Geofencing uses your smartphones location to detect when you are home or out and about. It essentially sets a virtual boundary, or ‘fence’, around your home. When you enter or leave the boundary your smartphone will trigger a response from your smart thermostat, allowing it to regulate the temperature accordingly. This is a great feature for people who don’t follow a typical day-to-day schedule, or for anyone that has forgotten to turn off their heating after they’ve left the house. Geofencing is a feature of many smart devices and not just limited to thermostats. Many smart hubs incorporate geofencing technology and it can be used to control all smart devices throughout your home.
Smart thermostats that enable the use of geofencing include Nest, Tado, Honeywell Lyric and Heatmiser Neo (see below). Nest refer to their geofencing as “Home/Away assist” and are one of the manufacturers that have implemented geofencing most effectively. Both Nest and Honeywell support multiple accounts and can track the location of all members of a household, turning the thermostat to ‘away’ mode once the last person leaves.
Individual room control
The pinnacle of smart heating control is the ability to control every room individually. This can allow for huge savings on energy bills by only heating the rooms that you actually use. For instance, bedroom heating could be turned off until the evening, thus reducing your energy consumption.
Honeywell are the manufacturer that have implemented this most effectively. Their EvoHome range of products includes smart room thermostats, smart hot water cylinder thermostats, smart underfloor heating, and smart thermostatic radiator valves for individual room zoning. It is an ideal system for larger homes that feature hot water cylinders and multiple radiators. It gives the user the ability to control their heating system with precision and avoid wasting money on energy bills. We always recommend Honeywell EvoHome to our clients as it is one of the most reliable and innovative systems out there.
Tado also manufacture smart thermostatic radiator valves that allow for individual room control. While not as in depth as Honeywell, Tado is a great, moderately priced system for someone who wants a more straightforward approach to smart room zoning.
Very few thermostats have built in voice activation technology (apart from certain Honeywell models), but almost all can be linked to a voice activated smart home hub such as an Amazon Echo or Google Home device. Nest, Honeywell, Tado and Hive systems work with most smart home hubs, but Nest systems work particularly well with Google Home as they are manufactured by the same company.
If you have Honeywell or Tado smart thermostatic radiator valves, the temperature of each individual room can be controlled with your voice. Just say something like ‘Alexa, make my bedroom 22 degrees’, and just like that, your heating system will begin heating up the chosen room. Controlling the temperature of your home has never been so easy!
Before OpenTherm technology, thermostats would just act as an on/off switch, telling the boiler when to turn on and off in relation to the desired room temperature. Newer boilers and thermostats that support OpenTherm technology communicate with each other in a more efficient way. The thermostat will tell the boiler when to adjust the water temperature and when to use more or less gas as appropriate. This advanced method of modulation allows your heating system to control the temperature in your home more precisely and can lead to considerable savings in energy bills
For more info on OpenTherm boilers, please read the boiler installation section.