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Thread: Evohome, Heat Genius or home brew

  1. #1
    Automated Home Jr Member
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    Default Evohome, Heat Genius or home brew

    Hi all

    First post so please be gentle!

    I want to zone my heating system so I only heat the rooms we are using. Both my wife and I work from home but often end up heating the lounge and bedroom when we only want the office and dining room (second office) heated. Due to the zone requirement I have ruled out quite a few systems and ended up with a short list of Evohome, Heat Genius or some homebrew Z Wave system. I have ruled out the LightwaveRF heating control due to no interlock and some very dodgy time settings.

    My problem is I can decide which to go for. What I have so far...

    Evo Home
    Pros:
    • User friendly with touch screen
    • Easy to adjust room temps locally
    • Room temp is displayed on controllers
    • Well established company with track record. Evohome is the second version and established system

    Cons:
    • Need additional interface to allow control from anything other than the main controller
    • API is restricted to access via the internet, no local access if internet is down
    • Local adjustment not reflected in GUI
    • If controller fails valves have no scheduling built in


    Heat Genius
    Pros:
    • Built in net connection
    • Valves work with their own schedule if the controller fails
    • Z Wave - can it be accessed by another controller

    Cons:
    • No temp reporting unless you by the extra room sensors
    • No stand alone controller - Needs a tablet / PC to control
    • Relatively new company - track record?
    • If the valves cannot report temp back, how is the boiler demand controlled?


    I'm a bit concerned about valve noise. I have one of the Evohome valves as a standalone device and it is not as quiet as I would like it to be. Are the Danfoss valves any quieter?

    What is the battery life like on any of the components such as valves and (PIRs for HG).

    I would also like to set up Z-Wave lighting control so not sure if this will have any bearing on what system I can use?

    Any information / opinions would be gratefully received.

    Thanks

    Alastair

  2. #2
    Site Sponsor The EVOHOME Shop's Avatar
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    Default

    Am I being bias by saying evohome?

    Certainly not, just sensible with my choice and advising you of a system well proven and supported by Honeywell and ourselves.

    Lots of people looking to control their heating systems have gone down the evohome route with little regrets and nothing but positive feedback when looking at the 'whole' package you get, let alone future potential.

    If you want a further chat, give us a call.

    Thanks,

    Richard - The EVOHOME Shop

  3. #3
    Automated Home Sr Member
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    Thumbs up Why you should go for a Heat Genius system

    Quote Originally Posted by scfnet View Post
    Hi all

    First post so please be gentle!

    I want to zone my heating system so I only heat the rooms we are using. Both my wife and I work from home but often end up heating the lounge and bedroom when we only want the office and dining room (second office) heated. Due to the zone requirement I have ruled out quite a few systems and ended up with a short list of Evohome, Heat Genius or some homebrew Z Wave system. I have ruled out the LightwaveRF heating control due to no interlock and some very dodgy time settings.

    My problem is I can decide which to go for. What I have so far...

    Evo Home
    Pros:
    • User friendly with touch screen
    • Easy to adjust room temps locally
    • Room temp is displayed on controllers
    • Well established company with track record. Evohome is the second version and established system

    Cons:
    • Need additional interface to allow control from anything other than the main controller
    • API is restricted to access via the internet, no local access if internet is down
    • Local adjustment not reflected in GUI
    • If controller fails valves have no scheduling built in


    Heat Genius
    Pros:
    • Built in net connection
    • Valves work with their own schedule if the controller fails
    • Z Wave - can it be accessed by another controller

    Cons:
    • No temp reporting unless you by the extra room sensors
    • No stand alone controller - Needs a tablet / PC to control
    • Relatively new company - track record?
    • If the valves cannot report temp back, how is the boiler demand controlled?


    I'm a bit concerned about valve noise. I have one of the Evohome valves as a standalone device and it is not as quiet as I would like it to be. Are the Danfoss valves any quieter?

    What is the battery life like on any of the components such as valves and (PIRs for HG).

