiler and thermostat were in their system and they confirmed that they were.

    2) What’s the STW current favourite smart thermostat? A learning one would be nice I think as we are in the house at different times each day.

    Tado for me. I can’t remember which are based on learning your routine and which are based on location but for a random schedule like yours you want it to be location based.

    Other random Tado cool things,
    – cool graphs
    – you can add their radiator valves later for the full multi-zone control
    – full Apple HomeKit/Siri, Goggle Assistant, Amazon Alexa, IFTTT compatibility

    Note that Tado have tended to have Black Friday deals in the past

    Rockhopper
    Member

    Hive is currently £159 with installation at Currys. It doesn’t learn though but personally i see that as a good thing.

    mrblobby
    Member

    Tado here. Easy to install. There’s a guide so you can always check it out and see if you think it’s easy. If you can wire a plug then you can manage it.

    Premier Icon jam bo
    Subscriber

    I did my netatmo but it was pretty much pin for pin replacement for what was there already.

    Premier Icon woody2000
    Subscriber

    Tado looks like a possible then. Will have a look at the vids as I can definitely wire a plug 🙂

    Premier Icon dannybgoode
    Subscriber

    Went the Nest route which we had installed when we had the boiler replaced but to be honest I would have been happy to do it myself.

    Nest has full ITTT capability so it will say turn off any ‘smart’ lights when you leave home as well as power down the heating.

    5lab
    Member

    some of the thermostats (can’t remember which one) have wiring backplate adapters, meaning that if your current ‘stat is supported, they will have an adapter to allow you to clip it directly on.

    the non-learning stats often have apps with positional awareness, so they can turn on/off when you near/leave the house. Its also worth considering the cost of multizone (if you need that) – as a lot of the ‘smart’ stats need multiple installs to support multizone

    Premier Icon spennyy
    Subscriber

    Nest here as well. Dead easy to install and setup. Also halfed my gas bill with it learning not to switch on when no one is home etc.

    johndoh
    Member

    Also halfed my gas bill with it learning not to switch on when no one is home etc.

    Didn’t you have your standard thermostat set up not to be heating the house when it was empty anyway? Ours is set to switch off at 8am (when everyone is up) and comes back on at 4pm when people start coming back in the house.

    B.A.Nana
    Member

    Evohome was reasonably straightforward, just making sure you wire the relay box correctly and then it’s just binding everything, the radiator TRV controllers were a doddle to fit and bind. Altho I had the support of the shop I bought the kit from when, a few months later, I had a comms issues between controller and relay box, altho I probably could have worked it out for myself from the manual, I was just being lazy.

    which system? difficult one really and I expect everyone will recommend theirs without having much or any experience of other systems or your requirements. If you want to control every radiator individually then it’s Evohome and maybe Tado maybe Natatmo(?) now also. I’m not a fan of the learning systems, would rather just have location, heating turn off when the last person leaves the house and turn on when the first person home is a certain distance away. I considered Tado, but there were questions I had on the new to market radiator TRV controllers, which I couldn’t find answers to, so decided to go with the well established Evohome. I also felt that investing in Honeywell kit was a safer bet than some recent start up company. I would only recommend Evohome if you want to control every radiator individually, other aspects of it are a bit clunky and ugly (def designed by engineers rather than graphic designers/marketing Dept). Honeywell Lyric might be worth looking at, which is more in line with Nest, Hive etc. cosmetically and functionally

    Premier Icon Capt. Kronos
    Subscriber

    Tado here too – was an absolute doddle. I think I had it all installed and configured within half an hour… and my boiler wasn’t a listed model either so I was somewhat winging it 😉

    Premier Icon dannybgoode
    Subscriber

    Didn’t you have your standard thermostat set up not to be heating the house when it was empty anyway? Ours is set to switch off at 8am (when everyone is up) and comes back on at 4pm when people start coming back in the house.

    It’s all the times when you don’t need the heating on at those times though. You’d be surprised how often you may ideally want it on say at 5 instead of 4 or off half an hour earlier.

    There’s many an occasion when we would deviate from the normal routine and just having the heating coming on at arbitrary times just didn’t make sense.

    goldfish24
    Member

    Installed my nest. Installation Manual was good, plus a bit of google. Happy with it.

    Premier Icon jambalaya
    Subscriber

    If the wifi fails / you don’t have any the Nest defaults to “dumb” mode ?

    I assume Nest has ability to track multiple mobile phones to detect when no one is home

    Watching with interest, maybe I should buy one

    Premier Icon dannybgoode
    Subscriber

    Yes it defaults to ‘dumb’ mode. And yes you can add multiple phones for tracking who’s in and out.

    Premier Icon aikon
    Subscriber

    Another +1 for Tado, I was an early adaptor and haven’t looked back, keep toying with the newer system with the display thermostat but in all honesty we’ve never missed the temperature readout that our older system doesn’t have.
    When we bought the Tado we also invested a small fortune in insulation, LED bulbs & occupancy sensors our energy bill is stunningly low compared to neighbour & relatives.

    B.A.Nana
    Member

    And yes you can add multiple phones for tracking who’s in and out.

