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Thread: Starting from scratch

  1. #1
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    Question Starting from scratch

    Hi Folks,

    Just bought a bungalow. It currently has a back boiler in the lounge, behind a traditional old ugly gas fire. Just my wife and I, working different shift patterns. There are:

    2 Radiators in the Lounge/Diner
    1 Radiator in the Kitchen
    1 Radiator in each Bedroom
    1 Towel Rail in the Bathroom

    None of these has a TRV fitted currently

    Our intention is to replace the boiler with something more modern, quiet and efficient, removing the tanks in the Airing Cupboard(hot) and Loft (cold). I have no plans to replace the radiators (they look good enough) - but, given they system is of unknown age (old - 'cos it has a back boiler) - will I need to make alterations to the actual pipework "layout" to accommodate TRVs? My (admittedly limited) understanding of heating systems - is they work like a ring - water goes in one end of the rad & out the other - on to the next one, etc - so presumably if the first valve gets closed, nothing else will heat up?

    I would also like to have better control, and remote (smartphone and or internet) access to the heating system.

    I am tempted to go with the LightWaveRF system for lighting and sockets - I know the heating controls are very new but these are it seems (like most smart TRVs that I've seen) replacement tops for existing TRVs

    I am likely to go with a Domoticz software and an RFXtrx433 transceiver for control

    I would be most grateful if you have any views, on the type of heating system we should install - feel free to be specific about boiler make & type - and the best way to achieve what we are looking for in heating control.


    Thanks,

    Regards


    Ian

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by BatterBits View Post
    will I need to make alterations to the actual pipework "layout" to accommodate TRVs? My (admittedly limited) understanding of heating systems - is they work like a ring - water goes in one end of the rad & out the other - on to the next one, etc - so presumably if the first valve gets closed, nothing else will heat up?
    Usually you would have a main flow and return pipe going out from the boiler. Radiators would then be teed off those pipes, so each radiator has it's own connection to the flow and return. Most TRVs are a drop in replacement for the existing connection valve, although some pipework alteration may be required to fit them in some circumstances.

    Quote Originally Posted by BatterBits View Post
    I would also like to have better control, and remote (smartphone and or internet) access to the heating system.

    I am tempted to go with the LightWaveRF system for lighting and sockets - I know the heating controls are very new but these are it seems (like most smart TRVs that I've seen) replacement tops for existing TRVs
    The new range of LightwaveRF heating controls are due to be released in March and they do look OK on paper. Historically LightwaveRF equipment has been "one-way" communication and the new controls will be their first attempt at "two-way" communication, so it will be interesting to see how they stack up against alternative systems like Z-Wave, HeatGenius, EvoHome, ELV/FS20 etc.

    Unfortunately there's also been a significant price rise on LightwaveRF equipment at the beginning of the year, previously one of their strengths was their value - but now they're pitched at a similar price point to technologies that IMHO have better features and that are technically more advanced.

    Quote Originally Posted by BatterBits View Post
    I am likely to go with a Domoticz software and an RFXtrx433 transceiver for control
    Ian
    I've not used Domoticz myself, but have heard good things about it. I've used RFXCom equipment for many years now and it's been one of my most successful purchases to date. I started with separate USB receivers and moved up to the LAN enclosure with 868MHz receiver and 433 receiver / transmitter modules. I've got two of those beasts and they're great :-) I've not tried the newer RFXtrx433 yet, but plan to add one to my set-up soon!

    For what it's worth, I've been slowly migrating 14 odd years worth of various HA equipment over to Z-Wave during the past 3 years as funds permit. Z-Wave has been awesome for me so far - coming from X10 / HomeEasy / Byron equipment with their one-way fire-and-hope transmissions to a system that guarantees that when I shut the garage door everything has been turned off, has been a much welcomed change!


    Hope that helps!
    Martyn Wendon
    Vesternet
    Check out my Blog!

