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The Internet of Things has made it possible to reduce many household chores to afterthoughts. You can schedule your robotic vacuum to clean the floors while you’re at work, automatically lock your door when you leave, and turn your lights on and off from afar. All of this convenience can make a modern home feel a bit like The Jetsons, but it comes at a cost: too many smart home apps.
When you have to open a dozen apps just to access all of your devices, the convenience becomes a burden. Thankfully, there are apps that combine all your smart apps into a single location. The following are the best smart home apps for total smart home automation.
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Some of these apps may require an external hub, while others need nothing more than your phone.
The SmartThings smart home app is one of the original all-in-one smart home control apps, courtesy of the Samsung SmartThings Hub. It connects to devices like Yale, Ring, ecobee, and many more. It combines control for every connected device into a single app.
You can also set up routines and automatic triggers through the SmartThings app. While it isn’t compatible with every device out there, SmartThings will work with a vast majority of mainstream devices. If you have smart home devices from more obscure companies, SmartThings may not be the best option.
You can download the SmartThings app for both Android and iOS. The SmartThings Hub must be directly connected to your router, but once the app is set up it’s easy to connect your devices.
The Alexa app is necessary for anyone that has an Alexa device, whether it’s something like the Amazon Echo or a third-party device with Alexa built-in. If you have an Alexa device, you have the app—and you can add other compatible devices with ease.
The Amazon Alexa smart home app is compatible with a huge number of devices, since even the most obscure smart home product companies try to work in Alexa functionality. It works with Philips Hue, Nest, Wemo, and many others. The Alexa app does more than just control your smart home, though; it can be used for creating shopping lists, listening to music, and more.
The Alexa app is also how users can make calls to other Alexa users, drop in to video chat through the Echo Show, share images, and more. The app will prompt users to add compatible devices and will walk you through the process to set them up.
The Amazon Alexa app is a great option for controlling all of your devices because it’s likely to already be part of a modern smart home setup. Just download it, set up compatible devices, and control them all from one place.
Alexa may lead the smart home market, but for users that prefer Google, the Google Assistant app is a great pick for controlling your entire smart home from one place. Google Assistant works with Philips Hue, Honeywell, Nest, and many more smart home companies to give you near total control.
The true power of Google Assistant lies in how versatile it is. It can be used via your phone to text family members, search for information on the web, and play music.
Google Assistant, like the Alexa app, prompts you to add compatible devices it detects on the network. Also like Alexa, the Google Assistant app will already be part of your collection of apps if you have a Google device—but you don’t have to own a Google device to download the app and utilize it.
The Google Assistant smart home app is available for both iOS and Android.
Apple HomeKit has the least range of compatibility of any of these options, but it’s also a popular choice due to how strong Apple’s grasp of the market is. Because the Home app comes pre-installed on iOS, it’s already available to a huge number of users, but it does require a hub to work.
The good news is that hub can be an iPad, a HomePod, or an Apple TV. Most Apple users already have one of these devices (although let’s face it—no one has a HomePod.) More good news is that although HomeKit does not work with as many products as Amazon or Google, it does have a range of dedicated devices.
Setting up a device on HomeKit is usually an easy affair, too. Most devices just require you to scan the QR code on the back and the rest of the process is mostly automated. HomeKit excels in another aspect, too: the aesthetic. The layout of the HomeKit app is attractive and has a more modern look than most smart home apps.
If you find the idea of opening app after app to control your home unappealing, check out one of these smart home apps. When you can control everything from a single place, a smart home becomes truly convenient.
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Imagine a house where your appliances run themselves, where lights adjust without you having to get up, and where your snail-mailbox would send you a message when you get a package. It sounds like something out of The Jetsons, but thanks to some nifty home-automation technology, this is all possible today. (Talk about living in the future!)
Home automation (also known as “smart home”) technology is the integration of electrical devices and one or more computer. These systems are often controlled remotely–you can use a smartphone or tablet, for instance. Most people use home automation for either added comfort or security, or to be more energy efficient.
