Drayton Wiser Smart Heating Controls Review Part 4 – 1 Year Older & Much Wiser

It has been 12 months since we removed our traditional heating controls and started to install the Drayton Wiser smart heating system. So now is an opportune time to reflect on our experience with the setup and share our conclusions.

If you Google ‘smart heating controls’ you will have no shortage of results, including enough reviews of the Wiser to keep you occupied for hours. The majority of these articles typically focus on system setup and limited use over a few days.  The true test of these systems only comes with living with them and once commissioned, the ability to forget it’s there. This article highlights some of our experiences with the Wiser system over the past year.

Change for the Better

It would appear a lot has happened since the launch of Wiser. For some post launch purchasers the installation process did appear to throw up issues. Judging by the comments left on our previous articles the main issue was range. This appeared to be a common theme amongst early users as feedback on Screwfix and Amazon reviews mirrored some of the comments we received.

Our test house is a long bungalow with the boiler and controls located at one end of the property and the bedrooms at the other. We are not aware of any system that could cope with those distances and we were stretching the capabilities of the Wiser system. To illustrate, we even need 3 WiFi access points to get full coverage. We suffered with low signal strength and unreliable connections with devices dropping off the network but thankfully this was overcome with the use of mains powered range extenders provided by Drayton. The range extenders provide a mesh network and allow the Wiser devices signal to hop back to the Heat Hub, ensuring we had full coverage over the property.

There have been a number of firmware updates for all the devices over the past 12 months. The app has also had updates including an interface refresh. These updates have all helped with system stability and introduced new features. The visual refresh of the app is subtle and gives a succinct view of the room temperatures and the devices.

Home screen – Before (left) and after the refresh photo (right)

Device details interface – Before (left) and after the refresh photo (right)

New Hardware

Users can now buy a smart plug with range extending capabilities which is a new addition to the hardware range. The app now supports control and scheduling of the smart plugs and the earlier range extenders allowing users to control plugged in devices such as lights via the app or Alexa.

Whilst this is a great add-on to the Wiser ecosystem you probably won’t be installing Wiser for this feature alone as other smart plugs are available for less but this is a great addition to an existing home wide system. We now have lights plugged into our smart plugs that we control via Alexa. We have set the lights to operate to a schedule. This is a convenient feature day-to-day and a useful security feature that give the appearance of occupation when we are away.

New Features

New features with version 3 of the app include a ‘Comfort Mode’. The system learns how long it takes for a room to reach temperature and then adjusts the boiler on time to ensure the room is at the target temperature at the ‘on time’ set in the schedule. Drayton have also included ‘open window detection’ which can be enabled room by room.

Comfort mode info

There is a feature to lock the iTRV so anyone adjusting the thermostat cannot change the temperature mechanically via the device.

The system now supports IFTTT to help link to other systems and adding features such as geofencing. You could activate or deactivate the heating based on your location or switch a smart plug on or off. Hopefully more triggers and actions will follow.

IFTTT Setup

Retired Features

With the recent refresh one obvious feature has been retired, the signal strength icon. Users no longer see the signal strength bars. Users will only get alerted to ‘No Signal’ with a flashing red triangle in the app or on the room thermostats. This did make us ask where has it gone? What will we do? On reflection why care about the signal strength? As long as devices connect and stay connected. Perhaps some of our initial ‘range anxiety’ issues would have been avoided if this had been the approach from launch however we would still have been calling the help desk for our ‘No signal’ issues.

Help at Hand

The help desk now operates 08:00 to 21:00 Monday to Friday and 09:00 to 17:00 at weekends.

We made a number of calls to the help desk and calls were typically answered promptly. The staff were helpful although during the early stages of our setup some seemed to be following a diagnostic script and once complete quickly needed to refer to someone else with more experience.

We also submitted issues via email and whilst taking longer to respond to these tickets they were always followed up on.

Range Matters

Most of the issues we faced were range related. Thankfully we appear to have got to the bottom of the issues due to the improved firmware and careful positioning of the smart plug / range extenders to form a mesh network. We held off adding more devices to the system for a time until we became comfortable with its reliability. We can report that we have continued added more devices and are intent on being 100% Wiser.

Incremental Additions

One of the selling points of this system (or any room/radiator zoning system) is the ability to add incrementally to it. Whilst this is true we found that unless all radiators in a traditional zone are equipped with iTRV’s the heating in some rooms would be on longer that needed as a room equipped with the iTRV could potentially keep the boiler running. We prioritised fitting the system to the bedrooms to realise the full benefit of the system. Our daughter would come home from school and go to her bedroom to do homework (more like watch YouTube). Previously she would turn on the heating for the bedroom zone, heating all the bedrooms, now just her room is heated to a schedule.

We now have 12 iTRV’s, two room thermostats and three range extenders controlling 10 rooms. We still have 5 radiators operated by traditional TRV’s that we will ultimately switch to iTRV’s.

Battery life

Two of the iTRV’s have had their supplied batteries replaced after 9 months and a third device is currently showing low battery. It would be useful to see battery life expressed as a percentage. The devices appear to be consuming batteries at different rates. This is probably attributable to how hard the devices are having to work based on their schedules, temperature fluctuations in the rooms and signal strength. It’s hard to envisage batteries lasting 2 years but be sure to check Automated Home in October 2019 for our next instalment!

The owner of another system we helped install called the help desk to discuss short battery life and he was told to send an iTRV back to the retailer as hardware improvements had been made that increased battery life.

Is the Price Still Right?

One notable change since our initial purchase has been price. At the time of our initial analysis we did a cost comparison with other systems and the Wiser system was by far the most complete and cost-effective.

The price of the Wiser components have increased significantly from our original retailer, Screwfix. Additional iTRV’s were initially purchased for £34.99 each from Screwfix. They are now on sale in Screwfix for £52.79 which is in the same price bracket as many other smart radiator valves.  That’s a huge £17.79 or 50% increase.

Thankfully they can be purchased from Amazon for £39.99. That’s still a market leading price for such a device and still makes Drayton a winner in our cost effectiveness assessment. The Drayton website lists approved Wiser retailers.

It does pay to check these links for pricing as the iTRV example above illustrates there can be large variations in pricing. Amazon are charging £41.99 for the smart plug and the same device is available from City Plumbing Supplies for £34.99. At the time of checking the other retailers were not showing the smart plug on their Wiser product pages.

To Do List

In Part 3 of our original series we compiled a list of suggestion that we thought would make the system more user-friendly. Having used the system for a year we do think these ideas are worthy of consideration by the Drayton development team. Some features we would promote are listed below.

1. We now have multiple devices and multiple rooms and managing temperature room by room can be tedious. The ability to arrange the rooms or zones in hierarchical tiers. It would be useful to have the option of ordering these in a logical fashion. Example organisation:

  • The House – all rooms all zones
    • The Downstairs – living rooms
      • Kitchen
      • Lounge
      • Study
      • Dining room
    • The Upstairs – bedrooms
      • Master bedroom
      • Kids bedroom
      • Baby’s bedroom
      • Bathroom

Having added hierarchical tiers it would be useful to control at a tier level so you could boost the heating for the entire house or just the bedroom group rather than having to adjust each one separately. This would be particularly useful when you end up with lots of rooms. Same theory could apply to programming schedule, set a schedule at a parent level and push to all the child levels and then tweak the exceptions.

  1. We have 3 plug-in range extenders and they have been unplugged a couple of times rendering parts of the system inoperable. We have applied ‘Do not switch off’ labels but providing hard wired range extender modules would improve the professional nature of the system. These modules could be connected to a permanent mains supply and hidden in a socket back box or a subtle housing that could be permanently mounted to the wall beside a socket. This would require a qualified electrician to install rather than being a DIY job. Perhaps a push notification of a ‘No Signal’ occurring with a device would allow proactive investigation / remedy rather than someone complaining the house or a room was cold.
  2. We have gone on vacation putting the system in ‘away mode’ and then forgotten to take it off before coming home. It would be nice to schedule the end of ‘Away Mode’ so you don’t have to remember to turn the heating on just before you return from your trip. A wide geofence may have prevented that but it would be nice to do it natively in the app.

