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Thread: What heating control system to get?

  1. #1
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    Default What heating control system to get?

    Hi all,

    We've just moved into a house and I want to do improve the heating control system. There are 4 bedrooms, lounge/dining room and kitchen/breakfast room. Each room has 1 or more radiators and none have TRV. Most of the bedrooms radiators are turned off as they aren't used.

    There is a single thermostat (analogue dial) in the downstairs hall, and a hot water/heating controller near the boiler. This controller has 2 on/off times and the heating can be set to turn on and off for each, or start at the first on and remain until the 2nd off. The hot water is exactly the same (the same on/off times apply to both water and heating).

    I would like to be able to set the temperatures for each room independantly and have identified a couple of systems which can offer this. I would also like to be able to monitor and graph the temperatures of each room from my Linux PC (which is on 24/7).

    The best looking system I have found to offer this is Heatmiser (http://www.heatmisershop.co.uk) however this would require running cables from the central wiring box to every single radiator for their in-line wax valve - not a practical option.

    The next best system is the FHT 80B-II and 8W components from conrad-uk (and a CC1101 USB module from http://shop.busware.de/product_info.php?products_id=29). I think this is the same as the househeat system?

    Does anyone have any suggestions of recommendations?

  2. #2
    Automated Home Sr Member martynwendon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phoenix View Post
    Does anyone have any suggestions of recommendations?
    I've heard great things about HeatMiser, but as you say, it does require substantial wiring to be carried out.

    I personally use the HouseHeat / Conrad / ELV kit as it's wireless. I've been using it for a few years now and it's proving reliable and flexible.

    Basic functionality can be achieved with the room thermostat / radiator actuator combinations, but adding the PC controller makes a huge difference since you can then get information into other HA systems as well as controlling the room thermostats.

    Take a read through the HouseHeat thread further down the forum.


    Martyn

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    Quote Originally Posted by martynwendon View Post
    I personally use the HouseHeat / Conrad / ELV kit as it's wireless. I've been using it for a few years now and it's proving reliable and flexible.
    Thanks for the reply. Everything I've read has been positive about the HouseHeat system and I'm probably going to start with a basic kit and see how it goes (once I've got TRVs installed on all radiators).

    I've read through the instructions for part of the kit and it talk about having an eco temperature and a comfort temperature. Once those have been set to whatever temperature I want, will the daily program cycle only change between the two or is it possible to set any temperature for any time (aside from the manual override)?

    Regardless of the above, is it possible for a a particular thermostat to have an off state programmed during the regular operation e.g. if I want our lounge to be eco tempearture between 4pm and 7pm, then I want it to be comfortable from 7pm until midnight, then I want it to be turned off completely until 4pm the following day?

  4. #4
    Automated Home Sr Member martynwendon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phoenix View Post
    Thanks for the reply. Everything I've read has been positive about the HouseHeat system and I'm probably going to start with a basic kit and see how it goes (once I've got TRVs installed on all radiators).

    I've read through the instructions for part of the kit and it talk about having an eco temperature and a comfort temperature. Once those have been set to whatever temperature I want, will the daily program cycle only change between the two or is it possible to set any temperature for any time (aside from the manual override)?

    Regardless of the above, is it possible for a a particular thermostat to have an off state programmed during the regular operation e.g. if I want our lounge to be eco tempearture between 4pm and 7pm, then I want it to be comfortable from 7pm until midnight, then I want it to be turned off completely until 4pm the following day?
    You can set three temperatures in each room thermostat - "day", "night" and "windowopen".

    You can then set two time ranges of "from" and "to".

    During each "from" and "to" pair, the "day" temperature will be set, outside each "from" and "to" pair, the "night" temperature will be set.

    Should you also be using the window open / close sensors, then if the window is detected as being open (at any time) the "windowopen" temperature will be set.

    That's the basic level of control that you can achieve and is how I've got my system set up.

    However, once you add in a PC controller, you can control the room thermostats at will. Should the PC control fail, then the system falls back to the basic control mentioned above.

