In this guide, we explain smart thermostats and smart radiator valves, and discuss the benefits from these smart technologies. We show that huge heating bill savings (31-40%) can be achieved from a combination of a smart thermostat and smart radiator valves to control heating on a per-room basis. This will ensure that energy is never wasted heating a room when this is not required.
One of the most important ways to save money on heating bills is to ensure that your heating system is not being used to heat a room when this is not necessary. This is where smart thermostats and smart radiator valves come into their own. Their aim is to keep your home at a comfortable temperature when occupied without wasting fuel or heat.
As well a significantly reducing heating bills, reducing how much your heating system is being used will substantially reduce your emissions too.
With energy prices expected to remain very high until 2030 and beyond, there’s never been a better time to invest in smart heating technology since payback will be achieved very quickly, making it one of the best, most profitable, home improvements.
Smart thermostats can reduce heating bills by 10-12%
A typical heating system thermostat – usually placed in a single room of a home – allows households to change the temperature (for that specific room). When the boiler is running, the system will attempt to maintain the room temperature at the set target temperature, switching off the boiler if the room temperature exceeds the target temperature. Typically, heating systems allow timers to be programmed for both heating and hot water, to turn the boiler on and off at selected times of the day. These are often not the easiest to use.
A smart thermostat provides a more user-friendly and accessible way to control your home’s heating. A smart thermostat comprises three components:
- a Wi-Fi-enabled control box that directly connects to your boiler system, to control when the boiler operates according to the measured temperatures it receives from the room thermostat(s) (below)
- a Wi-Fi-enabled room thermostat (or multiple thermostats), which can be placed anywhere in your home to accurately measure room temperatures
- an app that is downloaded to your mobile phone (or tablet). This provides an easy-to-use way to control heating and provides much more extensive features than a conventional heating system, allowing you to reduce energy usage and maximise comfort.
There are many smart thermostat makes and models, and the most popular include tado, British Gas’s Hive, Google Nest and Honeywell evohome. While each system is different, smart thermostats typically provide:
- the ability to control and adjust heating more conveniently through an easy-to-use app. Most people are much happier making regular adjustments to their heating while sitting comfortably with their mobile phone or tablet than trying to programme an old, hard-to-configure controller or thermostat in a different location.
- learning over time what temperatures householders prefer, for example, learning when users increase or decrease target temperatures (at different times of the day or when they are in different locations)
- learning how to optimally heat your house. By learning how long it takes for your heating system to reach its target temperature, a smart thermostat can potentially delay your boiler coming on (for example, in the morning).
- the capability to control and adjust heating remotely. Being able to adjust heating when away from the home is a huge benefit. For example, you can switch heating on when you are at work or setting off home so it doesn’t operate unnecessarily. If working hours are irregular, cost savings can be significant.
- geofencing capability. Geofencing technology creates a virtual ‘fence’ around your home. When you are away from your home, the smart thermostat will ensure that you are not wasting money heating your home unnecessarily.
- the ability to set minimum temperatures to avoid frozen pipes. Smart thermostats can prevent pipes from freezing while a home is unoccupied.
- extensive configuration options. For example, it is possible to set different temperatures for certain times of the day or night. Depending on your location and what you are doing, different temperatures will be preferred.
Many of our customers are delighted with their smart thermostats, as they provide multiple ways in which heating costs can be reduced. This means that they pay for themselves within months and provide very good savings. Google claims that its Nest Learning Thermostat saves 10-12% on heating bills based on analysis of the energy bills of real households in the USA.
Householders looking for the maximum heating cost savings should combine a smart thermostat with smart radiator valves. Only with such a configuration is it possible to control heating on an individual room basis to truly minimise heating costs. While costs are higher, so are the expected annual savings.
Adding smart thermostatic radiator valves can reduce heating bills by 30-40%
Smart Thermostatic Radiator Valves (or Smart TRVs for short) are devices that control individual radiators to provide room-by-room heating control in conjunction with a smart thermostat.
A conventional Thermostatic Radiator Valve (TRV) automatically adjusts the hot water entering the radiator to control the room air temperature where the radiator is located. A Smart TRV adds the ability to control the TRV of individual radiators via an easy-to-use app, as part of a smart thermostat system.
Smart radiator valves measure the room temperature using integrated temperature sensors. They communicate with a smart thermostat or controller via Wi-Fi.
The big advantages of Smart Thermostatic Radiator Valves are:
- the ability to set different target temperatures and schedules for individual rooms, to prevent overheating rooms (for example, rooms that are unoccupied at certain times or where a lower temperature is comfortable).
- the capability to cost-effectively make colder rooms warmer and more comfortable (such as North-facing rooms, under-insulated rooms or under-heated rooms) without increasing heating costs across an entire home.
- the ability to avoid overheating rooms (such as South-facing rooms, well-insulated rooms or well-heated rooms). For example, without smart radiator valves, sunlight beaming in from windows, or the presence of an additional heating source (such as a wood burner), can make a room very hot and stuff if heating is working ‘full pelt’ at the same time. A smart radiator valve would shut off this unnecessary heating.
Two of the most popular smart radiator systems are the Honeywell evohome system and the Tado Smart Radiator Thermostat V3. Honeywell claims that its system can reduce annual heating bills by up to 40%, while Tado claims that its system can reduce annual heating bills by up to 31%.
Heating and hot water accounts for about 55% of a household’s energy bills, according to the Energy Savings Trust. From April 2023, the UK Government’s Energy Price Guarantee will limit average annual energy bills to £3,000 – which equates to an average annual heating bill of £1650. Savings of 31 to 40% from smart radiator valves would equate to annual savings of £512 to £660. Given these statistics are for average homes, those with larger homes may pay considerably more, with even greater savings achievable from smart radiator valves.
Out to 2030 and beyond, energy prices are expected to remain at about three times their five-year pre-2021 historic average. Over this period, smart radiator valves would represent an extremely profitable home improvement, with savings many times their initial costs.
We install smart thermostats and smart radiator valves across Cambridgeshire at affordable prices
As detailed in our page Smart Thermostat and Smart Radiator Valve Installation in Cambridgeshire, we professionally install smart thermostats and smart radiator valves at affordable prices across Cambridgeshire. For a no-obligation quote, or more information, please contact us.
You may be interested in our other guides to reduce heating costs:
- Replacing your existing oil boiler with an ultra-efficient model can save over £20,000
- Replacing your boiler is the most profitable home improvement according to GoCompare
- Why now is the perfect time to upgrade to an oil combi boiler
- Replacing radiators can add £10,000 to the value of your home and cut heating bills
- Where and when to buy heating oil to save £100s per year