Still Teething?

The system is not glitch free. At the time of writing the cloud service was experiencing status issue, for example when trying to update a schedule the app could freeze, not all the time but sometimes. The issue was resolved before we published.

The app recently updated to version 3 and informed us about the new ‘Comfort Mode’ but when we went into the app there was no sign of it. We later discovered the Heat Hub had not completed its firmware upgrade to enable this mode but 48 hours later the firmware had updated and we enabled comfort mode. Perhaps coordinating hardware updates with app refreshes could be improved.

These are relatively minor issues. They did not impinge on the operation of the system and would probably go unnoticed by many users. We probably need to get outside more rather than playing with our heating system!

We also had an issue with the last batch of thermostats we purchased, one of them read the temperature between 7.5-8 deg c, clearly incorrect. We completed a factory reset on the device but it still had the same issues. We changed the schedule for the device to permanently Off otherwise it would be constantly calling for heat. We called the help desk on Monday morning and was told to return it to the retailer. This was Amazon and a replacement was shipped the same day leaving us to post back the defective unit using the prepaid postage.

Any Richer?

So we may be a lot Wiser but are we richer? There are various claims made about the savings that can be realised switching to a smart heating system by different manufacturers 20%, 30% or even 50%. There are so many factors involved, such as previous controls, scheduling ability, household living patterns, weather, all these factors and more make it hard to quantify savings. It’s very difficult to be definitive and say the system has helped save us ‘X’ pounds. We had a very cold winter so it’s impossible to compare fuel usage from one year to the next on a like for like basis. What we can state is that fuel usage was broadly similar year on year so perhaps it made an impact considering the extra thermal effort needed to keep the house warm compared to ambient temperatures.

One obvious change is the comfort feeling, again not quantifiable but it is noticeable. The temperature between rooms is far better regulated than with standard TRV’s. No going from a really hot room with the TRV still calling for heat and a colder room. The debates about how a room feels have also reduced with the availability of quantifiable data.

Speak Up

We don’t often use the Alexa feature of the system for temperature status or changes. This might change if Alexa was in the same room as the Wiser device i.e. the kids could use it to control their heating. We have used Alexa more for switching the smart sockets on and off than heating adjustments.

When needed our main method of interacting with the system is via the app. The screen refresh has made it easier to find rooms and adjust temperatures. The app is installed on all occupants smart devices but once we found a schedule and temperatures everyone was happy with we have not needed to intervene very often. The fact that most people in the house forget about Wiser being present has to be a.n indication of its success.

The iTRV’s are very unobtrusive and look very much like a traditional TRV. This helps with user interaction as was demonstrated when we had guests, adjusting the temperature was a simple twist and feedback was via the LED’s, red for hot and blue for cold.

We did find some of the iTRV’s loosening after repeated operation. Our hand tight just didn’t the grip the adapter well enough. We will all have different grip capabilities but we would suggest wearing a glove to give a little extra grip when tightening.

The colour LCD wall thermostats replaced our conventional wall thermostats. We did use these wall thermostats initially but once we implemented room by room zoning with more iTRV’s our frequency of interaction dropped significantly and we barely use them. Where the room thermostats may prove more beneficial is in scenarios where the iTRV may be hard to reach or not measuring a true room temperature stuck behind a sofa.

Would We Buy Wiser Again?

Yes is the short answer. We would buy it again and have recommended it to others. Buying and installing a system now is a different experience than a year ago. If we knew then what we know now we may have delayed our purchase. We still have 5 iTRV’s to add so overall it represents a sizeable investment for us but one we are happy to continue with as we feel the benefits will outweigh the costs.

So ownership hasn’t been without its initial issues. We could put that down to being early adopters and living in a property with a more unusual layout and footprint than most. We were probably pushing Wiser beyond its limits. At one point we were close to boxing the system up and returning it however our persistence and Drayton’s support appears to have paid off.

In our original article we set a selection criteria and Wiser still meets all the points required even if it did take a bit of persistence. In fact we are glad we picked Wiser as some of the other systems would definitely have struggled with the same challenges and what is less clear is how the other manufacturers would have addressed them in the absence of Drayton’s experience and resources.

In our estimation it’s a good solution and still favourably priced compared to other systems. Drayton appear to have ironed out range issues and continue to develop new ‘value add’ features as well as introducing new hardware. Will we see a Wiser bulb range, occupancy sensors or more advanced app features in the future?

Let’s wait and see.

[UPDATE] Check out the comments below (October 13, 2019) for some more details.

wiser.draytoncontrols.co.uk  :  Available from Amazon

Bestseller No. 1
Drayton Wiser Multi-Zone Smart Thermostat and 2 Smart Radiator Thermostat Kit - Combination Boilers Only - Heating Control
  • This kit allows you to take full control of your heating system via your phone on a room-by-room basis thanks to the included Smart Radiator Thermostat’s. The Wiser App allows you to easily control your home’s temperature room-by-room whilst also viewing your system’s heat report from anywhere in the world.
  • Suitable for combination boilers (1 Channel). This kit will not work with gravity-fed systems.
  • Included in this kit is 1 x Smart Room Thermostat, 1 x Heat Hub and 2 x Radiator Thermostats. More thermostats can be added at any time by simply replacing the standard TRV . Wiser Smart plugs with Range Extender may be needed to boost signal in larger houses.
Bestseller No. 2
Drayton WT724R1S0902 Wiser Two Channel Heat Hub, White
  • Create up to 16 heating zones (individual rooms). firmware updates via the cloud
  • Add up to 4 Radiator thermostats and 1 room thermostat per zone up to a maximum of 32 devices in a system
  • Open herm boiler interface support. Eco Mode incorporating weather compensation and optimum stop
Bestseller No. 3
Drayton 1-Channel Wiser Thermostat Control Kit White
4 Reviews
Drayton 1-Channel Wiser Thermostat Control Kit White
  • Multi-Colour Display
  • 7 Day Programmable
  • Up to 16 Heating Zones

Read the full Drayton Wiser Review Series

Part 1 – Step by Step Installation

Part 2 – Installation Update

Part 3 – Expanding & Adding Alexa Voice Control

Part 4 – 1 Year Older & Much Wiser

Last update on 2020-06-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

62 Comments on "Drayton Wiser Smart Heating Controls Review Part 4 – 1 Year Older & Much Wiser"

  1. smarthomegirluk | October 15, 2018 at 12:21 pm |

    re. ‘our test house is a long bungalow with the boiler and controls located at one end of the property and the bedrooms at the other. We are not aware of any system that could cope with those distances’ have you heard of Lightwave for power and heating? The frequency is 868 so range is not an issue.

  2. Mike Meakin | October 15, 2018 at 5:05 pm |

    This review was interesting as I purchased and installed a Wiser Kit 2 about a week ago. Sadly, I am not impressed. All I can say is ‘yes’ it ‘works’ !

    Would I install it for anybody else, no – far too clunky !

  3. Neil Watson | October 16, 2018 at 8:09 am |

    I also purchased Wiser recently and am not too impressed, you also seem to be getting a different support department to me.

    We moved from Hive to the Wiser and straight away noticed an electrical hum from the heat hub when the hot water light is on or flashes on override mode. Spoke to support who recommended get a replacement which we got, new unit was actually worse as hum louder and also now present on central heating. Support say it is not their hardware making the noise despite me pointing out the noise is not present if we refit and use the Hive hub.

    Thinking about sending the whole lot back and looking at one of the competitors.