    I would also like to set up Z-Wave lighting control so not sure if this will have any bearing on what system I can use?

    Any information / opinions would be gratefully received.

    Thanks

    Alastair
    Hi Alastair

    I would like to try to answer the questions you have in regards to the Heat Genius System. To be honest there is not much to say about Heat Genius apart from how solid and reliable their system is. Once installed the system just keeps going silently and efficiently in the background. There is no valve noise from the Heat Genius Smart TRV controllers - Yes you can hear slight noise or a purr when it does its valve exercise but it is hardly noticeable. It is like a fine delicate noise in a camera when you zoom in or out with a digital camera.

    You can access the heating through your Mobile phones or a tablet (Android or iPhone), TV, PC or Apple. You also have a fall-back manual operational controls if the Internet goes down or the Heat Genius Hub breaks down. Its easy to operate - you unplug the Heat Genius Hub from the Internet and you can then use the manual digital thermostat that is shipped with your kit and always kept in standby mode. You can also overwrite the Smart TRV sensors when in manual mode by raising or lowering the temperature on each and individual Smart TRV.

    With regards to the reporting of the room temperature - to benefit fully you need the wall room sensors as they are an integrated part of the system. The advantage of using them is that you can pull the curtains over the Smart TRV and place heavy furniture up against the TRVs. The room sensors/ motion sensors are not mandatory but if you want to get the most favourable 'Return on your investment' then they are something that I would definitely not leave out! My recommendation is the same for the Evohome - you will need a wall sensor to get any substantial energy savings from either system.

    The Smart TRV can report on the pre-set temperature - there is a LCD display at the end of the Smart TRV head. To read the pre-set heat setting - you press the middle or bottom button that is located on the Smart TRV.

    Heat Genius are just over one year old but they have been designing and testing their system for three years and their careful attention to detail has been rewarding both to them and us their customers. If you compare the track record of the Heat Genius and say Honeywell Evohome over the last year - you start seeing a clear picture when you look at all the requests for help for lost connections and problem with binding and unbinding. Take time reading what Evohome customers are going through and then make up your mind.

    With regards to the fact that Heat Genius is a relatively new company and your question about their track record. Heat Genius come on the market before Evohome - Evohome had to delay their launch for many months because their system did not meet the UK Heating Regulations but rest assure Evohome definitely meets all UK standards.

    The Heat Genius Smart TRV is ultimately controlled by the Heat Genius Hub but the Hub receives the room temperature readings from wall thermostats. The Smart TRVs receive their temperature settings from the Heat Genius Hub - the temperature for each room or Zone is measured every few seconds and is then calculated by the Heat Genius Hub's system algorithm. This allows the system to take into account the outside weather readings in your area.

    I have been monitoring the battery life in my Heat Genius components and I reckon that the batteries in the Smart TRVs will last between 18 months and two years (Alkaline batteries). The wall thermostats/ motion sensors use different kind of batteries (CR123 Duracell 3V Ultra Photo Battery) and these batteries will definitely last two years or in some cases two and a half year. The batteries in the manual overwrite thermostat will definitely last for two and a half year but the batteries are AAA Alkaline.

    There are few Pros for Heat Genius that I would like to mention here but they are:

    • Statistics Chart - Heat Genius has a built in facility as standard to see Statistics Chart for each room or Zone.
    • Weather Compensation — when the weather is sunny, the temperature can be reduced and you’ll still feel comfortable. Using the weather forecast and checking for sunny weather, the Heat Genius Hub can automatically reduce the target temperature in the rooms of your house, saving energy. You can choose to enable or disable this feature for each individual room.
    • Footprint Mode (aka smart occupancy detection) — in Footprint Mode the system will note your footsteps and help you reduce your carbon footprint. As it learns which rooms you use and when they are used, it will continuously optimise your heating schedule based on your lifestyle.

    Each room that is in footprint mode will heat up ready for when you use the room, based on the pattern of use it has learned. At all other times, the system will switch off the radiator, saving you energy. The system also learns how long each room takes to warm up, so that it’s ready and warm when you come in.

