radiators

Do Smart Thermostats Work With Radiators?

A big concern with most people is that smart thermostats may not work with a boiler and radiator set up in their home, but I am here to put their worries to rest because YES, smart thermostats do in fact work with radiators.

There is an increasing trend with the popularity of smart home devices in the world we live in today. One of the more common devices is the smart thermostat, which offers remote control from a smartphone, and saves your smart heating and cooling habits for a more optimized and efficient heating and cooling system.

Best Smart Thermostats

There is a growing selection of these thermostats available on the market today from reputable brands that either specializes in heating and cooling or smart home devices. All of these devices connect to both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant smart home devices.

Google actually offers one of the most popular products which is the nest thermostat.

  • Nest Learning Thermostat
  • Tado Smart Thermostat
  • Ecobee
  • Johnson Controls
  • Honeywell

There is one drawback to using one of these within your boiler heated home and it has to do with the ability to control the temperature within individual rooms of your home. This is referred to as either single-zone or multi-zone heating – in the following section I go into more detail about each of these, and what your options are for setting up a smart thermostat in your home.

Single Vs. Multi-Zone 

Single and multi-zone refer to your boiler and radiator set up. A single-zone system means that every radiator in your home runs at the same time and you will not be able to control the temperature of individual rooms, but rather the house as a whole.

This can be done with nothing more than a smart thermostat being wired into your boiler. A multi-zone system allows you the ability to control each of your radiators independently of one another but it does require additional parts.

A multi-zone system does allow for additional efficiency by giving you the option to not have radiators run in certain rooms, especially if nobody is in them. Single-zone setups are still very efficient and should not be ruled out as a viable option. Both systems are relatively easy to set up, the multi-zone setup just has a few extra steps.

1. Setting Up A Single-Zone System

Before you set up a single-zone system with your new smart thermostat and radiator it is important to read through the installation manual that comes with your smart thermostat. While different brand systems are set up similarly there may be slight variations.

For a single-zone system, your smart thermostat communicates either wired or wirelessly with an extension box that wires directly into your boiler. What this does is tell your boiler when to kick on based on the changes you make through the thermostat.

When you increase the heat at the thermostat and your boiler turns on it sends heat to every radiator in your home which is to be expected with a single-zone setup.

2. Setting Up A Multi-Zone System

When setting up a multi-zone system you will first want to make sure that your thermostat is wirelessly connected to the extension box that is wired directly into your boiler. You will need additional parts for this setup in the form of smart radiator valves like these , made by Tado. You will need a smart valve for each radiator in your home.

Once these are installed you will have the ability to remotely control each individual radiator by wirelessly communicating with a specific smart radiator valve instead of the boiler alone.

Conclusion

If you have been thinking about getting a smart thermostat for your home but were concerned about whether or not it would be compatible with your radiator heaters, you can rest assured knowing that it is.

Whether you want to set up a single or multi-zone system you can with the right parts and with minimal effort. If you have any further questions about setting up your smart home thermostat I recommend contacting the manufacturer of the thermostat; if your question has to do with compatibility with your current heating system I recommend you contact a licensed technician for further advice.