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Thread: What is it with Heating Engineers and Evohome?

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  1. #1
    Automated Home Legend
    Join Date
    May 2014

    Default What is it with Heating Engineers and Evohome?

    I sold my previous home 18 months ago. Evohome was installed about 6 years ago ('S' Plan and two BDRs + TRVs +HW kit). Over time, the controller was upgraded and when a new boiler was fitted it was connected to Evohome via an Opentherm Gateway. The original 2 BDRs were left in situ. Clearly, the HW BDR was still connected to the sensor but the CH BDR was disabled. I left it in place as the faceplate was a close by spare if needed.

    The clever bit was that the new boiler required what I think Atag calls a modified 'Y' plan or 'W' plan. Rather than go to the expense of changing a lot of pipework, my installer adopted some lateral thinking and he replaced the CH zone valve with a POWER OFF/OPEN inline valve. Whenever there was a demand for HW re-heating, the HW zone valve motored to the OPEN position and the inline valve was wired in series such that it motored CLOSED. Effectively, this gave HW priority and under Evohome control the boiler went to maximum boiler temperature.

    Eighteen months on from the sale, the boiler locked out and a heating 'engineer' was called. He diagnosed low system pressure and a failed motor on the inline valve. The latter was replaced. I then receive a cry for help from my buyer as CH appears to be doing its own thing and the old (disconnected) CH BDR is flashing a red light.

    After the exchange of a few emails and photos, I think that my buyer has paid for an expensive repair when all that was needed was the topping up of system pressure. I am guessing that the 'engineer' was not aware that there are two types of inline valve and that his training had convinced him that power off means closed. He has fitted a new motor without realising the the inline valve is permanently open for a reason until there is a HW demand, and he has wired the new valve in as if it was a standard 'S' Plan zone valve.

    The BDR is flashing because, in desperation, the owner pressed the manual button and there was nothing bound to the BDR.

    It does though beg the question: where does an Evohome owner who is not interested in the detail shared on this forum go to get things fixed when the original installer has moved on to other things?

    I have suggested that my buyer asks said 'engineer' to give me a call so that I can offer some thoughts on what needs to be done to rectify the situation.

  2. #2
    Automated Home Legend
    Join Date
    Sep 2014


    Personally I don't think Evohome is to blame here, even though the documentation could be better.

    It's the whole heating engineer trade which a few present company here excepted, just don't seem to be interested in up-skilling themselves to understand or cope with modern systems. They're too stuck in the old ways of the single simple thermostat in the hallway, a timer and manual TRV's everywhere. Anything else is unnecessary and too complex, to them anyway. If it aint broke, don't fix it...

    These people may be good and experienced installation engineers from the point of view of speccing out and installing radiators, pipe work, installing boilers etc, but often lack any real clues about wiring, (beyond wire by numbers in a lego style wiring centre) programming devices like Evohome, (even though they're not really that difficult) and overall systems design of something like Evohome, eg the big picture view of why would you want zoning with electronic TRV's, why would you want OpenTherm and/or Weather compensation etc...

    Basically while they may have once been qualified and technically still are on paper, they are for all intents and purposes no longer adequately qualified for the systems that are available today as technology has moved on and left them behind.

    When we moved into our current house (which was a bit of a do it upper) the heating system needed immediate remedial work that I was not in a position to do, (and didn't have the plumbing experience at the time for anyway) for example it had no TRV's on any radiators (just on off tap valves!!) many of which were leaking, many radiators had old single end feed fittings that weren't working properly, two radiators had been removed by the previous owners and weren't in service and so on. So I had to get a local guy in to do a bit of quick remedial work such as fitting manual TRV's so the system was usable, whilst already having in mind that I wanted to fit Evohome in the near future.

    As part of that I asked them to fit an automatic bypass valve (as I had the intention of controlling all radiators once I had Evohome) and that created a puzzled response asking why I needed an automatic bypass valve on an old system with a bypass radiator... which lead to a conversation about Evohome.

    Well, the guy was completely against it - said systems like Evohome were a complete waste of time and I was wasting my money, but simultaneously admitted that he had never worked on one and didn't know how it worked... so, yeah... My attempts to explain the benefits of it fell on deaf ears. I would say the guy was probably in his 50's and his helper in his 30's.

    They did a perfectly good job at the plumbing work that they did, but not a clue about something like Evohome - totally outside their wheelhouse.

    I've drawn analogies before with the motor mechanic trade which used to be a grease monkey swinging on spanners job. Nowadays while there is still quite a bit of that, the mechanical parts of cars have got a lot more reliable and a lot of problems tend to be wiring, electronics or computer related, with considerable electronic diagnostic skills required - and quite often lacking! That is going to be even more the case with the adoption of electric cars where the majority of faults are likely to be electrical in nature.

