Recommendation for smart thermostats (multizone)

clem73e

Novice Member
Hi everyone,

I'd like to upgrade a holiday house to smart thermostats. The primary need is to be able to turn on the heating remotely via smartphone before people get to the house.

Here's what's currently in place:
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The underfloor heating is nice but it's slow, so we definitely need a remote system in place.

I initially thought of just putting a smart ON/OFF switch on the power lead of the boiler. Assuming I could extend the WIFI signal to the boiler house... I wouldn't control the thermostats at all then, I'd just have the boiler OFF when nobody's here and turn its power source ON remotely.

And then I though I'd like to solve a few more issues and maybe get smart thermostats instead:

  • I'd like to see the temperatures remotely
  • Depending on how many people go to the house and at what time, I might set the temperature to a different value in different zones.
  • Upstairs there's only 1 thermostat for all the bedrooms and it's situated in the coldest area in the corridor which has open stairs leading to a converted attic.. not only that, it's a sunvic (see the picture), it doesn't tell the temperature, and it's not precise at all... even without the remote aspect, I need more control in terms of thermostat upstairs.

I'm thinking of replacing the 7 Dafoss thermostats and the 2 Sunvic thermostats to the same brand of smart thermostats. Ideally I'd like to keep the Horstmann controller (even though it would basically have all the zones on ON and do no programming of its own, I don't want to rewire the house). I'd have the boiler and the controller always ON then, and would basically just control the thermostats remotely.

I'm not really sure what to do about the hot water. The thermostat for that is part of the water tank...

I saw that some brands use relays or hubs. I don't really mind having a hub, or a relay between the thermostats and the wifi router, but I don't want to end up with 9 hubs/relays (netatmo for instance said their thermostat could only link to one relay and vice versa).

What do you guys think? Can I upgrade this to a smart setup somehow? How would you do it and with which thermostats? or would you make the controller itself a smart controller (is that even possible?)?

Many thanks for your advice.
 

Abayomi

Active Member
Try EPH They have a 4 zone RF Time switch, marry that to 3 RF thermostats and an RF Cylinder thermostat connected via the EPH Gateway unit. They sell a complete set to this specification.
Control of each zone, on/off programing and program override from your phone or tablet
The only potential issue is your Underfloor zone which is one zone and would be "controlled" by one RF thermostat placed in the "coldest" or most suitable zone Underfloor "zone" So if this thermostat is placed in the coldest underfloor area then the existing wired thermostats would control the other six areas and close them down when they reached the set temperature

If you want to get into more control then Meross or Tuya/Smart life do Smart Thermostatic Rad Valves. Yes another expense and app but gives you control of each radiator in each room. The rad valves are zigbee and connect to a specific Tuya/Meross Gateway and no, are not compatible with Hue but can be controlled by Alexa/Apple/Smarthings/Google. EPH indicated that they may produce/develop there own smart Thermostatic rad valves so can integrate into there app but nothing to date. I suggest these two manufacturers as these valves are significanly cheaper that NEST and others on the market

I actually use a 3 Zone RF EPH system/Gateway with 2 radiator zones and an underfoor zone with my oil boiler with the addition of smart thermostatic rad valves as my "old" system does not have a hot water only zone so I can turn off all the radiators remotely to have hot water only in the warmer months
 

neilball

Well-known Member
If it were me I’d do away with all of that kit and start with something like Heatmiser Neo to do everything. It’s easily remotely managed from their app provided you add a Neo Hib, and unlike your existing plan, would also provide full room-side frost protection when “off” without you needing to remember to do anything if the house is unnoccupied in winter.

If your radiator zones and hot water tank have 2-port zone valves then there is probably no rewiring needed, just some local wiring changes where the existing controls are currently located. I’d certainly recommend replacing any basic wiring centre or junction box with something large enough to make cable management and termination simple - Wago have an XL enclosure that can make things like this very easy to deal with rather than fighting with choc-block connections in a small enclosure.

I’m not sure I understand your description of leaving the boiler permanently on and just controlling the room-side controls remotely - that would suggest your boiler would be firing constantly whether or not anything g actually needs heat. You should not need to worry about switching your boiler at all if you apply the controls correctly - it will be demand driven (switched in and off) as heating zones or hot water call for heat. If nothing needs any heat then your boiler and system pump should switch off automatically, so no need for any time control or manual switching of the boiler.
 

clem73e

Novice Member
I’m not sure I understand your description of leaving the boiler permanently on and just controlling the room-side controls remotely

Oh no, I didn't mean to have the boiler burning constantly. By this I meant to have it connected to the electricity. One possibility is simply to remotely cut power to the boiler itself when nobody's here. That's what we currently do when we leave the house, we turn its power supply OFF.
 

neilball

Well-known Member
But if you’ve set up your controls correctly you should never need to turn off the power to your boiler, your controls should decide when it is required to fire or not - you cannot have frost protection or remote control if you’ve turned off the power to your heat source.
 

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