  4. Andy Allenton | October 16, 2018 at 9:13 am |

    1) Add up the total cost and include any labour.
    2) Factor in the price and inconvenience of batteries in the TRVs.
    3) All this kit costs tangible money, so work out the tangible saving in £ for the initial outlay.
    4) Face reality – you’ve just spent sh*t-loads of money for another fancy un-necessary gadget that serves no real purpose!

    Zoning domestic central heating controls isn’t cost-effective for most people. A decent modern central heating programmer is the best option. Far greater savings can be had by increasing insulation but it’s not as sexy as the latest electronic gadget.
    I stand by what I have just written, based on 30 years practical and theoretical knowledge.

  5. @smarhomegirluk you are right Lightwave’s 868 band does travel further than zigbee, z-wave and WiFi so for some situations it makes sense. I should have been more specific in saying I have 45m to cover from the hub to the furthest device, so not even Lightwave would do that.

    At the time Wiser was going to workout £550 less than Lightwave. We preferred the styling of the Drayton iTRVs which was important to have something that didn’t look too technical for other users of the system.

    If you already have some Lightwave devices then it would make sense to extend that eco system to cover heating.

    One thing that we did think important is the manufacturer. Ok it’s not always true but in this case Drayton have been in the heating control business for years and are part of Schneider Electric. They designed these devices in house from the ground up and they are all made in the UK. Already we have seen the introduction of smart features such as ‘Eco Mode’ and ‘Comfort Mode’, I don’t think Lightwave offers that.

    Essentially you are right, different systems will suit different people for different reasons in various scenarios! It’s great to have the choice.

    Mark.

  6. @Mike would be interested in understanding more. So you say it works, so great but clearly short of your expectations. What elements did you find clunky? The App or the hardware?

    There are elements of the app GUI that I think could flow better. For example getting to room setup from the main room control screen and from the room screen.

    Mark B

  7. @Neil

    That does sound unusual. The hum is only present when the system is calling for heat? Perhaps it’s the relays.

    It’s not very reassuring when the second unit is worse than the first. I wonder how Drayton can track the symptoms you described to a unit being returned via a retailer. These sort of things do need investigated.

    Mark B

  8. @Andy – I disagree with you. I don’t have the system above that Mark has reviewed here, we use the Honeywell evohome and it has brought very real cost savings (thousands saved in heating oil since its installation) and great comfort and convenience benefits.

    Having recently stayed in another house using one of those “modern central heating programmers” I was reminded how wasteful an ‘All ON / All OFF’ system is.

    I change my batteries around once a year, hardly a huge task. As regards the “latest electronic gadget” – I recon most of us could think of a thousand products more ‘sexy’ than motorised TRVs.

  9. @Andy

    I do agree with you that draught proofing and insulating has to be a first priority for heat efficiency. Then come other factors, upgrading to an efficient boiler, fitting with basic thermostatic and time controls. These may still be the upgrade route for many households.

    After those have been achieved then there are still methods of improving efficiency. Intelligent heating controls is the next step and that’s where we found ourselves. It’s at this point I have to disagree with you.

    Hopefully we outlined the justification clearly enough in our original posting https://www.automatedhome.co.uk/reviews/drayton-wiser-smart-heating-controls-review-part-1-step-by-step-installation.html. We have a property with a mix of thermal performances due to new build extension, renovated older elements and large areas of glass in some rooms.

    Wiser has happily delivered on providing a balanced control of temperature across the property and provided an opportunity to tailor heating to very specific usage patterns. It’s a cost that we have happily paid as we are now getting the benefits.

    Mark B

  10. Have just sold a well insulated property which had Evohome installed for 4 years, I would say that the savings were marginal. Evohome doesn’t play nicely with modern condensing boilers as any change of set temperature by more than c2C results in the boiler going to max flow temperature. Does this happen with Wiser? As far as BEIS and BRE are concerned, the jury is still out when it comes to savings. BRE ignores ErP figures in all EPC assessments and Evohome with 3 TRVs is treated as dual zone with savings of 2%!

    This is worth a read:

    https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/650840/heating-controls-international-evidence.pdf

  11. @markb – will reply in more detail this evening

  12. Neil Watson | October 17, 2018 at 7:32 pm |

    @Mark B

    When you say the relays, do you mean something in the Hub? I’m sure its the Hub due to the frequency / pitch of the noise changing in time with the channel light flashing in override mode. The best I can describe it as is the same noise for example as some phone chargers make.

    Support are still saying its not their equipment at fault and to be honest I have lost faith in them as after trying to work with them they are blaming the wiring and telling me that 1 (Hot water off) on the backplate needs wiring in. Interesting comment to make when they have no knowledge of the central heating system I have (S Plan).

  13. Mike Meakin | October 19, 2018 at 2:30 pm |

    @Neil – The Humming ?

    The Hub has a power supply of some sort that converts the mains to a low voltage that powers all the hub electronics (typically 5 oe 12 Volts..

    The power supply may be an (old fashioned) ‘transfomer’ that uses copper winding (wire) on a laminated steel plate ‘core’. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transformer.

    Sometimes the steel plates are not bonded together properly and ‘rattle’ (due to the magnetic fields) – a phenomena known as magnetostriction. . This will produce a low frequency (100Hz) ‘hum’ at twice the mains frequency.

    More likely the Hub will use what they call a ‘switch mode’ power supply that uses a much higher frequency transformer (30-40kHz). These too can ‘hiss’ and ‘buzz’ in a similar manner.

    As noted phone chargers often do this and it is a very aggravating noise.

    Strictly speaking the hub is not ‘faulty’ as Drayton say. You note that the sound is louder when the relay is active and this sort of makes sense as the power supply is working harder.

    Just a thought – is the hub mounted on any adjacent steel work (Backplate) ?

    P.S Will post my observations on the product shortly. I am now ‘warming’ to this product. !

  14. Joe Sinclair | October 27, 2018 at 6:14 pm |

    Mark,

    I know that the room thermostat can adjust overall temperature and boost heat, but I believe it cannot edit schedules, so the only way to do detailed system control is from the app. Is that correct?

    Does the Drayton Wiser app allow you to control the heating system if your Internet connection is down? Scenario: Wifi is up, and you are at home inside the coverage of the wifi. Internet is down for a couple of days due to being in a rural location with unreliable Internet. Can you edit schedules using the app during an Internet outage, assuming wifi is working?

  15. @Joe

    I’m sure Mark will get back to you soon as usual, but I also have this system so I can try to help:

    1 – Yes, that is correct. The wireless room stat allows you to view temperature, humidity and set point. The “-” and “+” buttons allow you to change the set point, and the “o” buttons is for boosting the temperature (30m, 1hr, 2hr or 3hr). For anything else (scheduling, away mode, eco mode, etc) you have to use the app.

    2- Short answer is yes. When I’m at home my phone connects to the system via the local WiFi network, it doesn’t go through the cloud every time, which is a very good implementation in my opinion.

    I found this on the Wiser website when I was looking for the same info:

    What happens if my internet connection stops working?

    If for whatever reason your internet connection stops working, if you are at home and your smartphone and/or tablet is connected to the same WIFI network, you should still be able to use the app to control your heating and hot water.
    If outside the home and your internet / home Wi-Fi fails for whatever reason, you will not be able to control your heating or hot water via the app. Don’t worry though, your heating and hot water will still work and will run to any pre-programmed schedule.
    There is also manual override on the Heat HubR directly. By pressing either the hot water or heating buttons (depending on 1 channel or 2 channel variants) this will override any pre-programmed schedules and engage the heating and or hot water directly for a period of 1 hour for hot water and 2 hours for heating.

  16. Regarding “Amazon are charging £41.99 for the smart plug and the same device is available from City Plumbing Supplies for £34.99”, that got be excited, but it runs out the City Plumbing price does not include VAT. When you factor that in the price is actually the same as Amazon’s.

