February 27th, 2014 by Derek Markham
Making our heating and cooling systems smarter can make a big dent in not only our utility costs, but also the amount of resources it takes to keep us comfortable. However, for systems that use a boiler and radiators, making them more intelligent isn’t nearly as simple as it is with central heating, where a smart thermostat can handle almost all of the heavy lifting in making our climate control system automated and efficient.
But there is an intelligent heating control system built for boilers and radiators, and it offers many of the same advantages as a smart central heating system, including smartphone or web-based remote control, scheduling, and motion sensing to detect occupancy.
The Heat Genius system includes several components, the Genius Hub, which serves as the command center, a wireless boiler controller, individual radiator valves (wireless also), and motion sensors (which can “learn” when you use each room and then schedule the heating system to operate accordingly).
Heat Genius has a scheduling feature, which allows users to set specific temperature ranges for certain time frames on certain days, as well as a weather compensation option, which uses the weather forecast to check for sunny days and then automatically reduces the temperature in the house. Users have access to their heating history with Heat Genius, and can track the occupancy, temperature, and status of the heating system over time, in order to further optimize the system.
“Footprint Mode makes life even easier by scheduling your heating automatically. Installing a Heat Genius wireless motion detector allows the system to learn when you normally use that room and make sure the radiator’s turned off the rest of the time. It even knows how long the room takes to warm up, so it’ll make sure it’s preheated ready for your arrival. It will constantly adjust the schedule to fit your changing lifestyle.” – Heat Genius
By only heating your home (or individual rooms) when they’re occupied, or will be soon, it’s possible to cut your heating bills quite a bit, while also reducing your environmental footprint.
According to Heat Genius, in order to use the system, houses need to have:
- Gas, oil or biomass boiler, air source or ground source heat pump. Basically, if it heats water and pumps it through radiators, Heat Genius can control it!
- Broadband internet router with one spare ethernet port (for connecting via a cable, not wifi)
- If you wish to control rooms individually, then the radiators must be capable of having thermostatic valve heads. These are very common: they’re the larger type of valve that let you set the radiator’s temperature, normally with numbers 1 to 5 written on the dial. These ‘TRV’ valve heads will be replaced with the Heat Genius wireless electronic valve head.
Right now, it looks like Heat Genius is only available in the UK, but if you’re located elsewhere and are interested, here’s their contact form.
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