    Martyn

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    Quote Originally Posted by martynwendon View Post
    You can set three temperatures in each room thermostat - "day", "night" and "windowopen".

    You can then set two time ranges of "from" and "to".

    During each "from" and "to" pair, the "day" temperature will be set, outside each "from" and "to" pair, the "night" temperature will be set.

    Should you also be using the window open / close sensors, then if the window is detected as being open (at any time) the "windowopen" temperature will be set.
    OK, that seems slightly limited but could work. If eco is set really low (10 degrees) and comfort is the ideal temperature I can cycle on and off in the morning and evening. (I don't intend at this stage to consider a window sensor)

    Quote Originally Posted by martynwendon View Post
    However, once you add in a PC controller, you can control the room thermostats at will. Should the PC control fail, then the system falls back to the basic control mentioned above.
    Martyn
    What PC control stuff do you have? There is the FHZ1300, however the CC1101 I mentioned in my first post appears to offer the same funcionality at a cheaper price if used with fhem or similar.

    Do you know if the PC control stuff can also be used with the FHZ 1000 Radio Home Centre? I read that each FHT80b can only be paired with a single controller so these would have to be added to the FHZ 1000. I can't see anything about using the FHZ1000 with the PC controller.

    When I talk about FHZ1000 I am refering to part number 617499 at http://www.conrad-uk.com and not the PC interface (which appears to have been replaced with the FHZ1300)

  6. #6
    Automated Home Sr Member martynwendon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phoenix View Post
    OK, that seems slightly limited but could work. If eco is set really low (10 degrees) and comfort is the ideal temperature I can cycle on and off in the morning and evening. (I don't intend at this stage to consider a window sensor)
    I do similar, so I have two time ranges - 6am until 8.30am and 5pm until 10pm. Then I have the "day" temperature set at 21 deg and "night" temperature set at 17 deg. So between the time ranges above the room is around 21 deg and outside those times it falls back (the heating is actually "off", since in reality our house is pretty well insulated and the temperature doesn't fall much below around 19 deg).

    Quote Originally Posted by phoenix View Post
    What PC control stuff do you have? There is the FHZ1300, however the CC1101 I mentioned in my first post appears to offer the same funcionality at a cheaper price if used with fhem or similar.
    I use the FHZ1300 along with FHEM. I don't have any experience of the CC1101 device, but I believe that it's supported by FHEM (not sure on the range though - my FHZ1300 is in the garage to the side of the house and so signals have to travel through external walls and it hasn't failed yet).

    Quote Originally Posted by phoenix View Post
    Do you know if the PC control stuff can also be used with the FHZ 1000 Radio Home Centre? I read that each FHT80b can only be paired with a single controller so these would have to be added to the FHZ 1000. I can't see anything about using the FHZ1000 with the PC controller.

    When I talk about FHZ1000 I am refering to part number 617499 at http://www.conrad-uk.com and not the PC interface (which appears to have been replaced with the FHZ1300)
    No, don't make the same mistake that I did! Each thermostat can only pair with one controller, so that means ETHER the FHZ1000 or FHZ1300.

    I'm still using my FHZ1000 though, since it can also be paired with the FHZ1300. I use it as a "whole house" programmer, so that changes to the temperature / time settings / etc on it are picked up by FHEM and forwarded on to my HA software via the FHEM to xAP gateway. The HA software then decides what to do with these "whole house" commands - e.g. it may raise the temperature in all rooms, or change the time programming on all the other thermostats.

    Martyn

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    Quote Originally Posted by martynwendon View Post
    No, don't make the same mistake that I did! Each thermostat can only pair with one controller, so that means ETHER the FHZ1000 or FHZ1300.

    I'm still using my FHZ1000 though, since it can also be paired with the FHZ1300. I use it as a "whole house" programmer, so that changes to the temperature / time settings / etc on it are picked up by FHEM and forwarded on to my HA software via the FHEM to xAP gateway. The HA software then decides what to do with these "whole house" commands - e.g. it may raise the temperature in all rooms, or change the time programming on all the other thermostats.