  17. @Neil – Humming

    I too have the same problem with humming. I returned the first unit as faulty due to the humming, but the second one (from a different retailer) has the same issue. Like you, my previous thermostats (Netatmo and a non-smart Drayton) have worked without noise. It’s not located near any metal (other than the wiring) though is on the end of a 3m run of 3 core/earth ‘lighting circuit’ cable.

  18. @Alasdair

    I finally gave up with Drayton and returned the whole lot. At my expense I had the installer come and confirm that all of my system is wired up correctly and that the fault is with the unit, even with this proof sent to them they still claimed my system is wired incorrectly and hot water off needs to be wired into the backplate.

    Hilariously they then claimed again that the unit is not at fault but in the next sentence contradicted themselves by admitting there is a relay that makes a noise.

  19. Has anyone had the issue where all iTRV’s need to be set to a higher temperature by 2/3 degrees. to make sure the room is 2/3 degrees lower ambient temperature. For example I want a room at 21 degrees so i have to set the iTRV to 23 degrees. Drayton are saying my system is working correctly but the system cannot be smart if I have to set all rooms differently.
    This also means that away mode wont run correctly because the room will be at 18 degrees ambient temperature but the iTRV says 20 degrees so it wont open or call for heat.

    Any issues like this. I have 2 iTRV’s with the same issue. Brought from different shops at different times.

  20. @ben I have had the same experience.

    In my lounge I have 3 radiators, all behind furniture, sofa’s and curtains. There is no way they are going to accurately measure the room temperature so I have had to apply a higher set point temperature to get the desired temperature in the room. At first I thought it was a fault with the iTRV but I swapped a few around and it was the same scenario.

    I had suggested to Drayton to include a feature that added the ability to add an offset to help calibrate the thermostats measurements to another observed measurement or ‘feels like’ temperature in the room. I doubt this is high on their development list unless they get lots of similar feedback.

    The other scenario I had was in the kitchen where the iTRV was in a corner so airflow restrictions and reflected heat would mislead the temperature readings. I used the same approach as the lounge for a period. Once I figured out the radiators in the hall were in control with iTRV’s I moved the smart wall thermostat to the kitchen (physically and on the system) and straight away saw a more accurately measured and controlled temperature. Granted this approach gets expensive if you cannot repurpose an existing wall thermostat.

    Hope this helps.

    Mark B

  21. Thanks for the swift reply. I think a setpoint offset is a great idea and I have given this to Drayton also.

    Other manufacturers employ this technique so I don’t know why it’s common practice.

    However I still think there are greater issues here. The TRVs don’t react as quick to cool down or heat up. Drayton state they are designed around the TRV4 which I have on all my radiators. These work even when behind furniture. My iTRVs are not behind furniture. So this can’t be an issue. I think it’s something to do with the HeatHubs programming. Trying to get Drayton to send me a replacement to be sure. But they are being stubborn.

    They claim for it all to be smart and be able to maintain temperatures especially in babies rooms. But it just isn’t so.

    I’ll continue my battle.

    Thanks again. Anyone else have this issue?

  22. I am currently looking closely at the Drayton Wiser system with a view to installing one in my own home.

    I don’t have it yet so I cannot speak directly about it. The point of me popping up with my two ‘penneth though is just to fill-in the background on setpoint offsets with the observation that the olde worlde analogue TRVs (at least for the Drayton TRV3 & TRV4 TRVs that I am familiar with) do in effect offer just such a setpoint offset by dint of an adjustable screw underneath the bottom of the sensing head. By screwing this in or out one can influence the temperature at which the valve part of the unit starts to open under the influence of the sensing head.

    It’s not very likely, as I imagine that the Drayton Wiser Radiator Thermostats are all electronic, but it might just be worth checking to see if such a mechanical adjustment is available on them too, just in case.

  23. Hi Badger,

    I have TRV4 valve on all my other Rads. I cannot see the screw you have advised.

    Could you send/upload a photo?

    Thanks
    Ben

  24. Hi Ben

    Okay, this is a prima facia case of don’t ASSuME (me not you!)

    I have successfully used this facility on my TRV3s and I had ASSUMED (without having looked too closely!) that the same would therefore by true of my TRV4s.

    I’m sorry to have to report that it is not possible to perform this adjustment on the TRV4.

    I have confirmed this with a call to the manufacturer’s technical support department this morning.

    Apologies for misleading you with duff info.

  25. No worries.

  26. Mark Primavesi | March 7, 2019 at 5:36 pm |

    Has anyone noticed if Drayton iTRVs can be heard when they are operating? My wife would object to any noticable motor whirring. Anywhere else in the house it wouldn’t matter.

  27. @Mark They do male a noise; a brief whirring as they adjust. I don’t find it a problem personally.

  28. I have two suggestions to make that would improve the software in my opinion:

    1. Add the warning of a device not working to the home screen against the room involved. At present, unless the room has only one device, then a device malfunction is only evident if one makes a point of checking the ‘Devices’ screen.

    2. It would be good if more than one schedule could be set up. We have an ‘Away’ mode but a ‘Schedule 1’, ‘Schedule 2’ and ‘Schedule 3’ mode would be very useful for different times of the year.

  29. @MikeJT I agree. I believe Drayton are looking at improving some of these concerns with a ‘push’ alert feature i.e. warning notification pops up on your phone for devices losing signal or critical battery status rather than wondering why a room is too cold. Now our system is established and tuned I don’t regularly go into the app to check device status.

    Not sure of the time scales for implementation but have seen numerous updates with improvements like confirmation messages on the schedule change or device setting screens.

    The number of different schedule features that could be incorporated are numerous and I guess Drayton will prioritise features based on customer demand, not sure how this is measured so try emailing them to get it logged!

    Mark B

  30. Hi Mark, wondering how far away you are from the next installment, how you and Wiser are getting on together after prolonged use… I myself have literally just had a new Ideal combi fitted complete with new rads and am looking for a smart system, keep getting pushed back to the Wiser system mainly due to the fact you can purchase range extenders, my old house has problems with WiFi signals meaning I have had to mesh which has simply put me off a couple of the more expensive (with slightly more functionality) systems as Tado especially have said they have at the moment no intentions of releasing an extender …. from what I can understand, Wiser uses a Zigbee type system from which each component piggy backs from the next one etc etc so literally forms its own mesh type system, unsure if this is just with the extenders or also iTRVs, but either way the option for range improvement is available

  31. Although the zigbee protocol supports peer to peer connection, I don’t believe Drayton does, although you can have multiple range extenders off the same hub.

  32. Hello Akitadad. Your post is right on the second anniversary of our Wiser install. Great to see the article still attracting interest. I had not thought of doing an annual review but perhaps a long term test summary would be useful. Typically a full system install is going to be a modest investment for most so operational longevity and reliability are key.

    We have pretty much forgotten about Wiser, in a good way, it just works in the background. It represented a significant investment for us so thankfully we have no issues with it on a day to day basis. I would add these few notes…

    Battery life is about 9-18 months based on our experience to date. I think there are a number of factors, how hard the device is working physically, cycling the radiator valve, resistance level of the valve pin etc to how hard it is working in maintaining a signal back to the hub. The other factor is battery choice. We have tried a number of different battery makes and the best value so far is Varta Longlife Power. This leads on to one feature missing from the app, push notifications for low battery/critical battery. At present you figure it out batteries need replaced when a room isn’t at the temperature you would expect. We have 17 iTRV’s, 2 room thermostat’s and 4 range extender/smart switches so that is not an insignificant amount of batteries!

    We have Alexa linked to Wiser but it rarely gets used. Actually physical interaction with the system via the devices or app is very limited. Once we got the schedules sorted and Eco mode and Comfort mode was enabled the system does all that is needed. The heat reports can be useful to see what the system is doing and give some quantitive data to talk about.

