“More sophisticated controls place greater
responsibility on the installer – both
when setting up the controls and then
educating the customer”
Smart thinkers ahead of the game
As technology continues to develop, it is crucial installers stay ahead of the curve so they can
advise customers accordingly. Jeff House, regulatory marketing manager at Baxi, explains.
We are living in an age where it
is possible to have shopping
delivered within hours, speak
to strangers across the world,
and obtain information about almost any
subject from the palm of your hand.
As such, consumers increasingly expect
a degree of connectivity from all their
One particular area of interest is smart
heating, as the population switches on to
the idea that controls can help them gain
control of rising household bills. Despite
the uptake of smart devices, there is still
some confusion around the technology
and terminology surrounding them.
What’s more, customers will often seek
advice from their heating engineer before
purchasing a new control.
Common mix-ups include the
difference between smart and connected
heating systems, and how the inherent
technology works in each type of device.
So, here is a quick and easy guide to the
related jargon an installer may encounter.
What exactly defines a smart control? In
general terms, this is where one or more
room units are linked to the boiler and
the Internet. Some units are also capable
of learning from user behaviour and
temperature response of the home and
operate independently without user input.
In practice, this means that a smart
heating system is able to provide
information to the user about what the
boiler is doing. These controls can be
remotely operated to adjust and schedule
temperature levels via an app on a
smartphone or tablet.
Smart control with automation and
optimisation functions is one of the
four requirements for new combi boiler
installations, under recent changes to
Part L of the Building Regulations (Boiler
Plus). Other choices include weather
compensation, load compensation, or flue
gas heat recovery.
An intelligent control unit is similar in
function to a smart control unit that is not
connected to the Internet. It, therefore,
does not enable remote operation by a
user via an app on a smartphone.
However, intelligent controls can still
communicate with the boiler to optimise
how it functions in relation to the
temperature of the home.
This is a supplier-neutral communications
system standard that allows boilers and
controllers to transfer a specific set of
information between them.
Only one controller can be connected
to one boiler. It can transfer temperatures,
on/off, system water temp, boiler power
and fault codes, but cannot transfer any
internal information about how the boiler
is running or its performance.
The similarity between a smart control
and a connected boiler is that both are
connected to the Internet to transfer
information between devices. However,
connected boilers are in their infancy, and
expected to be the ‘next big thing’ in the
development of heating systems.
A connected boiler reports internal
information related to its running,
diagnostics and performance over the
Internet. This allows for the remote
monitoring of boilers or heating systems
to keep the appliances running at peak
With a connected boiler, it will be
possible to diagnose and even repair
certain boiler faults without a site visit.
Some devices will be both smart and
connected. This means that the customer
would have remote control of their
heating, but also crucial information
would automatically be sent to the
manufacturer and/or engineer to assist
with remote maintenance and repair.
As the market continues to mature,
smart and connected devices will
eventually be commonplace in the
majority of homes. Therefore, it’s
crucial for installers to develop a deep
understanding of the technology, which
will allow them to help their customers
choose the right smart or connected
option for them.
ENQUIRY NUMBER 122
+ + = TOTAL CONTROL
ENQUIRY NUMBER 339
The ESi range of WiFi products including the Centro app lets you take control
of the heating and appliances in your home from anywhere in the world.
For more information about the 5 series range of programmable room thermostats
or our other WiFi products call 01280 816 868 or visit www.esicontrols.co.uk
60 Heating & Plumbing Monthly | JUNE 2018 | www.hpmmag.com
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