    Footprint Mode requires a Heat Genius radiator Smart TRV controller on each radiator and a Heat Genius wall thermostat/ motion sensor in each room that you wish to control automatically. Please Note: You don’t need to fit these to every room, you can just install wireless Heat Genius radiator valve controllers and sensors in the rooms you use the most and schedule the other rooms manually.
    Last edited by Hot; 31st December 2014 at 07:52 PM. Reason: Fix typo
    I am totally independent writer and my writing is not skewed in any way by receiving payment for my writing. I reduce my gas bills by using Heat Genius Smart Intelligent Heating Controls with more efficient Column radiators.

  4. #4

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    It's quite misleading to compare Evo and Heat Genius in the way you do, and suggest that it has had limited development or could not meet building regs when first introduced. It is based on Hometronic which was launched by Honeywell over a decade ago (even now the HR92 radiator controller is based on a design that has had several major revisions/updates since it was first introduced).

    Honeywell also design and manufacture their ranges in house, from a variety of factories around the world (some parts of the Evo system are also used in products they design/sell in the US, while there are versions of Evo across the EU). Heat Genius would appear to use Z-Wave products from Danfoss, Hortsmann and others, which they link together via their hiphb to create their system. I'm not sure what changes (if any) Heat Genius make to the firmware of the Z-Wave equipment they use, but this makes them reliant on the hardware from a variety of vendors. There is not anything wrong with this (that is what the open communication standards on which these products are based are designed for), but it does suggest that the base code used in these products is still the responsibility of those particular manufacturers rather than Heat Genius, so any additional features added by HG are operating at a higher level via their hub and managing setpoints and sensor values used by the products etc. Somit is a very different approach to system building that has been taken by these companies, one has built their entire range from the ground up, the other adds higher level functionality to products from a variety of other manufacturers.

    When you compare a system based on wet radaitors fed from a boiler system then there are a similarities in approach (such as battery powered actuators for the radiators, wireless receiver for the boiler/heating circuit), but as soon as you move to wider applications, wet or electric UFH, rooms controlled by zone valves, electric radiators, electric or hot water fan heaters etc then that is where Evo draws ahead due to the variety of other modules in the ranger that allow these to be easily added to and controlled by a single system.

    I'm not trying to start arguments over the merits of one system compared to another (and feel free to pick me up on any aspects of the HG system as I've not used it directly but only seen the kit they supply and their product information), but I'm trying to make sure that the details being provided for all systems are accurate so that anyone searching for info only finds correct information on which they can form their own opinions.
    Sensible Heat
    SensibleHeat.co.uk

  5. #5
    Automated Home Jr Member
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    Default

    Apologies for not replying sooner, work and family just gets in the way of toys sometimes.

    Thanks for the comments, I think I need to do more reading.

    However I am leaning towards the Evohome mainly due to the interface not relying on mobiles / tablets etc. If there was way to do this with HeatGenius I could be swayed. Footprint mode is not really of interest at the moment, we have fairly boring routine so the odd change can be handled by the manual overrides.

    Is there likely to be any interference with either system if I have other Z-Wave devices for lighting etc? I understand that Z-wave devices can only connect to a single controller so if I wanted any other occupancy detection I would not be able to use the HG sensors or could I use the API to get info out of the HG interfaces? This of course wouldn't be the case wit Evohome, would have to have a separate set of sensors here anyway as there is no occupancy detection.

    Thanks again

    Alastair

  6. #6
    Automated Home Lurker
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    I know this is a very old thread - but thought I would add my thoughts in case useful too someone one day...

    I work from home. So during the daytime i want to heat a couple of rooms but not the whole house. I suspect this is a pretty common scenario.
    I had heard of NEST, HIVE etc. But was disappointed to discover that all they really seemed to offer was the ability to switch heating on/off remotely. This is of virtually zero benefit to me (the house being used every day all year round. Even when I am on holiday, there are other people in the house).