    I have not revisited our original benchmarking exercise to compare Wiser to the other systems so cannot say definitely how it stands up to or out from the competition. I do believe it is still the least expensive option for room zoning based on a quick google, the wiser iTRV retails at £40 vs £54-70 for Hive, Tado, Netamo, Honeywell.

    The app and device firmware continues to receive seamless updates to keep the system evolving. At the time of writing the remote devices are now at firmware version 0.36.1 and the hub 2.36.3. Likewise the app is at version 3.9.0 as of 4 days ago. It’s good to see Drayton continue to develop and refine the system.

    Just to clarify your post, the battery powered devices do not mesh as it would be too power intensive. The mains powered smart plugs/range extenders do provide a mesh network. We needed this functionality too as living in a bungalow placed our furthest iTRV 80ft from the hub.

    We have the 4 smart plug/range extenders placed for optimum coverage of the Wiser system rather than in useful places for smart plugs. We have another eco system for smart plug switching and another for lighting. That is one thing to say about some of the competing systems, take Hive as an example, it has grown to offer more smart home products including specific range extenders, cameras, sensors, lights to compliment their heating eco system. This might appeal to some people.

    Hope this is of some use to you.

    Mark B.

  33. Keith Elliott | October 18, 2019 at 11:23 pm |

    Hi Mark, I have just finished reading your highly informative and useful series of articles and follow-up chats and I am now very keen on the Wiser system. I have a couple of questions:

    1. Do you know if it is possible to purchase a hub and TRVs only, ie without room stats? Based on several years’ experience with our current system (a 3 zone S Plan system with mechanical TRVs and two room stats), I feel that I will get limited functionality from the room stats and would prefer to spend my money on more TRVs.

    2. In any photos of smart TRVs that I have seen, I notice that the thermostat body is invariably mounted vertically. However, several of my existing TRVs have the thermostat mounted horizontally. Do you know whether there is any operational issue with installing the smart TRVs horizontally, or must they be installed vertically in order to work properly?

    Thank you for all of your time and effort in putting together this most comprehensive guide to the Wiser system. I hope that by now Drayton are making it worth your while to give them all this excellent publicity!

    Looking forward to your reply.

  34. The valves can be mounted horizontally. If anything I think the temperature readings are a bit more accurate in this configuration.

  35. @Keith thanks for the warm words, pun intended.

    1. I am only aware of the Wiser kits and as you have pointed out they all contain a room stat. It is a good point you make as in our experience we rarely interact with the room stat. I would suggest selling it on eBay, one recently sold for £56.

    2. As Nial has already said the valves can be mounted horizontally or vertically. 80% of our valves are vertical with the rest horizontal. Not sure I see any discernible difference in performance.

    Whilst I have had some dialogue with Drayton technical about the system and some initial issues, I haven’t been in contact for some time. This project was self funded so what you read is an unbiased genuine end consumer review. It’s been worth my while to get a smart heating system!

  36. Keith Elliott | October 19, 2019 at 11:49 pm |

    Thanks both. Also apologies if my query appears twice in this thread. My post and your responses didn’t initially show up when I checked in just now, so I posted the same question again, only to see the original post and your replies when my screen refreshed!

  37. Paul Whitfield | October 25, 2019 at 1:52 am |

    I have had a Wiser system installed for a year. The property is a
    4-bedroom detached bungalow.

    My central heating/hot water system is an LPG standard boiler
    and hot water cylinder. The pipework is copper micro-bore. When
    I first moved in (2014) I had the system flushed through, then
    all radiators removed and flushed through separately, a new boiler
    installed, Fernox filter installed and all TRVs replaced. In total
    there are 19 radiators (18 with TRVs). Note: these were normal
    TRVs, not iTRVs.

    The reason for installing a smart heating control system was to
    overcome the issue of cold rooms. I also liked the idea of being
    able to control the radiators from a single location via the Wiser
    Heat app. So it was for reasons of comfort and convenience rather
    than heating costs. The original control system was a single
    thermostat in the hall which I set to 20 C. The problem was that the
    hall is surrounded by other rooms and soon reached the set
    temperature and turned the heating off, leaving some rooms woefully
    short of being at a comfortable temperature (bathroom could be down
    to 11C/12C during winter and one bedroom 13C/14C).

    Installation and upgrading
    I started with a Multi-Zone Kit 2 consisting of a HeatHub,
    a Room Thermostat and two Radiator Thermostats which I installed
    in October 2018. Over the year I have added to the Wiser system
    and now have a HeatHub, 2 x Smart Plugs (used as range extenders),
    4 x Room Thermostats and 14 x Radiator Thermostats (iTRVs) plus
    four radiators with a standard TRV and one radiator with no TRV.
    I have noticed that iTRVs can sometimes become loose and need to
    be tightened back on to the radiator valve so they probably ought
    be checked periodically.

    The original Wiser installation was quite straightforward and I
    configured the Wiser Heat app and devices to my requirements.
    However, that same day, I began experiencing all sorts of random
    heating control issues: hot water turning on, set temperatures
    changing. In the end I switched everything off, including the
    Heat Hub. Not a good start. I contacted Technical Support the
    following day and they explained that it was the HeatHub and
    Room and Radiator Thermostats being updated with the latest
    firmware. I think it would be useful, especially for first time installation,
    if the Wiser Heat app would warn users when updates are in progress
    and when updates have completed and warn users not to configure
    the system until the updates have been completed, which can take
    several hours. The most likely time when multiple firmware updates
    are going to be in progress is precisely when a new Wiser system is
    being installed. It would also be useful if users could decide when to
    update firmware. For example, if you were going to be away then you
    might not want updates to install automatically in case this resulted
    in incorrect heating/hot water control.

    Having added extra thermostats, I would find it useful if iTRVs
    could be individually named to help with identification. For
    example, I have three iTRVs in the lounge and, on the “Devices”
    screen each one is named “Lounge”.

    Smart Plugs (range extenders)
    At this point I did not have any Wiser Smart Plugs (range extenders)
    installed and the next issue was thermostats losing signal. Tech
    Support recommended purchasing a Smart Plug. The Heat Hub is at
    one end of the house and the furthest thermostat is approximately
    20 metres away. The installation of two Smart Plugs appears to have
    fixed the problem and I rarely see lost signal issues but I have no
    idea which device is connected to which Smart Plug. If there is a
    power outage then, when power is restored, the devices have to attempt
    to re-connect to the HeatHub via the Smart Plugs and, since each Smart
    Plug can support a maximum of six devices (which includes a Smart Plug
    connecting to another Smart Plug), you could end up with a different
    configuration to that prior to the power outage. If this new configuration
    were not optimal then it could result in lost signal issues. It would
    helpful if the Wiser Heat app could have functionality added that allowed
    you to see which device is connected to which Smart Plug. In January 2019,
    Tech Suport mentioned that a network topology screen was to be considered
    for a future release of the Wiser Heat app, but no timescale for this.

    It would also be useful to be able to assign a thermostat to a
    particular Smart Plug so that a particular network configuration
    is maintained following a power outage.

    Losing signal
    For rooms that have more than one thermostat, e.g. a room with
    a Room Thermostat and a iTRV, there is no indication on the
    Wiser Heat app Home screen when a thermostat loses signal.
    If you are not physically in the room, you would only find out
    there was an issue if you happened to navigate to the “Devices”
    screen. Functionality should be added to display an alert on the
    Home screen so that the user then immediately knows to go to the
    “Devices” screen to determine the particular issue.