    Martyn
    I like the idea of having the FHZ1000 on a wall for easy access to the system regardless of what state the Linux PC might be in, and would want to have the individual room thermostats linked to that (also makes it easier for less-technical people in the house to adjust the settings).

    If the FHZ1000 can be paired with the PC that sounds ideal. I presume the PC can instruct a single room via the FHZ1000 as well as program the entire house?

    I've not really looked into other HA stuff. I had a quick look and got the idea of X10 but got confused with the others like xAP and CBUS :S

  8. #8
    Automated Home Sr Member martynwendon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phoenix View Post
    If the FHZ1000 can be paired with the PC that sounds ideal. I presume the PC can instruct a single room via the FHZ1000 as well as program the entire house?
    No, unfortunately only the "room thermostat" side of the FHZ1000 is controllable, i.e. it can only be controlled remotely for the room that it is in itself.

    You have to choose either FHZ1000 or FHZ1300 to be in overall control of the other FHT room thermostats.

    Don't forget though that "less technical people" (or "the wife") can still make adjustments to the individual room thermostats if they want.

    Now that my system is setup / tweaked over a period of time, we hardly touch any of the room thermostats themselves.

    Even events like being "unexpectedly home early" can be catered for e.g. when the house alarm is switched from armed to disarmed and there's movement in the house for X minutes, ramp the heating up to the day temperature.....

    I also do some simple weather compensation e.g. when it's colder outside adjust the temperature higher inside.


    Martyn

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by martynwendon View Post
    No, unfortunately only the "room thermostat" side of the FHZ1000 is controllable, i.e. it can only be controlled remotely for the room that it is in itself.

    You have to choose either FHZ1000 or FHZ1300 to be in overall control of the other FHT room thermostats.

    Don't forget though that "less technical people" (or "the wife") can still make adjustments to the individual room thermostats if they want.

    Now that my system is setup / tweaked over a period of time, we hardly touch any of the room thermostats themselves.

    Even events like being "unexpectedly home early" can be catered for e.g. when the house alarm is switched from armed to disarmed and there's movement in the house for X minutes, ramp the heating up to the day temperature.....

    I also do some simple weather compensation e.g. when it's colder outside adjust the temperature higher inside.


    Martyn
    That's slightly annoying, but it's still better than the other alternatives. Even being able to set the individual temperature in each room is a big plus over what we currently have.

    I've not looked that much into fhem above it is able to talk to these systems. I presume it gives a GUI so I can say "Start heating the lounge now", does it have the logic to be able to increase temperature if outside is cold or does this need some extra software which instructs fhem to send the message to the system?

  10. #10
    Automated Home Sr Member martynwendon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phoenix View Post
    That's slightly annoying, but it's still better than the other alternatives. Even being able to set the individual temperature in each room is a big plus over what we currently have.

    I've not looked that much into fhem above it is able to talk to these systems. I presume it gives a GUI so I can say "Start heating the lounge now", does it have the logic to be able to increase temperature if outside is cold or does this need some extra software which instructs fhem to send the message to the system?
    FHEM provides a simple web interface for control of the room thermostats. I believe that it also has some home automation smarts, but I've never really investigated that side of it.

    I prefer to use FHEM together with the xAP FHEM gateway, once FHEM is on a xAP network you can interface with any of the popular HA software such as xAP Floorplan, Housebot, Homeseer, etc.

    I personally use xAP Floorplan (http://www.mi4.biz) which is an incredibly flexible piece of HA software.

    Since the xAP FHEM gateway is written around the xAP BSC schema, it can also be used with an embedded xAP BSC controller such as the opn-max (http://sites.google.com/a/usapiens.c...oducts/opn-max). opn-max runs on the Linksys NSLU2 (SLUG) and I recently managed to get both FHEM and the xAP FHEM gateway running on one of these, so potentially you could have all three functions running on a single device consuming less than 10watts power.....


    Hope this helps,

    Martyn

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