Numerous companies offer to automate your home for a (sometimes hefty) fee. Home automation doesn’t have to cost thousands to install, though: With the right equipment and a little know-how, you too can assemble your very own home automation system.
Grad School Digital Imaging student Sam Cox from the United Kingdom has a great example of how beneficial home automating can be. He began automating his home from scratch a year ago to increase his home’s security. Since, he has found himself adding more features to his system for both convenience and energy savings.
“On the security front I wanted something cheap, flexible and scalable, all without paying a monthly fee. Leaving electrical equipment on standby wastes an enormous amount of energy, so having your home automatically turn these appliances off when you go sleep and back on again when you wake up ultimately saves you money.”
At present, his home-automation system can perform a multitude of tasks. His custom-built security alarm system runs a set of IP webcams installed throught the house. The alarm can project audible warnings to the intruder, as well as record footage and email a still image.
Sam built other convenient home improvements, such as a system that wakes you up, gives you weather information for the day ahead, and alerts you of incoming email. In addition, his system lets him stream music into any room, turn on appliances, and dim lights. Sam used his old Mac Mini as a command system for his chúng tôi Mac Mini controls all of the home automation systems, andSam can access it from anywhere in the house using his iPhone and TouchaTag, an off-the-shelf Web-based RFID system.
“RFID is one area that I’ve worked hard on. It works in such a way that my home knows who’s in and can adjust any settings such as the type of music being played or optimum light level accordingly.”
Using apps such as iAutom8, Sam can use his iPhone to control switches from anywhere in the house, as well as stream live footage from the webcams.
Sam adds: “Many home automation systems communicate through X10, this one’s slightly different. The system I use is called HomeEasy, which is a wireless (433MHz) interface. Singles are generated from an RFXCom Ethernet transmitter. Using Ethernet means that requests like turning your washing machine on can be sent from anywhere in the world.”
One of the biggest challenges of setting up home automation is coding all the appliances to work together, and Sam’s project is no different. Sam learned how to code everything as he went along, using other people’s AppleScript for similar projects, then adjusting them accordingly.
“Coding the morning wakeup alarm was the most complex as this basically wakes up the house–including me–with the current time and date, weather forecast, new emails, and leaving me with the radio streaming into any rooms I’m in.”
Although automating his house has cost Sam around $1200 so far, the end result has been worth the time and money. In Sam’s case, his house won’t let him forget to reply an email or a calendar event, or let him burn his dinner. He also has the invaluable piece of mind from an apt security system.
Of course, there are also shortcomings. The Mac Mini can be quite slow due to its age. The IP webcams are also sometimes too sensitive, so even a change in natural light can trigger a false alarm.
Sam points out that in the near future he’ll be working on voice recognition, curtains that can open and close automatically, and improved “text-to-speech” functions.
“Just mess around and have fun.”Like this? You might also enjoy…
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It is not a decision to take lightly. You should not rush the process. It takes patience, research, and time.
You need to make sure you buy the best house for sale in Gambia to maximize your return on investment. Congratulations if you have decided to buy a home. It is a great way of building wealth and security over the long term.
How do you find the perfect house? It can be difficult to choose the right house when there are so many available. We’re here to help.
This blog will help you choose the right house, whether you decide to purchase it or not. It covers everything from understanding your budget to researching properties to more. We will discuss all factors that can be considered to ensure you make the best decision for your needs and circumstances. So, let’s get started!Identify Your Needs and Wants
Before you begin looking at Gambia homes, take some time to think about what you need and want. This will allow you to narrow down your search and help you find the right place for you and all your family members.
First, make a list of the essentials and desires. These are the features that cannot be negotiable.
“Nice-to-haves” are features that are desirable but not essential, such as a large yard or an updated kitchen.
Once you have a list, you can start to think about the type of home that you would like. Are you looking for a single-family home or a townhouse? A condo, a condo, or something else? This decision will impact the types of homes that you are able to look at.
Next, think about your budget. What amount can you spend on a home that new? You need to be realistic in order not to go bankrupt.