    Temperature control
    I have ten identical thermometers (0.1 C precision) placed in
    rooms to determine how closely the Wiser system maintains the
    temperatures that I have set. I find that temperature control
    is very good if there is a Wiser Room Thermostat in the room.
    In the lounge there are three radiators with iTRVs and a Room
    Thermostat and the temperature always agrees well with the
    independent thermometer reading and always within the precision
    of the Room Thermostat (0.5 C). I find that rooms controlled by
    Radiator Thermostats (iTRVs) only are not very good at maintaining
    the set temperature but this may depend on the particular room.
    The iTRVs, being attached to the radiator, are typically not best
    located for measuring the room temperature and a temperature
    estimation algorithm is used to estimate the room temperature.
    This may be fine for one room but not for another. I find that
    when room temperature is controlled by iTRVs only then the room
    temperature typically reaches a temperature that is 2C lower than
    the set temperature. Good for your heating bills but not for your comfort.
    It would be useful to be able to choose an offset for each room to
    compensate but any offset for a particular room could be a moving
    target if there are several factors involved. There is also the issue of
    radiators that are not up to the job in the first place. I have such a
    radiator in the kitchen and, during winter, I increased the kitchen iTRV
    set temperature to 25C and wondered why the kitchen temperature
    topped out at 16C. In such cases you can’t blame the Wiser system!

    Loss of internet access
    As a test of loss of internet, I disconnected my broadband
    (unplugging from the BT master socket). Although there was no internet
    access the internal WiFi network worked fine. I opened the Wiser Heat
    app which asked me to enter name/password, which I provided, but the app
    reported that the login had failed. I re-connected to the Internet and
    the login then worked. The reply from Tech Support (16 November 2018)
    was

    “Unfortunately, no. The verification has to be done with communication
    with our cloud. I will forward your feedback to be able to log in without
    internet access.”

    NOTE: If you have a mobile phone with a data allowance then you can
    provide your login details over 4G.

    and again, (9 January 2019)

    “This is correct. The Wiser Hub must be able to connect to the internet,
    either from local Wi-Fi or a mobile data connection. As our product is an
    internet connected product, it must have a connection to the internet to
    function properly.

    If you are unable to access the Hub via the data connection, you can connect
    to the Hub using the soft access point by pressing the setup button, see below:

    –Launch the Wiser Heat app.
    (You may need to cancel logon to get to the start screen).
    –From the start screen, tap Set-up / Create Account
    (even though your system has already been set up).
    –Select your Heat HubR type.
    –Press the Set-up button on the Heat HubR
    –Follow the on-screen instructions to connect your mobile device
    to the Heat HubR.
    –Tap Skip when prompted to set-up your heating system.
    –Tap skip when prompted to set-up your Wi-Fi.
    –You should now be able to control your system via soft access point”

    So, it is possible to control the Wiser system without an internet connection
    but the above procedure seems a bit of a rigmarole and the soft access point
    (SAP) configuration does time-out. Also, your login details are forgotten and
    you need to supply them when your internet is again working. A less klunky, more
    polished, SAP option would be a useful inclusion in the Wiser Heat app. You
    should never have to be without your heating control just because you lose
    your broadband connection. This needs to be properly addressed.

    Batteries
    I seem to be getting about 9 – 12 months battery usage for the iTRVs.
    Due to the poor markings on the iTRV it is easy to insert batteries
    incorrectly, especially with the iTRV in-situ, and I have done this.
    I was lucky in that I went back to the iTRV after a couple of minutes
    and noticed that it was quite hot. I immediately removed the batteries
    and they were even hotter. I let everything cool down before re-inserting
    the batteries correctly. I don’t know if this constitutes a fire hazard
    but I do have one iTRV that brushes against a curtain. I have yet to raise
    this with Tech Support.

  38. Keith Mitchell | November 13, 2019 at 10:41 am |

    It was interesting to read the experience of other wiser owners. I bought this system to control a new heating system being installed in an old house. The intention was to control less used rooms in a more intelligent way. My own experience has been pretty poor to be honest. I found the range to be very low. Initially I just had the two iTRV’s supplied with the kit. Fitted to bedrooms they didn’t work – out of range. I needed to buy a wiser plug to get the room thermostat to connect to the hub.

    At present I have the plug and the two iTRV’s in the room adjacent to the boiler with the rest of the house covered by traditional TRV’s. Somehow having everthing sat around the boiler doesn’t say “smart home” to me. I still have to go into upstairs rooms to adjust the TRV to change the heating mode if guests are coming for instance, or find ourselves heating the lounge during the morning when no-one uses it until the evening.

    We also suffer the iTRV’s stating one temperature and shutting off the radiators when actually the room (and it is only one room!) is not up to temperature. Again one has to set the room at say 23 degrees when you want 20.

    It just seems frustrating to be told one can now download heating reports (?) when the basic functionality is still poor.

    The purpose of reading this was part of research for dumping the wiser system altogether and going back to traditional controls. I’m just not sure constantly playing with this system is worth the effort. I have the latest boiler with weather compensation. Buying lots of range extenders – I’d need at least two just to get the signal upstairs I reckon is too big an investment.

    All in all it has to be a 0 from me

  39. I’m coming into my second winter with this system, here are my thoughts.

    1) It is the cheapest system to buy – a lot cheaper if you have lots of TRV’s. Though they seem to be gradually removing that benefit by pushing up the TRV prices & overcharging for the plugs/extenders.

    2) It is very easy to fit. Both the controller and the TRV’s can be fitted by anyone as long as you have a standard heating controller backplate.

    3) It works. Mostly. Sometimes the controller drops off the network for a while. I’ve also had all my schedules reset a couple of times including recently. May be due to software upgrades.

    4) The controls are easy enough that the family can use them.

    5) I’ve had some TRV failures so jury is out for me as to how reliable it is. This obviously also starts to negate the cost benefit.

    6) The control isn’t as flexible as I’d like.

    6.1) For example, it would be better to have multiple heating schedules for different times of year or different weather patterns.

    6.2) It would also be a LOT better if you could use a web interface to set the schedules, the phone app is a pain if you have a lot of changes to make.

    6.3) I’d also prefer to be able to back-up/restore schedules.

    6.4) It would be nice to be able to schedule TRV “reset” times – my son has a nasty habit of turning on boost at bedtime so we get a couple of hours of heating that really isn’t needed.

    7) You can, just, control the system yourself via OpenHab or Node-RED. Though the API is complex and only reverse engineered rather than published.

    The deciding factors for me getting this over the EvoHome system was the cost of the TRV’s. Otherwise, I would have chosen EvoHome as it has a published API & much better controls I think.

    Overall, I am not dissatisfied with the system but I’m not going to say that it is right for everyone.

  40. Yes, I have the same problem Julian. The lack of multiple heating schedules is a big downside for me. Our old system was a Netatmo but I changed to Wiser when moving to smart TRVs. Generally the schedule works fine for us but, on a day where I work from home, I want to boost the temperature during the day in part of the house.

    On the Netatmo I could just changed from ‘Normal Day’ to ‘Home Working Day’. With Wiser, I have to override each TRV manually to the desired temperature. Given that the TRVs are only so accurate, this means one room needs to be set to 24 degrees to hit a temperature of 21 degrees. Another room can be set to 22 degrees to hit 21 degrees.

    I’m sure I could automate it with a script or home automation software, but it’s functionality that really should be built into the system.

  41. I am continuing to follow this discussion as I slowly build up to the point of changing over all of our existing TRVs for something more intelligent and I must say that the feedback from those of you that are already using the system is starting to make me quite nervous.

    On the question of what temperature any given TRV needs to be set to in order to achieve the desired room temperature I do wonder whether the system is “innocent” in this respect though?

    This is because the TRV is typically trying to sense the temperature at just above floor level when a much better height would probably be around 1.2 metres – which is where the utility of the room thermostat comes into it, I think.

    For a practical demonstration of this effect climb up to ceiling height on some step ladders and marvel at just how much hotter it is up there (especially if you have high ceilings in a draughty – i.e. Victorian house).