    I quickly narrowed the choice to Evohome or Heat Genius.
    Both had pros & cons - but broadly speaking do the same job.
    It looked like HG would work out slightly cheaper - until I discovered the INTERLOCK problem...

    Interlock (in Central Heating) is the idea that the pump must not be on when all the rad valves are closed. The water has nowhere to go and can damage the pump.
    In very old systems with manual rad valves (pre TRV) it was easy to ensure at least one radiator was left on. (In fact there was never any reason why you would switch off all your rads but not the boiler timer/main thermostat).
    When TRVs came along, best practice was to always set up one rad to act as a "bypass" if all the TRVs closed.
    Honeywell Evohome is specifically designed to switch OFF the boiler when none of the rads are asking for heat (which means the valves will be closed).
    Heat Genius did NOT have this Interlock feature.

    This was October 2016. Their promo materials are very slick - but always dodge that question. So I rang up and asked. They said it was something that was "coming soon" but there was no concrete date. A bit of searching in the web revealed that they had been making this promise for a couple of years. The problem is they use Danfoss TRV's which do NOT have the required functionality (or did not at the time). Danfoss is a Danish company. It is much more normal in Denmark for multiple flats in a building to have a shared heating system. (In fact in Copenhagen, hot water is provided centrally for the whole city!) Therefore the valves are designed to control the flow of water - but NOT to request heat in the way Honeywell have designed EH valves.

    The workaround from HG is to recommend you buy a separate thermostat for each room. This allows the system to operate in the way you would expect (guaranteeing the interlock). But adds significantly to the cost. For me this was a deal-breaker - so I opted for EH, and have been very happy with it. (Apart from the usual moans about binding etc etc!)

    As far as I know in the last 2 years Danfoss have NOT changed their valves as promised by HG to be "in the pipeline".

    It may well be that HG is better in other respects than EH. It certainly seems more flexible if that is important to you. But it is worth being aware of this Interlock question before choosing.

  7. #7
    Automated Home Ninja
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    Evohome does NOT solve this problem. It closes the valves before it switches the boiler off - so the boiler can be running for a short while with the valves closed. Furthermore, the boiler will inevitably have a pump overrun and this will also be happening with the valves closed. An Evohome system requires a bypass. Many people achieve this by simply leaving bathroom towel rails uncontrolled.

  8. #8
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    Thanks for pointing this out. Yes overrunning does need to be taken into consideration. I should have been clearer.

    The point I was trying to make (leaving aside technical details) was that Evohome will demand heat from the boiler only when one or more rooms actually needs it. According to the schedule AND the current temperature in each room. If you invented central heating from scratch this is the logical way to design it. But CH design has evolved gradually, so most systems do not in fact work like this.

    Heat Genius did not do this - unless you paid for the separate room thermostats to give "two way control" (which is the phrase HG use to describe this feature).
    As far as I can tell, this has not changed in the last 2 years.

  9. #9
    Automated Home Jr Member
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    As dty said, there is no difference between evohome and Heat Genius on this.

    The Interlock issue shouldn't matter if you've followed advice and have a properly installed parallel CH system, by keeping either a towel rail or one radiator unmanaged or have an Automatic Bypass Valve in your system so water will flow even if all valves are closed (albeit a trickle). If you have a newish boiler, it will have an ABV in it anyway.

    HG's USP is the footprint feature whereby the temp and presence is picked up by a separate sensor. The normal Danfoss TRVs don't measure room temp, however, HG do sell a commercial version that does but it's about 10 more. Given the room sensor is only 15 or so and can measure temp in a better place than the radiator valve it's better to use them.

    The same goes for EH, the HR92's are not placed in the optimal position to measure temperature, and you need a DTS92 to do that job, particularly if you have more than one radiator in a room.

    Beyond that the comparison between bthe two systems is one bullet point either way:
    - HG can do many more zones with up to 256 devices vs EH's 12 zones.
    - EH can do OpenTherm although HG is trialling that.

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