The timing is also important. Do you want to buy immediately or are you flexible? This will determine how fast you can move after you have found the perfect place. It will save you both time and money in the end by taking the time to understand your needs and wants before you start your house search.Pre-approval for A Mortgage
It is important to be pre-approved for mortgage financing before you begin looking for a Gambia house. This will help you determine how much money you have available and show sellers that your seriousness about purchasing a house.
You will need to provide financial information, including income, assets, and debt, to your lender to get pre-approved. Your lender will give you a pre-approval letter stating how much they are willing to lend to you once you have all this information.
A pre-approval letter will make it easier to offer a home. A real estate agent will probably insist that you are pre-approved before you begin looking at homes.
Ask your family and friends for suggestions if you aren’t sure where to begin when searching for a lender. Online reviews are also available. After you’ve compared the rates and fees of several lenders, find the best deal.Start Your Search at the Right Place
You need to begin your search in the right place if you are thinking of buying a property company in the Gambia. First, determine what kind of house you are looking for and where it is located.
Are you looking for a single-family home or a condo downtown? Once you have a clear idea of what you are looking for, you can begin narrowing down your search to specific areas.
If you are looking for a single-family house, it might be a good idea to concentrate your search in the suburbs. Downtown might be the best option if you are looking for a condo. Once you have settled on a location, you can begin looking for specific neighborhoods that suit your needs.
It is important to think about your lifestyle and requirements when searching for a home. Are you looking for a smaller space or more?
Think About The Type of Home You Want
First, you must decide which type of home is right for you. There are many types of homes available, including single-family homes and condominiums. Every type of home comes with its own pros and cons. It’s important that you choose the right one for your family.
These are some considerations when choosing the type of home that you would like to live in:
Single-family homes tend to be more expensive than other types but offer more privacy and more space.
Condominiums can be more affordable than single-family homes. However, they often have common amenities and common areas.
Townhomes can be considered a compromise between condominiums and single-family homes. These homes offer greater privacy than condominiums, but less space than single-family homes.
Once you have decided on the type of home that you want, it is time to start considering other factors such as location, price, size, and cost.
There is no one-size fits all solution when it comes to buying your house. It can be overwhelming to think about all the factors, including the location, budget, and size of the property.Here are Some Tips to Help You Make A Decision to Buy.
If you read our guide on choosing the right house, you will be able to make informed decisions about the best house to suit your lifestyle and needs.Localization
This old saying still applies today in real estate. Pay attention to where you live when looking for a home. Is it located in a great school district? Is it close to public transportation? Is it located in a safe area? These are all important factors to consider when choosing a property.
Size is another important aspect to consider when buying a home. How big of a house do you need? Are you looking for a starter home with one bedroom or a family home with five bedrooms? You should choose the right size for your family.
Top 10 IoT Mobile App Development Trends to Expect in 2023Know Your Budget
When choosing a home, it is important to stick to your budget.
A large investment is required to purchase a house. It’s important that you weigh all the benefits and drawbacks of purchasing a house for sale. While it can be a thrilling venture, there are also risks.
It doesn’t matter if you decide to rent or buy, do your research thoroughly and be aware of the risks before you commit to anything. We hope this article helped you to weigh the pros and cons when buying Gambia property for sale.
If you don’t take care, you might end up paying more than you can afford and/or taking on too much debt. Do your research before you buy. Make sure to weigh all pros and cons.
After price, perhaps the biggest obstacle to building a smart home is compatibility. There are three major platforms — Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit — plus a collection of smaller ones, and frequently, accessories are exclusive to one of them or just a portion. This can be confusing to newcomers, and even veterans have to waste time hunting down products that match their specs. Multi-platform homes can force their owners to switch apps or voice assistants depending on what they’re trying to control.
The day is coming when you should be able to use anything with the Matter logo on it. In theory, at least.
Matter, due to go live by late 2023, is a universal networking protocol that lets accessories work across all of the major smart home platforms. Its backers include Amazon, Apple, Google, and Samsung among others, so the day is coming when you should be able to use anything with the Matter logo on it. In theory, at least — we’ll see how companies handle implementation.