    Secondly, I don’t know what temperature sensor the Wise TRV heads will be using but I don’t imagine it will be a particularly expensive component and I’m also pretty sure that the heads will not be individually calibrated either.

    Off the shelf semiconductor temperature sensors are typically spec’ed at a tolerance of +/- 0.5 (or even + / – 1) Celsius so this means that even if the sensor inside the TRV was sensing the room temperature accurately (and this is unlikely because of my point above) this means that the actual room temperature achieved can be off by this amount anyway.

    In fact, the overall measured difference can be up to double this of course, because that handy digital thermometer that is being used to check the room temperature is using a sensor with a tolerance of the same order as that in the TRV itself.

    This whole situation / effect is made worse if, like me, the house that you are trying to heat is a draughty old Victorian semi. In this respect I would expect a modern well insulated home to perform a lot better.

  42. @badger

    I agree with you that it would be useful to ‘calibrate’ the individual iTRV’s. There are numerous reasons why the iTRV may need this, you have mentioned some, in addition to close to doors, windows, behind furniture or soft furnishings like curtains. I did make this suggestion in an earlier article. More advanced features would be fine for some of us to manage but I think Drayton’s desire to keep it simple might keep them focused on the majority of users needs. I agree this feature would help most users and could be placed behind an ‘advanced setup’ link in the app so Drayton could still achieve their desire to keep it simple. I hope Drayton are continuing to read these posts.

    In fairness I think all smart valve heating system rely on the same principles. Ok they may use different components and different compensation algorithms but many of the same concerns would be present. What I cannot comment on is if they have calibration features.

    One point worth noting, before spending any money on smart heating controls, I would insulate and improve the air tightness of your house first. You will feel the benefits quicker and the payback on your investment will probably be quicker too.

    Good luck.

    Mark B

  43. @Keith

    As you will read from the articles I had the range issue scenario too. Once I figured out the optimal site for the range extender plugs then everything has worked solidly since.

    I get your point about the cost, for a smart plug it’s expensive for £42. The Ikea TRÅDFRI signal extender is £8 and also uses the Zigbee protocol. Unfortunately Drayton is a closed Zigbee system so you are stuck using Wiser devices. Fortunately as an early adopter I got a few free plug in range extenders and only had to buy one.

    I would say Drayton is in many scenarios an all or nothing system, but this depends on your existing heating system setup. The comfort and Eco modes will be too smart for existing TRV as the system will be anticipated heating characteristics based on the rooms with the iTRVs or room thermostats and weather.

    I did run a mixed setup for a while so know the drawbacks. That helped push me to a full implementation and absorb the costs. I was hesitant in doing this because of my previous experiences with range etc but the system operates without issue for me now and has done for some time.

    Mark B

  44. Personally, I’ve found the system to be very reliable once I invested in enough range extenders (two in my case), but like a number of people here, I was questioning how much invested in it. In reality, I believe it’s reduced our heating bill by at least 30% (although I suspect what you can actually achieve will depend very much on the layout of your house).

    The pace of software development is quite slow and the features it offers are quite basic, but I have recently set up HomeAssistant, an open source solution which has an integration for Wiser (albeit not officially supported from the Wiser or the HomeAssistant perspectives). I can see it being useful in a number of ways, but my initial driver is to get some measure of how often the system is calling for heat and the impact of schedule/temperature changes. I have already found a heating_demand value that I think will make this fairly easy/effective. I can feed back once I have played some more if anyone is interested?

  45. I’ve not yet had to install any range extenders even though our house is a fairly large Victorian building and so isn’t ideal for wireless. I am hoping to put something in the loft though which might well be too far. Of course, having devices at extreme range also reduces battery life.

    In terms of money saving, I don’t think that you would ever install ANY home automation purely to save money! The costs vs benefits rarely add up. It is much more about convenience and comfort. I think that it should also be noted that unless you have a combi boiler with an OpenTherm interface, I doubt you will see as much benefit to costs anyway.

    Even with one or two range extenders though, a Wiser system is going to be cheaper than any of the alternatives since the TRV’s are around 1/2 the cost.

    For us, the great advantage of a smart heating system is that you can instantly tweak it from anywhere. Coming home after a holiday for example is great since you can turn on the heating in time for getting home. Or if the weather suddenly gets cold, you can quickly boost the temperature. Or maybe you aren’t feeling well, …

    I think that any savings we may have made are offset by people choosing higher comfort levels.

    In regard to the accuracy of the TRV’s – actually, I can say that they are pretty good. I have independent sensors in some rooms and the TRV’s. However, I’m sure it depends on positioning, drafts and much more.

    Honestly though, required room temperatures are much more dependent on other factors than a specific temperature. For example, in the warmer months, having a room at 18 deg C seems perfectly comfortable, but in the winter when sitting around, it may feel chill. Humidity also has a big impact along with clothing. So personally, I wouldn’t get too hung up about specific temperatures.

    If you want a better measure though, it is easy enough to add a separate temperature sensor to the room. I use Node-RED for home automation and have my own DIY sensor platforms with everything, including the data from the Wiser controller, fed into a central database with a dashboard. Using Grafana, I can monitor long term trends on temperatures and humidity. Also compare weather to internal temperatures and heating demand.

  46. Admittedly, it was a bit of a punt to buy Drayton largely to reduce our heating bills, but in terms of smart heating with individual room control I know it can save money, because we have :). This is largely down the the layout of the house; we largely live in the day down one end of the house and sleep down the other, meaning the zoning can reduce the cost of running the heating significantly – break even was ~1.5years for us. I imagine in a two-storey layout or in situations where the whole house is used throughout the day, the benefits would be less significant in terms of cost.

    My comment about investment was more in terms of whether I was throwing good money after bad in getting the Wiser system stable – TRVs randomly dropping off the network made it feel horribly unreliable at one point with very limited visibility of what was going on. Drayton could help by including a debug mode, or something that just allows you to see what’s happening on the network (setting up HomeAssistant or OpenHab immediately opens up this visibility and it all makes sense).

    I believe the smartest move Drayton could make at this point is to open up/publish the API, as this would strengthen support in open source projects and legitimise the development of companion apps, all of which would benefit the platform.

  47. I’ve been using the system for almost a year now, and I love the insight it gives me into what is happening, the ability to easily control individual rooms without having to go into them, and being able to control it all remotely. Have I saved money? I doubt it. But I live in one of those draughty Victorian semi’s described above, with a heating system that is frankly un-fit for purpose. It’s a one pipe system, it’s not a simple circuit, and most of the radiators are very old, inefficient, and under-sized for the space they are trying to heat. No new control system is ever going to be able to compensate for that. However, I can mitigate it somewhat by being very precise about which rooms get heated when, and it’s a lot cheaper than completely replacing the whole system (which I will have to do one day admittedly).

    FWIW Amazon had the iTRV’s at £34 last week, but I see they are back up to £40 again now. Worth watching.

    I use Domoticz to monitor and control the system. It may not be as flexible for combining data from multiple sensors as some other solutions, but it’s what I use and does the job. I wrote my own plugin for this – if anyone else wants ot try it out you can find it at https://github.com/bloob00k/domoticz.