    I'm not sure what the answer is - perhaps changes to the qualification standards (I have no idea what they are) to bring long time heating engineers up to speed with the current state of the art and perhaps even mandatory re-qualifying to meet the new standards ? Today being a competent heating engineer is a cross discipline multi-skilled job.
    Last edited by DBMandrake; 31st January 2020 at 12:01 PM.

  3. #3
    Automated Home Legend
    Join Date
    May 2014


    Quote Originally Posted by DBMandrake View Post
    I'm not sure what the answer is - perhaps changes to the qualification standards (I have no idea what they are) to bring long time heating engineers up to speed with the current state of the art and perhaps even mandatory re-qualifying to meet the new standards ? Today being a competent heating engineer is a cross discipline multi-skilled job.
    That's probably why most heating engineers in Germany appear to have to satisfy some very tough qualification criteria. As I understand it, they are also be held personally responsible for all the work that they do even if they have insurance cover.

  4. #4
    Automated Home Guru
    Join Date
    Dec 2013


    Exactly the same here. I had my Worcester Bosch fitted 7 years ago and, Richard, the plumber who fitted it ws here this morning doing the annual maintenance on the boiler. He's in his 50s and has zero interest in Evohome even though I try every year to get him interested. Not seen a smallest of bites showing interest and probably never will. If I leave this house (other than in a coffin) I'll strip Evohome infrastructure out before I go.

    Mind you Evohome can be pain sometimes as well all know. I went down to the Falkland Islands for three weeks last November. Before I went, I checkedf all the actuators and sensors (I have separate sensors) to replace any batteries that looked low. Of course, on the very first day on the islands my wife messaged me say one of the actuators ahd flagged a battery problem in the living room. I've tried to get her to understand how to cahnge batteries but that was always problematical - I'll be diplomatic and say now more. The very next day I, one iin the kitchen reported the same issue. In some past years I have changed ALL the batteries in September. I may revert to this regime.

  5. #5
    Automated Home Jr Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2019


    I had a new central heating system installed in July last year,I previously had storage heating.
    This was a complete install including gas.
    I employed a well recommended local plumber who worked with another plumber who was registered with Worcester Bosch.
    They enquired as to what control I wanted,they were both happy with my choice of evohome this in-spite of they had never installed one.
    I was quite happy to set up all HR92 (9in total covering 8 zones) they connected the boiler relay.
    The whole system has worked with only one hiccup when clock stopped.

    I have to say they were both so impressed with seeing Evohome in action they are both thinking removing their Hive system and installing Evohome.

    They may have been a little surprised that me being 79 could master the installation and operation.

  6. #6
    Automated Home Ninja
    Join Date
    Mar 2017


    I guess from an end users point of view you'd go back to your Honeywell Accredited installer (I know, means naff all! ).

    From an installers point of view;

    In HenGus case, it probably wasn't obvious that the NO MV was a NO MV, along with a HW priority system. If it was labelled up correctly displaying as such then fair enough, but to a normal installer then it's just another std NC MV that seems like it's stuck open. So an installer that isn't familiar with the system, throw in EvoHome that he doesn't understand I can see the error being made. Out of interest, why didn't you recommend your old installer who knew the system on handover? Not a criticism, just curious. Just comes back to the fact that diagrams, labelling and a decent understand of the system goes a long way - and shows the fact that the home owner isn't checking the system, if they'd kept an eye on the pressure then the issue could have been avoided.

    EvoHome is a great system. But you have to be technically minded, understand the wiring side of heating systems, and have a good understanding of technology to be able to use and install the system. The issue with most installers is that they don't understand how to wire a basic system, never mind one more complex and TBH i've not found many electricians which are any better (I've actually had to wire systems up for Electricians) - so we aren't off to a good starting point. Then there's the techy side - i'm fairly savvy with technology, always have been. Most people in the industry aren't unfortunately, throw in the fact a lot of older generation installers that aren't good with technology then things start to get tricky. You've then also got the installers that don't want the hassle or aren't interested in the system - they just want to follow a simple diagram and install a system that works simply and straight away.

    The problem is too products like EvoHome, Hive, Tado, Drayton smart systems aren't main stream, cost being the main issue. Many people don't have them so many installers don't come across them, therefore an issue with familiarity with the systems, installers not getting any experience.

    Also it shows that having an installer that's familiar with the system goes a long way, most of my customers we've had for years some since my Dad started the company. There's systems that we maintain that only you know all the little quirks about it, how it works and what needs to be done to get it running smoothly. All the Evohome systems I've fitted I still maintain, I would hope if someone moved on from a property they'd pass our details over.

    Finally, I can see why most installers avoid complex control systems like Evohome. The call back rate is high, i've probably been back to every single one at some point i've installed due to some issue or gremlin, phone calls when errors pop up, rads not working cause people haven't clicked the locking switch back on a HR92, and in general people messing with the system. When you install a basic timer and roomstat there's much less to go in reality you have to have an interest in the workings of the system and want to have EvoHome - I think your general householder wouldn't be overly bothered.

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