Smart Control help - Please!

Discussion in 'Plumbers' Talk' started by Sh4d0w, Aug 14, 2019.

  1. Sh4d0w

    Sh4d0w New Member

    Good morning all,

    I am looking for some help and advice if i may.

    I have just submitted my E.On readings and the prices are through the roof! so much more expensive this year than previous years yet on a better "Tariff" apparently so its time to try and make some savings.

    I will look to get a Smart meter installed rather than me submitting every 6 months and basing things of estimated readings.

    Main Question:

    I have A Vaillant ecoTEC Plus 624 System.

    VR81 on the landing UPSTAIRS

    VR61 in landing cupboard


    Albion 210 Hot water store with temperature probe running straight to the boiler. GAS ONLY, the Electric heating element is not connected.

    3 Honeywell zone valves all hard wired into my VR61.

    I would like to know what system would be best to look at that is capable of meeting our heating system and providing us with a "Smart" home.

    I know my current stat has modulation and proper weather comp but i feel that the extra features of a smart system will have have greater benefit - correct me if i am wrong.

    I bought a couple of Gen2 Nests a while back but ended up selling them on as from the research i did back then proved them to be unfit.

    back when i was looking into this last time round the vSmart really wasn't that smart and also didnt work for what i have, have they improved things now?

    Many thanks to all that take the time to read and a high five to those who reply :)
  2. MGW

    MGW Well-Known Member

    It is down to cost, what are you willing to pay so some pointers.
    Nest Gen 3 works with Energenie and will work with OpenTherm, however the link between the Energenie TRV and Nest is a simple follow command, so not fully integrated but the Energenie TRV is only £40 so one of the cheapest.
    Hive has a better connection between the wall thermostat and the TRV, however it does not have OpenTherm, and TRV head £80 each.
    Tado and EvoHome have both connection between thermostat and TRV head and OpenTherm, the thermostat is more expensive than Hive or Nest, but the TRV's more expensive than Nest but cheaper than Hive.

    So not sure if you can use OpenTherm, but one thing you would have to do is kick the zone system to touch. The Part L building regulations require new builds to have zones, but it does not say how those zones are to be made, there are two methods, motorised valves with micro switches built in that select a number of radiators each, or a motorised head on the TRV so each room can be independently controlled.

    The electronic heads start at around £10, I am using the more expensive £15 model which has bluetooth, they are easy to install fit batteries, unscrew the old wax head, and screw on new electronic head, no wiring and not plumbing. However the cheap valve does not report back to a central hub, so there is nothing to tell the boiler if it needs to run or not, other than the return water temperature, however heart of winter return water temperature works well, as it raises so the boiler output reduces, and vie versa, but once the boiler modulates (turns down) to minimum setting it starts to cycle, (turn off/on) and there is nothing with the cheap TRV heads to tell boiler your not required any more turn off.

    So a hub or thermostat is required to tell boiler you can turn off now. However it is not as bad as it looks, in the main the ground floor is cooler than upper floors, heat raises, so if you control the ground floor with the expensive thermostat and TRV heads, you can often get away with cheaper TRV heads on upper floors.

    It clearly depends on design of the house, does wind cause some rooms to get cold, is the front door direst into living room, have you got doors on the rooms, or is it open plan?

    Personally I have used Nest Gen 3 on the main floor, mainly due to lack of cables to where boiler, pumps and motorised valves are located in the flat below main house, the hall, living room and dinning room are linked to the Nest thermostat, so they are all at same temperature and change at same time, not done yet, but I can set dinning room to reduce temperature and leave hall and living room at higher setting, but kitchen has a cheap bluetooth TRV which has open window detect so it will auto switch off when unloading shopping from car, and 4 rooms upstairs all also use bluetooth TRV's each with its own schedule set, flat is just turned down low as only used for storage.

    It may be all you need to do is swap the TRV heads for electronic types, so when not used, rooms are not heated, the problem is if you buy 10 Bluetooth TRV heads then decide you want even more control, your buying another 10 heads so that's £150 down the drain. I was lucky, I bought the Energenie heads in last house and brought them with me here, I use oil and reading it seemed Hive was best system for me, although expensive, with £80 TRV heads, however to get what I wanted I wanted to use just two wires flat to main house, and wanted volt free contacts, which Nest could do, and Nest would also work with my existing heads.

    If you are prepared to pay out, EvoHome and Tado can be near enough guaranteed to work, if however your prepared to do some research, and work out where the saving can be got, you can develop a cheaper system.

    As to smart meter, that's a waste of time, it does whole house, so OK your using 500 watt, but it does not tell you what is using 500 watt, what is far more use is the simple plug in energy meter, so you can see how much fridge/freezer is using, or sky box is using, or even which washing machine cycle uses least. Clearly a lamps with a 60 watt bulb uses 60 watt you don't need a smart meter to tell you that, and neither do you want to give the supply company the ability to turn off your house remotely, what ever has gone wrong you want a knock on the door first.

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