You can fit a smart thermostat to your boiler. It makes the central heating system control easier to control.
Basically, when your home has a central heating system, whether oil-fired, LPG or gas, your full set of temperature controls need to include a room thermostat, a boiler thermostat, a timer or programmer, and thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs). With the advent of smart thermostats, it has become easier to control boiler and room temperatures.
When you install a smart thermostat to your boiler, you use it to control the boiler temperatures, to program when the boiler goes on or off and to detect the temperature of the surrounding. Even better, you can use the thermostat to control the temperature of every room.
This guide answers the question: can I fit a smart thermostat to my boiler?
Smart Heating Controls: Smart Thermostats for your Boiler
Smart thermostats are also referred to as smart heating controls. These thermostats allow you to control your boiler and room temperature remotely from a mobile device or PC over the internet.
Others come with more sophisticated features to control your boiler temperature even better. For instance, some smart thermostats are engineered to learn from your past configurations and set boiler temperatures based on your preferences.
These thermostats apply optimization and automation to determine exactly when to turn your boiler on or off. The main advantage of these thermostats is that you can make remote changes if your plans change. For instance, if you plan to be home earlier than other days, you can set your boiler, from your smartphone, to turn on early.
Smart heating controls will save you money. However, this is dependent on your lifestyle and how efficiently you control the temperature on your thermostat.
Why use smart thermostats for your boiler?
A smart thermostat on your boiler will not only make it easy for you to control room temperatures but it will also help:
- Reduce carbon monoxide emissions from your boiler to keep you and your family safe.
- It saves money on heating bills if the controls are optimized efficiently.
- You can configure the thermostat to go on or off when needed.
- You are able to heat different rooms in your house differently instead of heating all rooms at the same temperature. This will require you to incorporate a room thermostat.
If your home is running on analog thermostats, you can easily replace them without necessarily replacing your boiler or any component of your central heating system.
Hot Water Smart Thermostats
These are smart thermostats that you install when water in your central heating system is stored in a cylinder. The thermostat will switch off the heat source for your boiler when the temperature of the water hits a set point.
Note that when you turn the thermostat temperature up, the water in the boiler will not heat any faster and the heat source will not turn on until the temperature of the water falls below a certain set point. If, for instance, you set the thermostat temperature range between 55 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit, the thermostat will switch off the heat source to your boiler when the temperature hits 78 degrees and turn it off when the temperature falls to 55 degrees.
Cylinder thermostats are usually installed between a quarter and a third-way up the cylinder. You should set the thermostat between 60 and 65 degrees; temperatures hot enough to kill microorganisms in water and also to scald. You can also install a thermostatic mixing valve to ensure the temperature of the water in the cylinder remains at a safe range.
Some boilers, such as the combi boiler, do not have cylinders. As such, you will have a smart thermostat installed on the boiler itself.
Smart Boiler Thermostats
Your boiler will always have a thermostat. This thermostat is usually marked in number from minimum to maximum. This range sets the temperature that will be pumped from the boiler via the radiators to heat your room.
When you set the temperature high, your room will heat fast. If you set the temperatures low, especially during winter, your home may not get to the desired temperature.
However, it is not advisable to set the temperatures too high seeing that condensing boilers work more efficiently when the temperature of the water returning to the boiler is below 55 degrees.
If your central heating system is fitted with a regular boiler, you will need to have two smart thermostats; one on the boiler and another on the cylinder. The temperature range for the boiler should be higher than the temperature range for the cylinder to allow the cylinder to get up to its set temperature.
If you have a combi boiler, your smart thermostat should have two dials; the dial with a radiator symbol controls the temperature of the water that goes through the radiator. This way, the radiator temperature can be set without affecting the hot water temperature.
Why Smart Thermostat Fit Perfectly on Boilers
When it is cold outside, you need the boiler to be set at a higher temperature point to heat your home fast. When it is hot outside, you need the boiler temperatures to be toned down. This will ensure the heating system runs efficiently especially if your room runs on a condensing boiler.
Smart thermostats are able to detect the temperatures of the surroundings and to automatically adjust the boiler thermostat temperatures for the best results. You can also use a weather compensator to detect the temperatures outside.
When it is very cold outside, you need the boiler temperatures to be set high to quickly warm the room. When the temperature inside the room is relatively warm, you need to turn up the boiler thermostat temperature only a few degrees. If you turn up the thermostat temperature when the room is warm until the radiators are heated to full heat, you risk overheating your room.
With a load compensator, the difference between the internal and the set temperature is established before the boiler thermostat temperature ranges are adjusted. This will help you to avoid overheating.
Smart Thermostat Timing Controls
Smart thermostats learn. They can be scheduled to run or switch off your boiler when you are home, when you do not need them or when you are out of your home for a long period.
Programmer fitted on these thermostats allow you to set the on or off time periods. For most smart thermostat models, you are allowed to set the domestic hot water and the central heating system separately.
To run efficiently, the timer on the smart thermostat needs to be correct. Though you can set these timers from your smart phone, tablet or computer, there are manual overrides that allow you to set your thermostat temperatures from the dials on it.
To get started, time how long it takes your house to warm up on a very cold evening. Record that as the warm-up time. Once the house warms up, switch off the boiler completely and time how long it takes your house to get uncomfortably cold.
Record that as the cool-down time. Now set your thermostat with the warm up and cool-down time in mind. This way, you can set your boiler to switch on before you wake up in the morning and to switch off just after you leave the house.
To save money on bills, insulate your home so it warms up fast and cools down slowly. You can also set your boiler to heat water only when you need it. If your water storage cylinders are well insulated, you may have the water hot enough in the evenings to heat your home.
You need to heat different rooms to different temperatures in your home. This is especially important when you have babies and seniors living with you. To do that, you will need to control radiators in different rooms at different times.
To make it easy for you, zone control requires that you have different circuits for different rooms with each circuit from the boiler having its own programmer or thermostat. If you are just installing your central heating system, consider zone control.
If you are installing the heating system on a large house, you might need two zone control units to meet heating regulations. If you are not installing a new central heating system, it may be impractical to change the old pipework to accommodate zone control. In such, a case, you will need to consider programmable thermostatic radiator valves.
Optimization and Automation of Smart Thermostats for your Boiler
Smart thermostats are able to calculate how long it takes to heat up or cool down your room. This way, the thermostat is able to turn the heating on or off at the right time to ensure you have the right temperature in your room just when you need it.
The units are also able to automate functions; they work out whether or not to turn the boilers on depending on whether there is someone in the house or not.
We hope this guide has fully answered your question; can I fit a smart thermostat to my boiler?