Matter devices can also form a mesh network between each other, making Wi-Fi and the internet less essential. You’ll still need those and a Matter-ready hub for remote access, of course, but the standard could be manna for people who have unreliable internet or accessories on the edge of router range.
More: The Matter smart home protocol and why it’s a big deal
This technology is heavily associated with Matter but doesn’t necessarily go hand-in-hand, so it’s worth mentioning separately. In fact some hardware already supports Thread independently, most prominently the Apple HomePod mini and multiple Nanoleaf products.
So what is it? It’s a wireless protocol based on Zigbee — but what you really need to know is that every Thread accessory can act as its own “border router,” facilitating the sort of mesh network Matter supports. It’s actually Matter’s preferred infrastructure, since unlike Bluetooth it’s dedicated to smart home tech, and it consumes considerably less power than Wi-Fi.
As with Matter, you need a hub and the internet for remote access. Within the home, however, the more Thread accessories you buy, the more reliable they become, and the further their range extends. As a bonus, Thread alleviates the burden on Wi-Fi routers, which can only handle so many simultaneous connections. People with Wi-Fi 5 routers and a host of smart home accessories are probably all too familiar with devices dropping out.
Related: Is Wi-Fi 6 worth the upgrade
You can expect dead-simple pairing to become the norm instead of a special selling point.
Frustration-Free has likewise been around for a little while, ensuring pairing accessories with Alexa requires minimal effort. If you want to set up the Amazon Smart Plug, for instance, all you have to do is stick it in an outlet and open the Alexa app’s Devices tab. Amazon’s technology is becoming part of the Matter specification, so once that protocol goes live, you can expect dead-simple pairing to become the norm instead of a special selling point.
Read more: The smart home privacy policies of Amazon, Apple, and Google
Our homes are getting smarter all the time, thanks largely to popularity of smart speakers like Alexa.
And if you’re one of the many people with a Google Home or Amazon Echo on your mantle or kitchen counter, you’ve got the capabilities for easy voice command of all kinds of smart home gadgets.
As long as your smart home kit is confirmed as compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or Apple HomeKit, you can add voice control. Here’s how to go about it.Voice control support
Don’t get rid of your original app. David Nield
No matter what type of smart home gadget you buy for your home, it’ll usually come with a mobile app of its own. This app will let you do things like control the device from your phone and set up automated routines. When a piece of hardware is also labeled as compatible with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, or Apple HomeKit, that means you can add voice control to your smart device. In other words, you can tell Alexa to turn off the lights in the kitchen from your bed.
Going through the process doesn’t make the original app bundled with your smart lightbulb redundant, it just gives you another way to control it. The provided app will always give you more features and options, but Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Apple HomeKit let you use a variety of smart home devices together. You can even combine smart home kits from different manufacturers, or set up your devices to work with more than one smart assistant. In the guides below we’ll assume you’ve already got your smart device up and running and working with its own app.Adding devices to Google Assistant
The Google Home app. David Nield
The key to connecting smart home devices to Google Assistant is the Google Home app, which you can download for free to your phone for Android or iOS. If you’ve previously set up a Google Home speaker or a Chromecast, you might already have it installed. Assuming you’ve already set up the smart home device you’re adding using the app that came with it, from the front screen of the Google Home app choose Add, then Set up device, then Have something already set up?
Next, you get a list of partner accounts that can connect to the Google Assistant—everything from Philips Hue (smart lights) to Ecobee (smart thermostats). Tap the brand name that matches the device you want to control and log in using your account credentials. Your devices should appear.
Once you’ve got the list of third-party devices, the next screen will add them to a specific room. This means that, for example, you can tell Google Assistant to “turn off the lights in the bedroom” and all the bedroom lights are switched off instantly. After you’ve added an account (like Philips Hue or Ecobee), new devices added to those accounts should show up in the Google Home app automatically, so you can add them to a room.