  48. Hi, I’ve recently installed the wiser system with smart TRV’s on all the radiators in the house. I’m having an issue with 2 smart TRV’s on the system, they seem to lock on the whirring noise quite loud and don’t stop until you plus the temp manually on the TRV. Has anyone had this issue or similar? I phoned support yesterday who’s advise was to swap those TRV’s with other ones on the system, if they do the same on a different radiator it’s the valves and if it does it on the same radiator with a different valve it’s the radiator. What I don’t get is, how it is the radiator as it’s specifically when the TRV makes it’s mechanical change (closing down as reaches heat) that the loud whirring/vibrating noise occurs and doesn’t stop. Any help be appreciated. Thanks

  49. hi. I just installed my wiser system yesterday.
    I’ve got a conventional gas boiler and hot water tank, so went for the 2 channel system with 2x iTRVs.
    it all seems to be up and running well and was relatively simple to install.
    I had a British gas badged drayton wireless RF room stat which I had to remove and bridge at the backplate for the timer, then the new receiver simply plugged in to the existing backplate.
    there are a couple of things I hadn’t appreciated before fitting the system.
    I hadn’t realised that the iTRVs could call for heat independently of the room thermostat. I was under the impression that the room stat was a master control, and the iTRVs would only call for heat if the room stat was calling for heat.

    as I have only 2 iTRVs, I guess this means that if either of these call for heat it will heat the rest of the house as the remaining rads have standard ‘dumb’ TRVs?

    also, do the iTRVs route through the room stat, or straight back to the control unit?
    I’m guessing the former as otherwise there would be no point in the room stat as the entire system could be controlled via iTRVs?

    my only slight apprehension with the system is that of obselecance over time, but I guess that as it can be controlled via openhab etc this shouldn’t be a problem.

  50. Worth checking the battery state in the iTRVs. Obviously not relevant if you have just installed, but I had a problem with the valve not closing when the batteries no longer had the energy to push in the pin.

  51. @chris wood

    The Wiser TRVs can call for heat when they are in a room without a room thermostat, and as you say, this will cause the radiators without smart TRVs to heat up. The Wiser TRVs do not measure temperature as accurately as the room thermostats, so you will likely need to determine how far out they are and change your set points accordingly when they are in a room without a stat.

    When there is a room thermostat in a room with Wiser TRVs, the temperature on the room thermostat will be used to trigger a call for heat (which is good; the room stat is more accurate). Therefore, the TRVs do not ‘route through’ the room thermostat, but the Hub uses the room stat to determine whether to fire the boiler. As an aside, the Wiser Smart plugs act as a range extender, so the TRVs do ‘route through’ them.

    Therefore, to avoid heating rads unnecessarily you need to add a Wiser TRV to them. I have Wiser TRVs for all radiators other than the bathroom (which I tend to want warm when anything else is running).

    Like you, I did consider obsolescence, but I suspect that, as a heating company, Drayton will keep the system alive longer than most. Time will tell I guess 🙂

  52. @Dominic did you manage to swap the valves around? There is a phenomenon called resonance that we had with one radiator on traditional TRV. With the right set of circumstances, temperature, pressure, flow rate etc the valve pin vibrated to the point it sounded like it was whirring at times or whistling loudly at other times. It was fixed by adjusting the balance on the radiator by giving the lock shield valve a quarter turn. Just a thought!

    Mark B

  53. Hi Mark, I think it’s sorted to an extent. So I swapped the valves and it’s never done it again so going to put it down to a faulty valve and return the one I thinks faulty for a replacement.

    Only other thing with my heating system is, we are a 3 storey circa 1850 detached house, an the plumber who fitted the system originally put a pump on the flow and the return of the heating pipe work instead of just on the return, so my other thinking is it could be because the water is getting pushed/pumped with higher pressure through the smart TRV when the boiler is calling for heat. So when the TRV closes down the water is still being pushed/pumped through and therefore has a smaller gap to go through so creates pressure and noise. Reason I’ve come to this conclusion is because some of the other radiators make this noise too but not to the same extent an only for a minute or so and stops, it’s all weird. So anyway a plumber is coming to remover the pump of the flow part of the pipe work an just leave the one on the return, this way we can see if that helps and solves the issue.

  54. @Nial

    thanks for the reply.
    i’ve already seen that the iTRVs aren’t really giving an accurate room temp, probably due to location, so i’ll have to adjust those accordingly.
    i need to decide which rooms really need the iTRVs fitted – as i live in a fairly small 3 bed 1930s semi, the temperature fluctuations between rooms aren’t huge. it may be that i don’t really need iTRVs at all, and just use the room stat to control the heating for the entire house rather than go to the expense of adding 5 more iTRVs.

  55. @chris wood

    In your situation, likely the best thing to do is to put the Wiser TRVs in your least-used rooms (possibly bedrooms 2 & 3) and limit the amount of time they are scheduled to run.

  56. I’m getting terrible range issues. from the hub to my thermostat less than a meter away. My RSSI Level is about -50. I’ve integrated my wiser into Home assistant. I have 5Trv’s. I wonder what channel the zigbee radio is on? as this could be causing issues on the 2.4GHz network.

  57. @ash Has this always been the case or is it something new you are seeing?

  58. Had one of my trv’s drop out due to no signal and It’s one of the closest TRV’s and my house is not that big! So the range on these things are really poor compared to other zigbee controllers?

  59. @ash Probably worth experimenting with a range extender. An installation of Home Assistant or similar home automation software will also help by showing and recording signal strength. I can’t really comment on other Zigbee systems as I haven’t used them, but as with most things wireless, proximity is not always a guarantee of signal strength.

  60. The range for me is about 15ft either through one wall or a floor. I will see if the plug improves things at a later date.

  61. Trevor Stubbins | February 9, 2020 at 1:41 pm |

    I’ve had Wiser installed for two years, so was a fairly early customer. I live in a fairly large house and have ten iTRVs and two room thermostats. There are still 4 rads with standard thermostats and two bathroom rads with no thermostats, just flow restricted by the valves.
    The system was very easy to install in the first place, as I simply had to replace the existing Drayton controller. It uses the sam backplate so no wiring changes.
    I never really had problems that many reported with range, but that may be due to the number of devices I have, which create a mesh network.
    A few weeks after installation, I was wondering why I had bothered. The radiator thermostats all seemed to vary greatly in the temperature that they reported. This meant having to set some room s two or three degrees higher, just to get a reasonable temperature. I see others here have had the same experience.
    However, having made the investment, I decided to stick with it.
    In larger rooms, with two iTRVs they form a bond to establish the temperature between then. However, if you have a room thermostat in the same room, this overrides the iTRVs. I found this very useful in controlling the temperature in these rooms, where I wasn’t happy with the iTRVs.
    Over the period I’ve had the system, there has been several firmware updates and as reported above, the system has got better and better, including the iTRV temperature sensing, well it appears have done.
    The app itself I quite like and it gets better with each update. I have a Kindle Fire which is what I use primarily for operating the system. I also have it on my Android phone for when I’m out.
    Now I really only have one major gripe about the system and that is the number of batteries that the iTRVs eat. Some more than others. I have to use Duracell ultras to get any decent life. I would say this ranges between 8 and 12 months, certainly not 2 years, except for the room stats, which seem to go on forever with any old batteries. I see above that someone says that newer versions of the iTRVs have had changes that improve battery life. However, unless Drayton are providing free upgrades, I won’t be replacing the 10 iTRVs I have at £40 a pop.
    In conclusion, I would say that the system gets better and better with the more firmware updates that come out. Its still not perfect and occasionally an odd bug creeps in (at present the room stats hang on occassion and you have to power them off/on, but this has only happened recently) hopefully fixed again in the next firmware update Mr Drayton. Biggest issues are the iTRV temperature accuracy and the battery consumption.
    I hope you find this useful.

  62. @Trevor

    Sounds familiar. I have started dating the batteries I install now to build a more accurate consumption picture. I’m currently using Varta Longlife Power, a Which Best Buy.

    I had the same temperature sensing issues, especially in my lounge which has 3 iTRVs and 2 are behind soft furnishings including behind a sofa and curtains. The problem was solved by introducing a room thermostat and what a difference it made. No complaints now!

    At £80 a thermostat it’s an expensive solution. I was in contact with Drayton and did suggest the introduction of a simple room sensor, i.e. just a sensor, no screen, so should be lower cost. This could be combined with a PIR for additional functionality as we see in other systems.

    Hopefully we see something launched soon.

    Mark B.

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