    I believe Tado does that as well, I recall it’s primary selling point is as a location based heating control.

    DT78
    Member

    nest 4 wires took 10 mins with help from my 2 year old. Setup very simple too.

    goldfish24
    Member

    If the wifi fails / you don’t have any the Nest defaults to “dumb” mode ?

    With nest, the part that is physically wired into the system has a simple pushbutton to turn things on if everything else fails. I imagine the competitors have a similar fallback.

    Premier Icon P20
    Subscriber

    Hive Home install kits £119 from most places. Just picked one up from argos. Will have a look an the install this afternoon

    Premier Icon geoffj
    Subscriber

    A hive install depends on the boiler you are wiring it up to.
    I’d DIYd a Heatmiser at the old place, but I didn’t fancy it with the hive install in this house – not for the sake of £50 or whatever the difference was.

    Premier Icon woody2000
    Subscriber

    P20 – be interested to hear how you get on 🙂

    Premier Icon davieg
    Subscriber

    Slight aside, but even if you install Hive yourself, is there still a subscription fee to British Gas? Nest, Tado and the like are self install and no more pay?

    Rockhopper
    Member

    No subscription fee on Hive if you buy it outright.

    Premier Icon nickjb
    Subscriber

    If you are looking for one the Nest is £150 at screwfix, Hive is £120 (or £100 without the hub unit if you want a 2nd one). Nests have nearly sold out since I looked this morning, limited colours now.

    Premier Icon Flaperon
    Subscriber

    Nest is relatively easy, but be warned that the terminals are designed to take pathetic American low voltage wiring so you might need an extra junction box for the Heat Link part.

    Premier Icon P20
    Subscriber

    woody2000 – Member
    P20 – be interested to hear how you get on

    Erm….. I’m not that incompetent, but this looks complicated! I’ve had a quick look and can’t even figure out where the existing controller (turns out it’s wired) enters the boiler. A lot more reading to do I think and possibly consult the father in law

    olly2097
    Member

    Installed a nest. 3rd gen on a Worcester Bosch greenstar. Took 10 mins. Tops.

    Needed some 3 core flex and a a small wire cut for a jumper cable.

    Works a treat.

    Nice piece of kit as well. Very clever.

    Premier Icon chipster
    Subscriber

    We’ve taken advantage of the Hive offer from Amazon. It’s £160, including British Gas installation.
    Edit, there’s an engineer coming to fit it on Monday.

    Premier Icon alibongo001
    Subscriber

    I’m looking at this with a bit of other work around the house.

    We have a system boiler for heat and and old style immersion heater for water – which of the systems can work both these systems? – Tried to look online for the answer, but could not establish!

    With the current deals its seems like a good time to sort it out!

    Premier Icon jambalaya
    Subscriber

    Update: Tado purchased thanks to recommendations here, 20% off till end of the year

    wilburt
    Member

    Do you set your timer/programmers to on permanently?

    Premier Icon nickjb
    Subscriber

    Do you set your timer/programmers to on permanently?

    Yes. Timer on the boiler set to on then the smart thermostat calls for heat as required

    So what’s the STW verdict on which smart thermostat is best?

    Premier Icon nickjb
    Subscriber

    So what’s the STW verdict on which smart thermostat is best?

    If you are just fitting a smart thermostat there isn’t much in it. The difference is when you start to add other elements such as multi zone heating or integration with other smart home devices.

    toby1
    Member

    I have an archaic back boiler, is it even worth me reading this thread?

    Premier Icon peterno51
    Subscriber

    @toby1

    I don’t see why not, all the systems turn a relay on to call for heat from the boiler. All the woowoo happens in when and why the gizmos call for the heat.

    A mate of mine got hive or nest (can’t remember which) installed professionally and his system is more than just a fancy thermostat. There are two motorised valves that are branded nest or hive which are connected to another box branded nest or hive. He has a split system so separate upstairs and downstairs system hence the two motorised valves, but the system is more than just a clever thermostat.

    My system is just one thermostat for the home and a second for the UFH system our extension. I fancy replacing the UFH one as I think a bit of cleverness can optimise that part of the system, but I struggle to see the benefit for the remainder of the CHS. We live a depressingly normal and conventional life so all come home and leave the house with military precision every day so have the 5+2 timer pretty well dialled. And if we’re out of the house for a weekend or on holiday I’ll turn the thermostat right down, so would be surprised if the smart systems would offer benefits. I guess the ability to use the internet to turn on the system when we’re returning from a weekend away so we come into a nice warm house would be a benefit in the winter months, but again only a couple of times a year.

    I can see the benefit if you lead a far more interesting life as me and are not so regular as my family and am and are always coming and going at all hours of the day.

    Premier Icon bluearsedfly
    Subscriber

    Self installed a Nest a few weeks back.

    All straight forward (although it did throw a wobbler on Christmas Day disconnecting from the heat link a few times for no reason).

    I left it in learning mode or whatever it’s called when I originally set it up, the heating was on for up to 8 hours a day but now it’s down to between 1 1/2 and 3 hours a day but it doesn’t feel any cooler.

    Tis witchcraft, I tell thee.

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