With your devices added to Google Assistant and the Google Home app, you can control them through the app by tapping on them and their options, or use your voice within earshot of Google Assistant (on your phone or via a smart speaker). You can refer to them by name (“turn the Ecobee up to 68”) or by room (“turn on all the lights in the study”).Adding devices to Amazon Alexa
The Amazon Alexa app. David Nield
Amazon Alexa’s process is similar, only this time you’re using the Alexa app for Android or iOS instead. Once you’ve got your smart home device set up and configured using its own app, head into the Alexa app on your phone or tablet.
Tap Devices, then All Devices, then the Plus icon (top right), and Add Device. Pick the brand of your smart home device at the top, or use the categories underneath to find it. If it’s not listed, then it might not be supported by the Amazon Alexa platform. You’ll need to add the necessary Alexa skill when prompted and log in to the third-party account.
With all the account connecting completed, tap Discover devices to do exactly that—you should then see the smart device. You’ll be asked to assign the new device to a room, which is necessary if you want to control your devices in groups. If you later add more smart home hardware from the same brand, go through the discovery process again, minus the account connection stage.
After that’s done, you’re ready to go: Your smart home devices will appear in the Alexa app and can be controlled from there with a tap, or via Alexa voice commands if an Amazon Echo speaker is in range. For smart lights, for example, you could say “turn the study light on” or “set the study light to 50 percent.” Check the instructions that came with your device for all of the options.Adding devices to Apple HomeKit
The Apple HomeKit app. David Nield
Finally, you can also add devices to Apple HomeKit and control them via Siri voice commands. In the Home app that comes pre-installed on iOS, tap the Plus button (top right), then pick Add Accessory. If the device packaging has a wireless symbol on it, you can hold your iPhone or iPad close to it while it’s powered on, otherwise you need to scan the HomeKit setup code on the device itself.
With that done, the Home app should recognize what you’re trying to add and begin the integration process. The subsequent screens let you add specific accessories to specific rooms for easier control, and ask you to add devices to your list of favorites, which appear on the front screen of the Home app.
Depending on the device you’re trying to add, you might have to do a little bit of extra setup inside the third-party app that came with your device. For Philips Hue smart lights, for example, you need to open up the Siri voice control option in Settings to make the connection.
With everything connected, your devices appear in the Home app, so you can (for instance) turn smart plugs or smart lights on or off with a tap of your finger. If you want to use Siri instead, use a command like “turn the bedroom plug off” or “turn the study lights on” to get your smart home devices to respond.
With so many brands on offer, it’s not easy to figure out the best one for you. Different systems have different features but all will allow you check the temperature at a glance and set schedules so you’re using your heat when you need it most and ensuring you don’t waste any when you’re out.
There’s also a huge amount of variation in tech and pricing, which can make it difficult to figure out what you’re getting for your money and what a good deal looks like.
In the past, we’ve been sceptical of brands’ claims that a smart heating system can deliver huge energy bill savings – several brands make claims of up to 30% savings. But with the rise in energy prices, that seems much more likely. If you use all the energy efficiency features, you will almost certainly lower your heating bills, and perhaps significantly.
However, these savings won’t be instant as you’ll need to factor in the cost of the system and installation. To find out if smart heating is likely to save you money, we’ve got a dedicated article you might want to check out.
We’ve tested most of the smart systems in the UK market and we’ve done our best to break down how each works, what features they have, how they’re installed and what might make them worth your money.
If you’ve got an Ideal Boilers brand boiler from mid-2024 on, have a look at our article on the Halo Combi, which is specifically designed to be an Ideal-compatible smart heating system.Best smart heating system reviews
1. Hive Thermostat Mini – Best budget-friendly choice
Easy to use
Not a learning device
Most features accessible only via app
Hive’s newest thermostat constitutes one of the most affordable ways to get smart heating.
It has all the same features as the pricier Hive Thermostat – plus, it can control up to six heating zones, compared to the previous iteration’s three. But the big change is that most of the controls have been shifted away from the minimalist, touchscreen thermostat to the app.