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by martyn.wendon View Post
    Usually you would have a main flow and return pipe going out from the boiler.
    So is this what I should have now - even on an old system without TRVs fitted?

    Quote Originally Posted by martyn.wendon View Post
    technologies that IMHO have better features and that are technically more advanced.
    So, what would you suggest? - I'm looking for opinions here, not to blame somebody if I make a bad choice. I'd really appreciate your input - as you clearly have way more practical knowledge than I do.

    Quote Originally Posted by martyn.wendon View Post
    LAN enclosure with 868MHz receiver and 433 receiver / transmitter modules. I've got two of those beasts and they're great :-) I've not tried the newer RFXtrx433 yet, but plan to add one to my set-up soon!
    Hmm. Perhaps I'm misunderstanding the whole concept here - why would you need 2 devices (other than for resilience)?

    Quote Originally Posted by martyn.wendon View Post
    Z-Wave has been awesome for me so far -
    Clearly seems to be a far better system than LWRF - but I like the styling on the LW stuff - specifically the 2 gang sockets and light switches. The more I read and the more I think about it, I'm likely to diversify and use a mish mash of different products.

    is there a generally perceived brand or supplier of Zwave kit which is better/cheaper than the rest?

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    Quote Originally Posted by BatterBits View Post
    So is this what I should have now - even on an old system without TRVs fitted?
    Yes, I should think so.

    Quote Originally Posted by BatterBits View Post

    So, what would you suggest? - I'm looking for opinions here, not to blame somebody if I make a bad choice. I'd really appreciate your input - as you clearly have way more practical knowledge than I do.
    I'm currently using ELV/FS20 for heating, but will be upgrading to Z-Wave later this year.

    Quote Originally Posted by BatterBits View Post
    Hmm. Perhaps I'm misunderstanding the whole concept here - why would you need 2 devices (other than for resilience)?
    Resilience and coverage too. One set are in the loft and one set are in the garage to the side of the house. Prior to getting both sets I was occasionally missing some signals - I did experiment with upgrading antennas but didn't get very far with that approach.

    Quote Originally Posted by BatterBits View Post
    Clearly seems to be a far better system than LWRF - but I like the styling on the LW stuff - specifically the 2 gang sockets and light switches. The more I read and the more I think about it, I'm likely to diversify and use a mish mash of different products.

    is there a generally perceived brand or supplier of Zwave kit which is better/cheaper than the rest?
    Personally I like the combination of the MiCasaVerde Vera (Z-Wave controller) and Fibaro (devices). The Vera has a good developer community that add loads of extra functionality through plug-ins. I use a Visonic plugin to integrate with a Visonic Powermax+ alarm system, SqueexeBox plugin to integrate Logitech SqueezeBoxes and the RFXCom plugin (with an RFXtrx433) to integrate LightwaveRF. It's a pretty good combination overall and has been working well for me for several years now.


    Hope that helps!
    Martyn Wendon
    Vesternet
    Check out my Blog!

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    Thanks Martyn.

    Powemax+ - I looked at this, and found the website implied this was a dealer only system, too complicated for mere mortals to install - I'm guessing you will have done your own - so any thoughts? I've installed bit wired and wireless systems before without issues.

    Regards,


    Ian

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    Quote Originally Posted by BatterBits View Post
    Thanks Martyn.

    Powemax+ - I looked at this, and found the website implied this was a dealer only system, too complicated for mere mortals to install - I'm guessing you will have done your own - so any thoughts? I've installed bit wired and wireless systems before without issues.

    Regards,


    Ian
    It's pretty simple to be honest. I started out with the BT branded version (VP1000) and moved across to the Powermax+ 2 or 3 years ago. The panel is infinitely configurable - I bought the optional rs232 module and software to aid config. The rs232 module is then used to interface it with the Vera. It was a win-win for me as I already had about 30 odd zones (pirs, door / window sensors, smoke detectors) on the panel, so all those became available in Vera for HA purposes.
    Martyn Wendon
    Vesternet
    Check out my Blog!

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