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Thread: Home automation newbie - go gently...

  1. #1
    Automated Home Guru
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    Default Home automation newbie - go gently...

    Afternoon all.

    We just moved into a new build 4-bed house and I'm looking at ways of automating the gas fired heating and hot water systems.

    At the minute we have a two-zone central heating system. One zone is the living room, which has it's own wireless (I think) Danfoss TP5000 programmable room thermostat:

    image.jpg

    The 2nd zone is the heating in the rest of the house, and is controlled by a Danfoss TP9000i programmable thermostat (which also does the hot water):

    image.jpg

    This main programmer is located in the airing cupboard upstairs, but there is a remote thermostat located in the hallway downstairs.

    So, what would people recommend to automate this system? I've looked at loop, hive etc, but none seem to fit the bill. I'd like to be able to control individual room temperatures, but none of the systems I've seen seem to cater for dual zone systems.

    Any advice appreciated,

    Thanks

  2. #2

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    You either need to use individual smart stats to control zone valves, or a multi-zone smart system such as Honeywell Evo.

    If you go for something like Evo and full room-by-room zoning then you can re-wire the existing two heating valves to operate in parallel whenever any zone needs heat as the zoning is now done at room level instead. As far as I'm aware there are no systems that allow you to zone at room level and also allow you to split rooms across multiple zone valves further upstream. There are ways to "hack" this using extra equipment, but it becomes more costly, more complicated to use (as you have to ensure the zoning commands stay in sync), and is not supported by the controls manufacturers so they will not offer any help/advice directly. So for this reason don't be too hung up on how the existing zone valves get used so long as you are zoning at room level.

    You might also decide that it is not worth fitting controls to some areas (such as landings/hallways, cloakrooms/WCs etc) as the existing radiator TRV may work well enough - it would have the potential to heat when any other "active" zone on the system operates so does not necessarily need "clever" control. However the major benefit of the modular/wireless systems is that you have the chance to try approaches like this first and in time if you feel you would benefit by having full control you can easily add the extra zones at any stage.
    Sensible Heat
    SensibleHeat.co.uk

  3. #3
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    Thanks for replying.

    So if I decided to go with the Evohome system, what kit would I need to start with?

    I mean, currently the gas boiler is downstairs in the kitchen, but the cylinder, pump and three zone valves are in the airing cupboard upstairs. Would I need a seperate relay box for each of the zone valves and then another for the boiler? What about the pump?
    Last edited by garmcqui; 3rd January 2015 at 07:04 PM.

  4. #4

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    The smallest system would be a Evo Base Pack, but if you want to start controlling radiators straight away you'll also need some HR92s. Add a hot water kit for hot water control, and a communications lack for smartphone/tablet App control.
    Sensible Heat
    SensibleHeat.co.uk

  5. #5
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    So the base pack comes with one wireless relay box - will this control the boiler, the central heating pump and the zone valve?

  6. #6

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    Yes, there is a relay in the base pack. It controls the heating zone valve, which has an integral switch that in turn operates the boiler and pump when it opens.
    Sensible Heat
    SensibleHeat.co.uk

  7. #7
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    Ah, I didn't know the zone valve controlled the boiler? So if I go upstairs now and push the lever on the zone valve across to the manually open position, it will cause the boiler and pump to come on? I always assumed the programmer was what called for heat.

    Also, before I order a few HR92 trv's, does anyone know if they will fit onto my existing Pegler Terrier TRV's, or will I need to order adapters too?

    Thanks?
    Last edited by garmcqui; 3rd January 2015 at 11:06 PM.

  8. #8

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    If the Pegler TRVs are EN215 with the M30x1.5mm thread/stroke then the Honeywell controllers will be a straight fit.

    The lever on the zone valve often does operate the end-switch when moved to the open position, although it not always guaranteed for every make/model.
    Sensible Heat
    SensibleHeat.co.uk

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by garmcqui View Post
    Thanks for replying.

    So if I decided to go with the Evohome system, what kit would I need to start with?

    I mean, currently the gas boiler is downstairs in the kitchen, but the cylinder, pump and three zone valves are in the airing cupboard upstairs. Would I need a seperate relay box for each of the zone valves and then another for the boiler? What about the pump?
    Plus one for Evohome. I have a 2 motorised valves in my airing cupboard: one for HW and the other for CH. All the relays are located in the airing cupboard (noting Honeywell's advice on separation to avoid wireless interference). The HW kit controls my stored water in the range 55 to 6OC: it is set to come on early morning and early evening. The rest of my home is divided into 12 zones: 11 zones are temp controlled by the TRVs (reporting back to the controller) and zone 12 is via the controller's built in thermostat. The system is working brilliantly. It is intelligent and calculates when to turn on/off zone heating to achieve a particular temp at a time. My advice to anyone looking at automation would be ignore Hive and Nest and just buy the Evohome controller, HW kit and gateway. This will do everything that Hive does but with the potential for expansion.

    Just one note of caution. Installers will quote 40% savings; however, this is based on a property with no controls or TRVs. There are savings to be made; however, the real advantage is the flexibility that home automation offers. At the moment, I am heating a kitchen/family room, hall/landing, study and bedroom with en-suite bathroom. The rest of my 5 bed home is on a notional 8C setting which can be changed with a simple swipe on my iPhone.

    Finally, my advice would be to wall mount the controller if you can. My installer used the power supply to my old hall thermostat. The controller looks neat on the wall; it is out of harm's way and out of reach of little fingers.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by HenGus View Post
    Just one note of caution. Installers will quote 40% savings; however, this is based on a property with no controls or TRVs.
    This is not necessarily true.

    If you think of the way a normal Part L Building Regulations programmer, room Thermostat and manual TRV controlled system works there is certainly scope to save 30-40%. How many people fit and forget manual TRV's? The amount of properties I have been to over the years and all TRV's have been on setting 5! Also what do the numbers on the TRV's actually mean, how many people read the user guides? All energy wasting potential not helped by the fact that most room thermostats are located in the 'coldest room' and turned up to 22-25 degrees to allow all the TRV controlled rooms to get up to temperature (or over-temperature as the majority of cases are). All very wasteful practices!

    Honeywell evohome allows easy and accurate control of each and every room when you 'smart zone'. Firstly HR92 Radiator Controllers are much more accurate than manual TRV's (0.5 degree accuracy VS 1-2 degree accuracy with a wax/liquid expansion TRV). The way wax/liquid expansion TRV's operate also gives way to the room temperature peak's and troughs (much like a 'wave' of heat). Secondly comfort is increased at individual room level to the point which you can individually time and temperature control each room you occupy (and don't occupy). Where before you would have to run around the house adjusting TRV's (no-one does this simply too much effort involved) you can do everything at a touch of a button on the evohome Controller or on your smart phone or tablet.

    Certainly Yorkshire/Terrier seem to think that just by replacing manual TRV's with their i-temp range you will save 30% alone - http://www.saveonheatingbills.co.uk/ in view of this I would say fitting evohome has potential to save more than 40% to a frugal end-user!

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