You’ll use the app to set up scheduling for your hot water and heating, switch on frost protection and holiday mode, turn on geolocation (so you’ll get an alert if you leave home without switching off your heating) and boost your heating and hot water.
There’s the option to add to your set-up with Hive thermostatic radiator valves for granular room-by-room heating control, and the Thermostat Mini is compatible with with Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit, Siri Shortcuts and IFTTT.
Read our full
2. Hive Active Heating 2 – Best design
Easy to use interface
Part of Hive ecosystem
Professional installation recommended
Best Prices Today:
The Hive Active Heating system is a great upgrade for anyone who wants or needs to be able to control their heating remotely. The addition of multi-zone support is also good, and the ability to boost heating and hot water is a brilliant feature.
This second iteration of Hive is a giant leap forward from the solid (but somewhat dull) first-generation product. The interfaces of both the app and thermostat are intuitive and quick to use. There are clearly energy savings which Hive can help you make and you may be able to recoup your expenditure if you’re conservative with your temperatures and schedule.
It’s easy to add the Hive Active Light, as well as smart plugs and switches.
Read our full
3. Honeywell Evohome – Most comprehensive system
Easy to use
Despite the cost, EvoHome is a fantastic system for those who want to control temperatures in different rooms and control their hot water. It’ll also suit homes with underfloor heating. It’s particularly good for larger homes with few occupants where you might want to heat only certain rooms at certain times.
It’s very easy to use, even for technophobes and although it can take a while to set a schedule in the first place, making tweaks is quick and simple.
If money is no object, we can highly recommend Evohome.
Read our full
4. Drayton Wiser Multizone – Easy to install
Weak signal from control box may require a booster
What it does do well is allow you to control the temperature separately in different rooms, via smart radiator valves, which are also easy to fit.
The app is great, too, and several features have been added since launch, showing that it’s still being developed.
Read our full
5. Nest Learning Thermostat (3rd Generation) – Simplest to use
Can control your hot water
Works best in smaller homes
Best Prices Today:
Being reliable, well-designed and easy to use, the Nest thermostat is a great choice. It doesn’t have the array of accessories and compatibility of systems that some systems do, but you can buy separate smart TRVs to control radiators without changing your plumbing.
The Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide alarm also works with the thermostat, as does the Nest Cam camera. The 3rd generation can also control your hot water, making it even better, and the latest app update means your phone can tell it when you’ve gone out, so you don’t waste money heating an empty home.
Read our full
Prevents wasted heat
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Determining a house’s temperature depending on who’s at home makes a lot of sense. In this arena, Tado is the best smart thermostat as its presence detection simply follows you and your smartphone via GPS and other location factors.
Being able to control the temperature (wherever you are) via an app on your phone is an ideal way to control your heating and energy costs. New inside and outside Air Comfort reports and Open Window Detection features, plus the ability to control multiple zones via smart radiator valves, improve on the central idea.
Some of Tado’s best features are now locked behind a paid subscription, so you may want to bear that in mind before investing.
Read our full
7. Nest Thermostat E – Most stylish
Easy to install
Good value for US buyers
Limited features compared to Nest 3rd Gen
Best Prices Today:
The Nest E is a great smart thermostat that’s comfortably among the most stylish and easy to use on the market, but as it stands in the UK, there’s not much reason to opt for the E over the existing 3rd Generation Nest, which has some extra functionality for a similar price – excluding the potential cost of a professional installation.
It’s a different story in the US though – a bigger price gap makes the E an easy recommendation if you’re in the States, it offers all of the most important features of the third-generation Nest, together with design improvements, for a significantly lower price.
Read our full
8. Netatmo Smart Thermostat – E-ink display
Sophisticated temperature setting and scheduling
Most changes need to be made via the app
Netatmo’s thermostat is relatively basic, lacking any kind of presence detection, but it works well and is one of the cheaper options. It takes into account your home’s insulation quality as well as the outside temperature when setting the temperature.
Netatmo lets you set a different schedule for every day of the week or create different schedules and switch between them, so you could have weekday and weekend heating schedules to fit your routine.
Bear in mind that the display lets you adjust temperature and nothing else, so you’ll need a compatible phone or tablet to get the most from the system.
Read our full
9. Genius – Full smart home capability
Good for larger homes and businesses
Gives complete heating control
More expensive than rivals
Genius is easy to use and efficient, and over time it may even save you the cost of installation. And it’s fairly priced, although far from cheap. How long Genius takes to pay for itself will depend on your circumstances, and it should be considered a long-term investment.
But it is a great product, and if you are looking to install a zoned smart heating system, we are happy to recommend Genius – not least because of its potential as a true smart home network for your house.
Read our full
10. Wunda WundaSmart – Flexible multi-zone system
Controls up to 30 rooms and 50 radiators
Good app with useful features
No data stored in the cloud
Works with underfloor heating
Expensive to control every room
No display on TRVs
Requires professional installation
Best Prices Today:
WundaSmart is a name that’ll be new to most people, but if you have a large home and a generous smart heating budget, it’s one that’s worth getting getting to know. If you have spare rooms that aren’t in use for most of the time, or you want an easy way to schedule heating separately in different parts of the house, this could be a good system to choose.
It uses smart radiator valves and temperature sensors working in combination to measure and control the heat in each room. And it has a great suite of smart features such as heat boost, geofencing and open window detection.
There are downsides, however. It’ll be an expensive initial investment to kit out all of your rooms and most people will also need to pay for professional installation.
Read our full
The best smart heating system for you depends on the type of home you have, how you use it and how much money you can outlay to make longer-term savings.
There’s a way of making every house more efficient and more comfortable. But the best method for each house will differ.
The key question is the level to which you need – or want – to make your heating smart.
Most of these systems simply put a smart thermostat into the most-used room in the house or the hallway, and moderate the temperature of the whole house to match that room. For smaller houses, in which most rooms are in regular use, this is probably a cost-effective way of attaining the results you want. You can always turn off the radiators you don’t need to avoid heating rooms unnecessarily.
These thermostats also make it easier to set schedules and many have additional ‘smart’ features to make your heating more efficient and save you money. For example, some can detect when no one’s home and automatically turn off the heating, or do the same if a window is left ajar.
Honeywell Evohome, Tado, and Genius offer something better. One of the ways they do this is by replacing the valves on your radiators with ‘smart’ valves, although depending on which package you get, you may have to buy these separately.
They allow you to divide up your home into various zones and then offer smart heating in each zone, so your guest bedroom is heated only when required, the master bedroom is warm in the morning and at bedtime, and the kitchen is cosy at breakfast and tea time.
In the UK at least, all modern houses with living space covering ground greater than 150m2 have to be built with at least two zones of heating, according to 2013 Building Regulations Part L.
Tado can be smart-radiator based or a combination of room thermostat and zonal control via its smart radiator thermostats. These smart TRVs can often be used independently of the thermostat so you don’t necessarily need to buy the same brand and you can still use them with Nest, which doesn’t currently offer the valves. The only issue is that you’ll need two separate apps to control your heating.
Smart TRVs are also a great option for people in rented accommodation, as they don’t require permanent installation.
Honeywell, Genius and certain others can control more sophisticated heating systems (including underfloor heating and hot water tanks) but with this additional control comes a higher price tag.
So again: a well-used, modern, small house (or flat) is unlikely to need this level of sophistication, and a well-used large home may have sufficient zones plumbed in to make Nest or Hive a good solution. Just remember that you’ll need one thermostat per zone, so while it’s cheaper than fitting each radiator with a £50/$50 smart TRV, it’s still relatively expensive.
If you have a boiler and central heating, you will likely be able to fit any of the systems here.
The next questions to ask are about which additional features are important. There’s no point opting for a system that centres on location services, such as Tado, if there’s usually someone at home.
Remember that you might also want to supplement your central heating system with a separate portable system, which can give you some more manual control over where you heat. We’ve also reviewed portable heaters, so take a look for our recommendations.
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